Summer 2016: Glick, Gills, & Kline

I’ve neglected my blog here because I’ve had a BUSY summer as pictured below! In June, I flew to Michigan to attend mentor and friend John Glick’s retrospective ‘A Legacy In Clay’ at Cranbrook. In July, I taught a two-week workshop at Alfred University alongside my former professor and mentor John Gill. And then just two weeks ago, after spending a week teaching at Penland, I was a guest potter at Michael Kline’s Cousins In Clay studio sale! Check out my summer pictorial of mentors and heroes!

John Glick A Legacy in Clay retrospective at Cranbrook 2016  John Glick and Kristen Kieffer, 2016John Glick, Plum Tree Pottery, 2016  John Glick platter, Legacy retrospective, Cranbrook, 2016

Clockwise from top left: Dozens of pots at John’s retrospective ranging from his MFA show in 1962 to the most recent pots he completed in 2014. John and me photographed before his gallery talk by his wife Susie Symons. One of a dozen large platters (24″ diameter) at his retrospective. John figuratively bounding forward to his next adventure. 

John Glick’s ‘A Legacy in Clay‘ retrospective at the Cranbrook Art Museum included a sea of pots he self-collected over his 50+ year career as a studio potter. His use of glaze, color, layering, gesture, and mark-making is unparalleled. While he is now retired from working in clay, I’m delighted to share that he is continuing his style of surface decoration on wood furniture of his own creation. He is a living national treasure, and I’m so honored to have worked side-by-side with him (1996-97). You can read past blog posts about my mentorship and ergonomic lessons with John here, here, and here.

John Gill demonstrating, Alfred University Summer School, 2016  Kristen Kieffer demonstrating, Alfred University Summer School, 2016Ceramics collection storage at Alfred University  Chinese jar, T'ang Dynasty, The Eumorfopoulos CollectionAndrea Gill and Kristen Kieffer, 2016  Kristen Kieffer cake stand in use and part of the Gill's collection

Clockwise from top left: John Gill demonstrating. Me demonstrating at Alfred University. John Gill’s favorite pot in The Eumorfopoulos Collection books from the special collections room of the Scholes Library at Alfred: a Chinese jar, T’ang Dynasty. My cake stand in use at a summer gathering at the Gill’s, which is also in their collection. Andea Gill and me. Nigerian and Acoma pottery in the ceramics storage of Alfred’s Ceramic Art Museum. 

In July, I was one of five workshop presenters for the first two weeks of Summer School at Alfred University in NY which included John Gill with Visiting Artist In-Chin Lee; Kang-Hyo Lee; Chase Folsom with Visiting Artist Ashley Lyon; Steve Branfman with Visiting Artists Wayne Higby & Hongwei Li; and me. It was a huge honor to be invited to teach a workshop at one of the most renowned institutions for ceramic art in the U.S. to which I was also lucky enough to attend for my BFA (1993-95). So being able to work alongside my former professor John Gill and spend a little off-time with my other former professor (the only female mentor I’ve ever had!) Andrea Gill was a huge, mind-blowing treat.

Michael Kline, Cousins In Clay, 2016  Kristen Kieffer and Michael Kline stamp collaborationVisitor matching plaid Deluxe Clover cup by Kristen Kieffer, Cousins In Clay  Cousins In Clay 2016

Clockwise from top left: Michael Kline and his pottery during set up. A collaboration and demo of Michael’s and my stamps on a plate. Cousins In Clay in full swing. A little visitor who matched my plaid Deluxe Clover cup, right down to the layered slip-trail, perfectly.

In early September, I had the pleasure of being a guest ‘cousin’ at Michael Kline’s pottery during his annual Cousins In Clay studio sale in Bakersville, NC along with fellow potters Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson of Bulldog Pottery. All three are lovely people with equally awesome families, so we had a nice weekend with good conversations, laughs, and sales. Plus, Michael is one of my pottery crushes, so I got dibs on the ‘best’ piece there!

PS: I seem to be blogging less these days, so to keep the most up-to-date with all the goings-on in and around my studio, please subscribe to my enewsletter and follow me on Instagram and Facebook too. I’ll be posting about the Utilitarian Clay Symposium at Arrowmont next week in which I’m one of seventeen presenters, and soon about The Democratic Cup for which I am one of twenty-six contributing artists!

Pierced Pottery: Basket Faves & Influence

    

A couple weeks ago, I was in my studio pondering, and had a ‘piercing epiphany.’ I haven’t had time to do more than draw just yet, but am excited about expanding my use of piercing/reticulation/cut-outs (as pictured above) on some new and existing forms as a way to play with line, light and shadow, and form through articulated pattern.

The development of new forms paired with new surfaces is a given goal, but some days I feel more inspired (a.k.a. internally pressured) to bring that back-burnered desire to the fore. That drive usually sends me to my books on silver, my favored springboard for new forms. (It is perhaps odd to be influenced by centuries-old objects with functions so specific, many are now obsolete, but most any form for me can become an idea for a vase, which can then lead to many more ideas.)

So I was down in my studio thinking, but my books were upstairs and are worn from years of gleaning, and my computer was downstairs with me and filled with new, enticing images I’ve been bookmarking, so of course, I opened my computer. I visited my own Pinterest boards where I ‘pin’ both objects I enjoy (favorites) and objects that inspire my forms and surfaces (influence). A common thread popped out to me from my Form & Pattern, Oldies But Goodies, Ceramics: Vintage/Historical, and Ceramics: Studio Potters/Artists boards, and sent me to my sketchbook to draw: Piercing.

  

Pierced work was very popular in both silver and pottery in the 18th century (particularly the latter half) in England and Europe. I haven’t found specific information claiming so, but piercing seems a wonderful blend of form and function: the cut-outs allow air circulation (for food service and storage) while both visually defining form and lightening materials (silver, clay, wood) that can otherwise appear a bit more heavy or dense. (I sometimes envy glass’ ability to be simultaneously solid and transparent.) I also enjoy pierced elements in architecture, furniture, clothing, and many more mediums.

So, I’ve yet to get started on my own cut-outs, but have done some drawings, am very excited about minimal and maximal piercing (particularly for fruit bowls and baskets), and collected some of my favorite basket-y forms by fellow studio potters mixed in with ones from the 18th c. for you below. Enjoy, check out my new Pinterest board Cut-out & Cagey, and stay tuned for some pierced pots from my own studio!

                   
  

From top left: Rebecca Chappell; Shorthose & Heath creamware; and Kari Radasch. Second row: Dr. Wall chestnut basket, c. 1750s; and Bryan Hopkins. Third row: Baddelly creamware basket, c. mid 1700s; and Creamware basket, c. 18th century. Fourth row: Brian Jones; and Bruce Cochrane. Fifth row: Odette fruitbowl w. silver stand; Steven Godfrey; and Monticello creamware basket (reproduction). Sixth row: Malene Mullertz; and Julie Crosby. Seventh row: Spode Pierced Creamware Basket and Stand, c. 1820. Last row: Sunshine Cobb; and Remodelista ‘Farmer’s market basket’.

Interest in Pinterest

interest. I’m on it, and either you are too, or I’m guessing you’ve never heard of it. Technically it is yet another ‘thing’ to do online, but it’s different (really!), and I’m completely addicted and want you to be too. Actually, it’s perfect if you’re someone like me who frequently bookmarks images into folders to your browser, which you can only see if each one is opened. So! Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board. A place for you to ‘pin’ what ‘interests’ you, thus ‘Pinterest.’ You have your own page where you can have as many pinboards as you’d like on which to pin images you find on the web, repin favorite images others have pinned, and upload your own new images in whatever way strikes your fancy.

I use Pinterest primarily to bookmark influences for inspiration, organize images for future blog posts and Power Point presentations, and minimally to dream about home renovation ideas and fashion purchases (which also inspire pots). Plus, I’m an image lover. Who doesn’t like pretty pictures of fabulous objects?

I’ve been ‘pinning,’ as they call it, for about six months and seem to have accumulated 20 separate pinboards of interests with over 900 images, including Form & Pattern, Color, Couture, Oldies but Goodies, Interiors & Objects, Props to Props, as well as three different ceramics boards (vintage/historical, studio, and industrial design).

So, you can learn more about Pinterest from the NY Times, request an invitation from Pinterest, and follow my pinboards. Below are some recent favorite pix, one each from most of my pinboards. Feel free to pin images from my website and online shops to your boards! Happy Pinning!

  
  
  
  
  
  

MFA, Boston Jaunt

  
 

Here are some of my faves from our wicked awesome autumn jaunt to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The MFA recently opened a new wing for arts from the Americas, so many of my pix are from there, but as usual, what I’m drawn to are diverse materials, time periods, shapes, and styles, which will filter into my work in various ways over time. Enjoy!, and see more influence, pictorial posts here. (Hover your cursor over any pic, or click each, for more info.)

  
  
  
  
  
  

Whirlwind to The Met

    
    

A pictorial blog post with some of my favorite items and details from our trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC this past Friday. About 4 1/2 hours of driving each way from north, central boonies MA left about 7 hours for some focused wandering. Fast, yes, but still fabulous with new influence ideas to boot!

    
      
      
    

The majority of our time was spent in various galleries of the permanent collection (hover your cursor over my pictures above for details and click to enlarge). The remainder of our time was spent in several of their special exhibitions where pictures are not permitted, so the images below are from the Met’s site where you can see a wonderful selection from each show.

      

The title for the late Alexander McQueen’s exhibition “Savage Beauty” probably best sums up this extraordinary, haunting and gorgeous installation by my favorite fashion couturier. I am glad to own the book for the exhibition, but the in-person experience was unparalleled. Read and see more about this exhibition here.

    

The Poetry in Clay: Korean Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art exhibition was also a great treat. Read and see more about this exhibition here.

Travel Influences & Favorites, Pt. I

March – August 2010: PA, MA, NC, TN, & NYC

 
  

The images above are the very few I took during my minimal outings at NCECA in Philadelphia, and include some favorite pieces from a quick jaunt through the PMA (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and one great building somewhere in the city with curved leaded windows. (You can see more of my favs from the PMA here.)

         

The next group of pictures is from jaunts near my home. The first two are from a building in Amherst, MA. I love the tall, slender windows and contrast of brick and stone. The second is a detail of the stone and how they used brick dust in the mortar leaving the stones looking like they are outlined in hot pink.  The rest of the images are from two visits to Historic Deerfield in central Massachusetts not far from our home.  Since I wasn’t allowed to take pictures in the historic homes, most of the pics (except the barn detail and canopy bed detail) are from pieces in the visible storage cases of their museum.  I see different things in each image, from ideas for form and detail to appreciation for handmade and craft like the last two images of the mended bowl and plate.

 
 

These last images are a favorite each of something I saw while teaching at the Penland School of Arts & Crafts (the garden bottle tree in Bakersville) and the Appalachian Center for Crafts (one of the many hand-painted signs on campus) this summer. And last but not at all least are two images of the Statue of Liberty I took when I did a lecture for the Brooklyn Potters Guild.

I’m getting better not only at remembering to take my camera with me, but actually remembering to take pictures as well, and hope to share more of what I see and figuratively bring home to my studio with you here.