Galloway, Kline, & Kieffer on Tales of a Red Clay Rambler

Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and Kristen Kieffer on Ben Carter's Tales of a Red Clay Rambler
pFellow potter Ben Carter has a wonderful podcast, Tales of the Red Clay Rambler featuring studio potters and “culture makers” from around the world, that I love and listen to regularly. This past February, while we were all together for the Florida Heat Surface workshop symposium, he invited studio potters Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and me to sit down and discuss for the podcast some of the individual and group conversations we had been having about pottery trends, design, copying, imagery, and how social media impacts all of those as well as our studio lives.

I admit it’s hard to talk with a microphone so close to your mouth you could lick it and knowing your words are being recorded to be replayed by hundreds, but it was neat to listen back because that was such a fun week together.  This conversation could have gone on for hours, there’s so much more to say and add.  Thank you to Ben for being such a great host with tough questions, and Michael and Julia for the fast-paced and smart exchange.

Have a listen right here to episode #61, and enjoy!

Florida Heat Surface 2014 Pictorial

The Florida Heat Surface 2014 presenters (left to right) outside St. Pete Clay: Michael Kline, Kristen Kieffer (me), Julia Galloway, Forrest Lesch-Middleton, Ben Carter, Chandra DeBuse, Adam Field, and Lisa Orr.

This past week I had the good fortune to co-present with seven outstanding potters for St. Petersburg Clay Company‘s first Florida Heat Surface Workshop, and had such a wonderful time, I wanted to share some pix of the five days.

Florida Heat Surface Workshop 2014

Roll your cursor over each image for the brief caption, or click to enlarge. Most of these images I took on my Instagram, and there are plenty more pix folks shared with the hashtag #flheatsurface on their Instagram, which you can also see compiled here.

Chandra DeBuse demo  Forrest Middleton demo    Adam Field demo    Chandra DeBuse and Kristen Kieffer demo    

Big, huge thank yous to the hosts with the most, St. Pete Clay crew Matt Schiemann, Adam Yungbluth, Valerie Scott Knaust, and Artists-in-Residence Bryce Dyer, Sarah Holt, Jess Carter, Jeremy Wallace, Lydia Johnson, and Holly Siggelow; my rockin’ fellow presenters; all the lovely participants; and Ben Carter and Adam Field for the invite!

Workshops 2014

Florida Heat St. Petersburg Clay Symposium ad
Time to start thinking about warm and fun! I have a variety of workshops coming up quick, so wanted to share with you.

First up, February 19 -23 is the Florida Heat Surface Design Symposium, which is a five-day extravaganza of awesome with Ben Carter, Chandra DeBuse, Adam Field, Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, Forrest Middleton, Lisa Orr, and me at St. Petersburg Clay Company. Details including the daily schedule are right here.

Archie Bray Foundation 2014 Workshop adI just heard there’s one slot left for my three-day hands-on workshop at the Archie Bray Foundation Memorial weekend, May 23 -25. If you’d like to be in Helena, MT this spring, click here for more info.

I just booked a three-day demo workshop to present alongside Adam Field and Matt Long at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in Mount Saint Francis, IN (just over the bridge from Louisville), June 12 – 14. Info should be available soon here.

And lastly (for now), I’ll be back for a five-day hands-on workshop at Sugar Maples Center for the Arts in the Catskills, NY, July 24 -28. Check out that registration info here.

If I’m not coming where you’d like to be, please do pass along my website as that’s frequently how they come about. As always, you can see the full list of where I’ve taught in the past, and more info on my Workshops Page. And you can see the full list of my teaching and exhibitions with links for more information as they’re scheduled on my Schedule PageHope to see you!

Homage Skulls

Kristen Kieffer guy skull cupKristen Kieffer gal skull cup in Frost

In July, I finally read Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty after buying the catalogue from his extraordinary, haunting, gorgeous, and (very unfortunately) posthumous exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the summer of 2011, which I was lucky enough to see in person.

Somehow, I can’t remember where I first saw a piece by this amazing fashion designer and couturier, but I do know I immediately fell in love with his imaginings.  His work readily embodies Victorian modern style and “ornamented strength” for me (phrases I use and aspire to in my own work). So, I decided to create an homage stamp to pay respect to Lee McQueen in the form of a skull, a long-time motif associated with his work.

I drew a skull, but it felt too stark. So me being me, I was compelled to add ornamentation and then a bit of a smile, both of which kind of automatically yielded a Day of the Dead sugar skull. I was so excited with the ‘guy skull’ stamp (pictured top), that I made a ‘gal skull’ too (pictured bottom), delighted to embrace the sugar skull tradition, which is fittingly about honoring the deceased.

The skull-stamped mugs recently debuted at my studio sale and online shop here. If skulls strike your fancy (Día de Muertos, Halloween, McQueen, or otherwise), I will be adding more of these spirited cups in very limited quantities (guys, gals, and combo) in other colors in early December.

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them.
That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but
to keep the tradition.” ~ Lee Alexander McQueen, 1969-2010

Needlework as Influence

Kristen Kieffer Flower bricks Embroidery patterns in Periwinkle and Green

Fashion (from all eras, Elizabethan to Couture) has been a long-time influence for my work. The structure and detail of clothing inspire my own functional pottery forms and their decoration. Basically, there is always something new for me to uncover from clothing and textiles as influence. My most recent revelation is the expansive genre of needlework, which includes everything from crochet and embroidery to a myriad of techniques I’ve only begun to learn.

Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup in GrapeI own pillow cases tatted by my Grandma and Great Grandma, love quilts of all kinds, and knew that some of the 18th century clothes I adore had embroidery, but I’ve only just recently tuned into the wide-ranging variety of needlework design as influence, particularly for slip-trailing. I’ve been collecting needlework pix and details here with some faves below. New adventures into deco have begun!

Flower bricks and cups as pictured above, as well as other pots with deco influenced by embroidery and quilt appliqué are available in my online Etsy shop.

Detail of Look 8, Erdem Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear  Crochet flora  Embroidery flowers Sashiko embroidery  Aemilia ars needlelace  [Micro] quiltingCourt Suit embroidery detail, c. 1770-85  Antique Carolina lily applique quilt detail c. 1880  Reticella samples

Rollover or click on the images above for details. Pictured: Crochet, embroidery, sashiko, aemilia ars lacework, quilting, applique, and reticella.

AKAR 2013 Yunomi Invitational

Kristen Kieffer Yunomi AKAR 2013

These are my five, springtime yunomi for AKAR Design‘s Annual Yunomi Invitational, an online only exhibition. This year, 206 potters were invited to send five cups each, so this show will have over 1000 yunomi (a Japanese cup with no handle that is taller than wide with a trimmed foot, and used for daily, informal tea drinking) in a wide range of styles. Each of my yunomi are wheel-thrown, stamped, trimmed, slip-sponged, underglaze detailed, and slip-trailed, yielding an elegant, tactile, and spring-y cup for joyful use.

This is an excellent show and the cups sell fast, so create your account, and be ready ONLINE at 10 AM CST Friday, April 19th right here!