NCECA Portland

If you live in or are headed to Portland, OR for the annual NCECA conference next week, I wanted to let you know where you can find my work throughout the city. Just my pots will be there this year, but I do plan to attend next year in Pittsburgh.

I’ll have work at four different exhibition venues this year, none of which require a conference pass. At the Oregon Convention Center (the main conference site), I’ll have almost 40 pots available at the EXPO with 18 Hands Gallery, which opens Tues eve, March 21st and is open daily through Fri afternoon, March 24th. Again, visiting this section of the conference does not require a pass and is free and open to the public.

Already open in store as well as online (link below) and just a 7 minute walk south of the convention center is Progression: 25 years of Functional Form at Butters Gallery celebrating “the lineage of potters Brad Schwieger has influenced in his 25 years at Ohio University.” This exhibition is open through March 25th.

At Redux Gallery (12 min walk SE of the convention center), I’ll have six yunomi for Put A Bird On It, curated by Birdie Boone, which is open March 22 – 25.

And lastly, I’ll have a place setting for Santa Fe Clay’s annual invitational La Mesa exhibition at Exchange Ballroom, also open March 22 -25 and is a 7 min walk north from the convention center.

I don’t often have work on the west coast, so this is a great chance to see pots in person and of course, purchase! Enjoy!

 

NCECA Providence

I’m winding down a work cycle in my studio as pots are due soon for several shows at NCECA, the annual clay conference this year in Providence, RI. Some shows are already open, and others are only up the few days of the conference. If you live in New England, and/or are attending NCECA, I wanted to let you know where you can see and purchase my work.

At the Rhode Island Convention Center, the actual conference site, I’ll have numerous pots at the EXPO with 18 Hands Gallery (which does not require a pass, so is free), open Tues eve, March 24th thru Fri afternoon, March 27th. I’ll also have some pots in the new POW!: Pots on Wheels truck, which will be parked just outside the convention center.

Place setting NCECA

Just three blocks from the Convention Center, I’ll have a place setting (pictured) in Santa Fe Clay’s annual invitational La Mesa exhibition at the United Methodist Church, 134 Mathewson Street, Providence, Wed, March 25th thru early Sat, March 28th (though by Saturday, purchased pieces start to go to their owners).

Kristen Kieffer Teapot PeriwinkleAbout 5 miles from the Convention Center, I will have a teapot (pictured) and teapot-stamped cup in an exhibition called Apprenticelines, which celebrates mentors John Glick (1996-97 for me), Mark Shapiro, Mark Hewitt, Simon Levin, and Sylvie Granatelli, and their past assistants and apprentices. This exhibition is at The Pawtucket Armory Art Center, 172 Exchange St, Pawtucket, open Wed, March 25th thru Sat, March 28th. The opening reception is Fri, 6-9 PM.

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I also have work in three Massachusetts exhibitions, each about 35 miles from the Convention Center in different directions:

Kristen Kieffer Lattice vase

About an hour northeast of Providence, I have a vase (pictured) in The State of Clay: Pushing Boundaries exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA. This exhibition is open March 7 – May 24.

Kieffer Grande jar at New Bedford Art MuseumAbout 35 minutes southeast of Providence, I have a grande jar (pictured during the show’s install) in the In Residence exhibition, one of four concurrent shows celebrating the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, at the New Bedford Art Museum, 608 Pleasant St, New Bedford, MA (near UMass Dartmouth). This exhibition is open Jan 30 – April 3.

Lastly, about 50 minutes northwest of the conference, I have several larger pieces (one pictured below) in the Looking Back exhibition in the Krikorian Gallery at the Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Rd, Worcester, which celebrates eleven of its past artists-in-residence (2001-03 for me). This exhibition is open March 12 – April 11.

Kristen Kieffer Tall flower brick

 

Ceramics Monthly 2013 Poster

CM Poster 2013
Ceramics Monthly produces an annual poster with images curated from the last year’s issues to give away at NCECA. It was fun to walk up to the CM table at the conference in Houston and see my vases on this year’s poster from my cover and spread in the September issue. Fellow 2013 poster potters include Bryan Hopkins, Lilly Zuckerman, Jason Burnett, Peter Pincus, Tara Wilson, Angela Cunningham, Lars Westby, Shawn Spangler, John Neely, Val Cushing, Marc Digeros, Matthew McGovern, Lisa Naples, Mark Knott, Christopher Melia, Brett Freund, and Lauren Karle. In great company indeed! Thanks to CM for choosing my work, and Lauren for the 2012 article!

Kristen Kieffer Stamped vase groupingNew Stamped Vase grouping

Lovely Intangibles: A Statement

This is the article I wrote for the NCECA Journal, Volume 34 as one of the
demonstrating artists for the 2013 conference in Houston; my thoughts on
function and ornamentation:

Kristen Kieffer Cups 'Clover deluxe'

“Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.” ~ John Payne as Fred Gailey in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street

I believe beauty is a worthwhile pursuit, and my pots are a celebration of that beauty. Stated simply, I make decorative pottery that is meant to be used. While working in my studio, I simultaneously consider the aspects of a well-functioning pot and the elegant decoration that enhances a strong form. These three components (function, ornamentation, and form) combined yield a beautifully designed object celebrating the beauty of everyday use. This “ornate utility” is probably an oxymoron to some, but it is my goal as a potter. I seek to make pots that balance good function with robust decoration, which is very different from making complex pieces for special occasions. The latter pursuit is more about elaboration than use. Making decorative pots for everyday requires equal consideration of function, form, and surface; an attention and tribute to what I call the “lovely intangibles.”

The lovely intangibles are what I think about when I’m working in my studio and reference when I teach; the elements that we can be more aware of when they are missing, ironically, than when they are included. They are the aesthetic and functional components that make up the whole of a considered pot, anything from the ribbed edge that delineates a curve to the shadowed reveal of a carved foot. They are the fine details necessary in creating an equally well-functioning yet elegant piece, but something that may not be definable (or even identifiable) to the user. These lovely imperceptible, elusive intangibles are crucial in the completion of a beautiful, useful object.

My active consideration of the details is required for the pots to be both appreciated and used when they leave my studio. The best compliment is when a customer is attracted to my work because of the form, picks up the piece because of the surface, and delights in the strength of the piece once it is in their hands; none of which may have been conscious thoughts. A customer’s split-second conclusion to like and/or buy a piece is in response to my attention to all the micro and macro intangibles, like purposefully making my pottery handles plump, walls strong, and lips full for comfort, for example. By altering and/or stamping the clay at an early stage I refer to as suede, the pots have a soft appearance which makes them more inviting. I use a variety of decoration techniques like slip-trailing and slip-sponging to provide tactility and visual depth. All of my work is glazed with mostly satin surfaces of rich colors adding to the user’s pleasure. The integration of tactile decoration with soft forms and solid components make the pieces touchable and inviting.

I refer to my work as ‘ornately, elegant for everyday’ and classify my pots as ‘Victorian modern.’ Both of these phrases fit my desire for cross-cultural influence, and an appreciation of an era when ornamental abundance was also useful. I want to offer my customers a bit of luxury for their home décor and daily life. My hope as a maker is to marry my diverse influences and the splendor of past eras with a modern desire for artistry and function. My influences range from 18th century, silver service pieces and Moroccan architecture to couture clothing and industrial design for form ideas, and from Art Nouveau illustrations and vintage embroidery to cake fondant and upholstery for pattern ideas. Such diversity combined with my own background and distinct studio processes culminate into a style that I hope is as unique as it is luxurious.

I enjoy my pursuit of beauty, making ornately functional pots for those who would like a little elegance in their everyday. Attention to those lovely intangibles so another can enjoy their morning coffee a little more is what makes being in my studio worthwhile.

See You in Houston!

CM Ad for NCECA 2013 Kristen KiefferPictured: Ceramics Monthly ad with pots by Bede and myself.
47th NCECA Conference, March 20-23, 2013
George R. Brown Convention Center ~ Houston, TX
Demonstrating Artists: Bede Clarke, Gerit Grimm,
Kristen Kieffer, and Walter McConnell

Bede Clarke and I are onstage Thursday, 9-noon and Friday, 1-4; Gerit Grimm and Walter McConnell are Th afternoon and Fri morn. The whole NCECA 2013 schedule and details are available right here. Come cheer me on!

Architecture Influence Invite & NCECA

Burr House Porch Kristen Kieffer Burr House Flower brick II

I’m delighted to have work in a very unique show at this year’s NCECA, Houston conference curated by ceramic artist, professor, and color guru George Bowes. He invited 18 clay artists to participate, and paired each of us with a specific building in his city of Galveston, TX to use as inspiration for a completed work. The Dwelling on the Gulf: Ceramic Artists Respond to the Architecture of Galveston exhibition takes place at the Galveston Historical Foundation from March 9-28, 2013 and is on the bus tour for NCECA. You can read more about George’s thoughts on the show and see a couple more in progress pix by participating artists here.

Burr House roof line and porch Burr House as flower brick drawingsFlower bricks in process Kieffer Burr House Flower bricks

My assignment was the Lemuel and Julia Burr House (c. 1876), which has a “mixture of classic, gothic, and Italianate styles, and is attributed to Nicholas J. Clayton, Galveston’s leading 19th century architect.” Pictured above is ‘my’ house; drawings I worked up contemplating the house as a pot, its form and deco; leatherhard, in progress; and finished.

I opted to turn my house into a flower brick, an idea that relates to past work, but is much more intricate and based directly on the porch and styling of the Burr House. I incorporated light blue underglaze into the “porch openings” to reflect the sky as well as porch ceiling, navy mishima lines to echo the windows, slip-trailing to illustrate the surrounding trees and gardens, stripes for the roof line, beading for architectural detailing, and polka dots for fun. Invitationals for a specific form and/or influence are fun and challenging, and always push me to do shapes and details beyond my “usuals.”

Participating artists include: Peter Beasecker, William Brouillard, Joan Bruneau, Kristen Cliffel, Deirdre Daw, William Edwards, David Eichelberger, Carol Ann Fer, Julia Galloway, Bill Griffith, Suze Lindsay, Kari Radasch, Louise Rosenfield, Judith Salomon, Richard Shaw, Aaron Sober, Holly Walker, and myself.

Kieffer pots NCECA 2013 Kristen Kieffer place setting La Mesa 2013

For those who are attending NCECA in Houston, come cheer me on as one of four headlining demonstrators! In addition to the Dwelling exhibition, I also have work available at the Houston Convention Center Gallery EXPO with 18 Hands Gallery, opening Tues eve. And a place setting at Santa Fe Clay‘s La Mesa Exhibition at the Holiday Inn Express Downtown. Both are open during the conference, March 20-23.

For those who are unable to attend, no worries! I’m already stocking up my online Etsy shop with new work before I go here, and have upcoming workshops scheduled you can check out here. Hope to see you, and thanks so much for the support!