Valenspringtine 2016

Kristen Kieffer Compote trioLast year, I posted six weeks of pottery investigation celebrating thoughts of Valentine color and springtime imagery into my online shop, an event I coined as Valenspringtine. It was so fun and successful, I decided to give it a go again this year, perhaps making it an annual post of my winter play. As with last year, this winter’s pursuits included new forays into surface deco, as well as form with Compotes (pedestaled serving bowls for fruits, nuts, and sweets), Cake & Cupcake Stands, new Deluxe Clover cups, and a couple other goodies totaling almost 30 pots.

Valenspringtine 2016 goes live Friday, January 29th
at Noon EST in my online Etsy shop!*

Happy Valenspringtine! 

Kristen Kieffer Cupcake and Cake stand  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover Super Stripe Red w. TulipKristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover Cup Colorful Polka Dots  Kristen Kieffer Compote Pedestal bowlKristen Kieffer Stamped mugs Blue Flowers  Kristen Kieffer Cupcake stand in ButtercupKristen Kieffer Compote Pedestal Fruit Bowl  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover Cup Black dots w. Tulips


*Helpful tips: If not already registered, set up an Etsy account to purchase. ‘In cart’ does not equal ‘in hand.’ First to complete their payment makes the nab. Refresh your browser to make sure you are seeing all that are listed and available. 

Shop Ornately Elegant for Everyday

Kristen Kieffer Yunomi w. Lovebirds  Kristen Kieffer Egg cups and Caddy w. steel wireKristen Kieffer Lunch plate in Spring Green  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup Super Stripes

New work (including all pictured here) is rolling out in my online shop for holiday shopping and gifting! I’ve been adding five or so new pots weekly, so there is always something new and all one-of-a-kind. Be sure to ‘favorite’ my shop so you can see new items in the Home section of Your Etsy. I periodically share new additions to my Instagram and Facebook as well, but checking into my shop is the best way to see what’s new…and I’m always up to something new!

Everything ships in 1-3 days. Orders placed before December 18th should arrive by Christmas. I also accept Etsy gift cards, so that’s a great way to suggest or give my work this season as well. As always, my store will stay stocked with ongoing additions into January for post-holiday shopping too! Click on over right here: KiefferCeramics.

Kristen Kieffer Pitcher  Kristen Kieffer Stamped cup in VioletKristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup Arabesque mod in Black  Kristen Kieffer Yunomi w. cherriesKristen Kieffer Yunomi in Frost w. Colorized floral  Kristen Kieffer Toast Letter rack w. steel wireKristen Kieffer Wall pillow tile in Cherry red and Ivory  Kristen Kieffer Covered jar in Frost w. tangerine polka dots

Thank you as always for shopping from my studio and
caring about independent business and handmade design.
I appreciate your support year-round!

Clover Origin & Deluxe

Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover cups, 'Super Stripes'  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover cups, 'Dot Florals'Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover cups, 'Arabesque mods'  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover cups, 'Stripe Dot Florals'

These cups start, as most of my pots do, on the potter’s wheel. I then alter each form by running my finger up the outside of the wall in four places. This creates a gently lobed lip line (see image below), all the more accentuated when filled with coffee or tea, which is why I named them ‘Clover’ cups.

Kristen Kieffer original Clover cup and vertical Corset vase made at Guldagergård in DenmarkI began this cup shape when I did a residency at Guldagergård in Skælskør, Denmark years ago. It was a self-imposed challenge to make a simpler surface (the original had spare slip-trail deco, pictured left) in part because I was in Scandinavia where design is sleek and minimal, but also because most of my pots were completely stamped at that point. I purposefully didn’t take stamps with me wanting to investigate what I would do with form minus that deco element. They were also inspired by the Corset (vase) Series I had begun the year prior, which is altered in a similar way. (The vase pictured left was the first ‘vertical’ in the series that began as a lower, Kristen Kieffer Clover cups, lip detailwider horizontal form. I made and fired both of these in Denmark, and they are now part of my collection.)

Needless to say, this cup has evolved. Not only have I used this form as a decoration playground, I’ve significantly refined the shape while keeping the lobed technique and tankard, flat foot style. These are more time-consuming than my stamped cups because of the unique design considerations. The form itself provides a ‘frame’ within which I can make each side of the same cup different and collage lots of layers, thus I refer to them as ‘Deluxe.’

New ‘Deluxe Clover cups’ are now available in my online shop in four different styles,
with beachy stripes, joyful polka dots, and candy colors!

Kristen Kieffer Deluxe Clover cups, Super Stripes



Kristen-Kieffer-Valenspringtine-Deluxe-clover-cupsThoughts of spring and Valentine color –specifically looking beyond winter– is what inspired my work over the last six weeks, buoying my spirits during the cold, short days of December in Massachusetts. This Friday, I will be posting over 40 cups, plates, and bowls of my foray into what I’ve been calling ‘Valenspringtine’ (a mashup of ‘spring’ and Valentine’) pots into my online shop. Being surrounded by candy pink and cherry red, and new collage-like patterns has certainly helped me with the winter doldrums, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have. Check out my latest blog post to read a bit more about the new here.

40+ Valenspringtine pots available Friday, January 30th
at Noon EST in my online Etsy shop!

Happy Valenspringtine! 

Kristen Kieffer Large plate Arabesque mod in Red  Kristen Kieffer Yunomi w. Honey bee and Colorized flower, Pollinator seriesKristen Kieffer Yunomi Colorized cherries w. Green stripes  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup ValenspringtineKristen Kieffer Tumbler Arabesque mod in Pink  Kristen Kieffer Yunomi Red tulips and Pink stripesKristen Kieffer Yunomi Valentine striped hot air balloons  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup w. StripesKristen Kieffer Large plate Floral Stripe Dot set  Kristen Kieffer Bowl Floral DotKristen Kieffer Valenspringtine yunomi

‘Valenspringtine’ In Progress

Kristen Kieffer yunomi (in progress) w. flowers, Colorized series  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup (in progress), Arabesque modern seriesKristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup (in progress) w. stripes and polka dots  Kristen Kieffer yunomi (in progress) w. Honey bees, Pollinator series

Pictured are my in-progress, Deluxe clover cups and Yunomi
at the leatherhard stage with completed decoration.

December tends to be a quieter time in my studio, a month I try to use for play and development in the midst of ongoing deadlines. For the last six weeks, I’ve focused on color, specifically more.

Around 2012, I began to add hand-brushed color in my stamp patterns, from bits to a bit more. Since this past spring, I’ve been hand-brushing several colors into one or two whole stamps (an image stamp vs. an abstract pattern) creating what I refer to as my Colorized Series. For me, the dazzling color from one completely colored image creates a focal point. The surrounding, uncolored stamps feel wistful and softer, like memories. Hand-coloring every stamp would be prohibitively time-consuming, but more importantly, full color on every image would feel commercial. I want to entice the cup’s owner to turn it ’round in the hand to find, appreciate, and ponder each honey bee (above), for example, colored and uncolored.

The delightful reception to my new Colorized cups encouraged me to delve deeper into cherry reds and cupcake pinks during my December play month. I’m a huge lover of color, but the technical logistics of color in ceramics, in addition to my general glacial aesthetic growth (in no small part because I allow myself to be a precise maker) slowed my figuring of how exactly to bring color to my pots. Suffice it to say, color is happening!

This particular color palette and my ongoing desire for it to be spring year-round (which does not happen here in Massachusetts) lead me to spend my six weeks of play on Valentine-inspired cups, a new series with colorful shapes I’m calling Arabesque Mod (a nod to my love of Islamic art, juiced with contemporary color and mod flair), new flower stamps, and as many polka dots and stripes as I could fit on a cup (above).

The ‘Valentine/Spring in Feb’ or ‘Valenspringtine’ cups, tumblers, and few tableware pieces will be listed in my online shop on Friday, January 30th at noon EST.

Breakfast Special

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast settings for two and serving

My toast rack, egg cups & caddy, butter dish, and place settings for two
Breakfast styled by me at our dining room table.

I received the invitation to participate in a show titled Breakfast (online and in Philly at The Clay Studio 11/7 – 1/4) in April from fellow potter Bryan Hopkins. Each potter was to make their interpretation of a toast rack, egg cups, butter dish or jam jar, plus two plates and cups. I immediately set to work on drawings, particularly of toast racks, knowing I wanted to use wire instead of clay for the dividers. (Indeed, I spent a three-hour flight to a workshop drawing toast racks!)

Kristen Kieffer sketchbook, toast rack drawings

My sketchbook drawings of toast rack ideas.

Kristen Kieffer Toast Rack II

Toast rack in Aqua, Drape-molded (from my design) and altered porcelain with carved,
slip-sponge, underglaze, slip-trail, and Mishima deco, cone 7 oxidation
with multiple glazes, and steel wire.

For the month of May, I was a Visiting Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, and spent a chunk of my studio time developing the serving prototypes for this show, as well as making my egg cups and caddies, which I glaze-fired and completed at my home studio.

Kristen Kieffer Egg cups and Caddy

Egg cups & Caddy in Frost, Wheel-thrown, altered and built porcelain with carved, slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation with multiple glazes, and steel wire.

Kristen Kieffer Butter Dish, Periwinkle

Butter dish in Periwinkle, Hand-built porcelain with slip-sponge, underglaze, slip-trail,
and Mishima deco, cone 7 oxidation with multiple glazes.

I don’t often make sets, but do enjoy playing with what defines one. With the pieces for this show, I didn’t want all one glaze color (I used a color family of five), nor identical elements that “match.” Every piece has sky blue underglaze (the stripes and dots of ceramic color I brush on before the first firing because I want it to be layered under my slip-trailing); my swirled slip-sponge pattern (the subtle background texture); and my slip-trail dots and ‘leaf swirl’ pattern. While I played with variations of stripes and polka dots on each piece, as well as how I laid out my leaf swirl, they all share the same style and attention to detail that makes them feel related as a whole, yet able to be mixed and matched or stand strongly alone. (The Yellow Pear cup would just as easily pair with the Spring green plate, for example.)

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast setting yellow pear

Deluxe clover cup & Plate (medium) in Yellow Pear, Wheel-thrown and altered porcelain
with slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation.

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast setting green

Deluxe clover cup & Plate (medium) in Spring Green, Wheel-thrown and altered porcelain
with slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation.

Breakfast opens online and in Philly at The Clay Studio on Friday, November 7 and continues through January 4, 2015, and includes sets by Blair Clemo, Lindsay Oesteritter, Lisa Orr, Meredith Host, Roberto Lugo, Emily Schroeder Willis, and Bryan Hopkins as well as myself.

This was a quite a challenge for me with months of planning and testing yielding one-of-a-kind results. I’m delighted with the final pieces and hope you’ll check the show, in-person if you can, and online for all. Thank you for ‘egging’ me on, Bryan!

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast set (above)