‘Valenspringtine’!

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

Studio Cycles Pictorial 2014

Kristen Kieffer tumbler and wild daisies  Demonstrating with Chandra DeBuse (l) and Kristen Kieffer (r) at St. Pete's ClayKristen Kieffer Indigo plate details  Kristen Kieffer new stamps, florals and beesHannah  Kristen Kieffer teapots in progressKristen Kieffer Stamped vases  Taping the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler podcast w. Michael Kline (l), Julia Galloway (m), and Kristen Kieffer (r)Kristen Kieffer bisqueware in progress  Kristen Kieffer chop signatures, cup mandalaDemonstrating with Kathy King (l) and Kristen Kieffer at Southern IL U., Carbondale  Poster girl, The State of Clay exhibition, MA, Kristen Kieffer Grande jarKristen Kieffer sketchbook  Kristen Kieffer glaze testingWorkshop tools  Vases and Visiting Artist month at The Archie Bray FoundationKristen Kieffer wall pillows in progress, May at the Bray  Kristen Kieffer studio influencesKristen Kieffer Screen Vase detail  Demonstrating with Matt Long (l), Adam Field (m), and Kristen Kieffer at the Mary Anderson Center, INKristen Kieffer's pots as contour drawings, studio  Kristen Kieffer flower brick stages in progressKristen Kieffer test tiles  Kristen Kieffer Cherry cup detailKristen Kieffer sketchbook drawings  Kristen Kieffer Arabesque mod tumblers in progressKristen Kieffer Arabesque mod plates in progress  Kristen Kieffer

This is my fourth, year-end roundup of goings-on images from my studio and on the road as a workshop presenter, and this year, Visiting Artist. It’s fun for me to look back on the collection of images I’ve shared, and reflect on what’s continued from past years and what was new in 2014 for me as maker. These are just a selection of favorites I posted throughout the year on my Facebook and Instagram. As with past years, it’s not an order, it’s a cycle.

As always, thank you for your continued support of my work and studio.
A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!

Tea & Flowers

Kristen Kieffer Teapot in blues Kristen Kieffer Teapot PeriwinkleKristen Kieffer Teapot-stamped cup grouping

Pictured above: Teapots (11″ h x 11″ l x 5″ d) and cups stamped w. teapots (4″ h x 6″ l x 4.5″ d), wheel-thrown, stamped, and altered porcelain w. underglaze and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation by Kristen Kieffer.

Spring is closer than when I posted Fresh & Springy in February, but it doesn’t come easy in MA. The new springy and tea-related work pictured here is mostly destined for shows: a teapot off to Cedar Creek Gallery in NC for their annual National Teapot IX invitational exhibition; tumblers (for G & Ts) to m. t. burton gallery in NJ for Top Shelf: Pottery for Spirits, Wine, & Beer exhibition; vases each to The Clay Studio in Philly for Vases for Spring, and Lill Street Gallery in Chicago for Art & the Urban Garden exhibition. And the rest will be sprinkled around galleries, workshops, and my online shop (like a couple of those teapot-stamped cups pictured above), which will re-open at the end of May. As always, you can see where my work and I will be next on my Schedule page.

Kristen Kieffer Tumblers Kristen Kieffer Screen vase pair in Honeycomb w. blues Kristen Kieffer Screen vase pair in blues Kristen Kieffer Stamped dot vase grouping Kristen Kieffer Stamped vase groupingKristen Kieffer Cake stand dots w. lilacs

Pictured above: Tumblers (5.5″ h x 3.5″ d), Screen vase pairs (13″ h x 4″ w x 3″ d), Stamped vases (8″ h x 5″ d), and Cake stand (5″ h x 11″ d). Screen vases are hand-built, everything else is wheel-thrown w. various deco by Kristen Kieffer.

C O L O R

  
  
   
  
  
 

First row, left to right: Mark Rothko painting No. 22, 1949, 1920s Chicago Transit Authority poster, and Bev Hisey Reflective Folk CushionSecond row: autumn leaves, Andrew Zuckerman bird photograph and my warm-toned glazes;  Third row: Berlin Festival of Lights, Dave Jordano Storefront Church photograph and a Sevres potpourri vase;  Fourth row: Andrew Zuckerman Masked Lovebird photograph and my cool-toned glazes;  Fifth row: Hindu (Holi) Festival of Colours, JollyBe Chrysanthemums wedding cake, and peacock;  Sixth row: Cole & Son Dorset wallpaper, botanical print and Felissimo’s Colored Pencil SetLast row: KiBiSi chairs and a Viola Frey figure.

Oh, how I love color.

I suppose most everyone enjoys color, but if there were a 1 to 10 rating for color love, I would be at a 9 or 10 on the scale. I envy synesthetes and think about color throughout my day, in and out of the studio. I have a similar response to color that others do when they eat a piece of chocolate—that little butterfly feeling of yum.

Darks.

These tumbler images (above and below) represent the myriad of ways the nine colors in my palette can be placed together to give a completely different color feel.

Lights.

One of my grad school (MFA, Ohio U. 2001) professors, Joe Bova, recently commented to me that he believes “color is the most personal element in art”.  I certainly took a lot of time considering my color palette when I switched from high-fire soda (a more limited inherently glossy palette) to mid-range electric where the options are delightfully and overwhelmingly limitless.

Fruity.

I spent several months testing glazes to find both the color and quality (“breaking” satin vs. glossy) that best suits my work and me.  There were several determining factors.  The first and most important is that since I spend more time around my work than anyone else, I wanted colors I enjoy.  I also wanted colors that work well together, that compliment each other.  Finally, I wanted a palette that gives my collectors options: some people prefer neutrals, some prefer brights, and I have both as well as what’s in between.

Autumnal.

Because my work is predominantly monochrome*, I don’t think it’s as recognized for its color because an individual piece isn’t particularly colorful (i.e. having multiple colors).  Though I am currently running some new tests to add stripes and dots of patterned color, “colorful” in my pots comes from their proximity to each other.  I love seeing which colors my customers pair, mix and match when they buy 2, 4 or 12 pieces.

Neutrals.

All of my glaze colors are warm-toned, meaning that even the cool colors (blue, purple and green) have yellow undertones.  The names I have given the nine colors are Ivory (an off-white that looks almost like leatherhard porcelain), Frost (the super pale turquoise that looks a bit like a celadon), Honeycomb (a pale, warm yellow), Lime (a fruity yellow-green), Rosa (a salmon-y, mahogany pink), Cornflower blue (a rich lighter blue), Grape (a warm, plum-y purple), Caramel (a very yummy gold brown) and Blackberry (a deep wine, purple-y red).
Naturals.

On most forms, the satin glaze is the most visible, but the interiors are lined with a glossy version of the outside color, so I really work with 18 glazes.  Some forms, like my bowls and serving pieces, reveal more of the glossy color.  I like the contrast of satin to shine, so in addition to keeping the food surfaces functional with a glossy glaze, it is an aesthetic choice too.

Romantic.

Choosing glaze colors is not like picking out paint (potters will sardonically laugh and nod at that statement) because there is chemistry, elemental change and heat involved.  Red and blue does not necessarily make purple in the clay world.  My color palette came from having a sense of colors I wanted ( a green, a purple, a red—one of the hardest colors to “get” in ceramics, etc.) and then testing to match that expectation with the possibilities paired with my clay, cost of materials, firing temperature and application, not to mention aesthetic goals.  As my husband would say, it’s tricky business.

Cools.

I gather inspiration for color from everywhere.  There are my “usual” sources (period clothing, Art Nouveau prints, Islamic architecture, etc.), but there are also more obscure suggestions for color, like the images at the beginning of this post.  Right now I’m liking the blue in the shadows of the snow, the transitional green from light to dark inside an avocado and I keep thinking of that orange that was in a room my husband and I stayed at in Iceland six years ago.

Festive.

I believe the color in my work is one of several elements which makes my pots unique.  I agree with my professor that color is personal, a way to relay an emotion or spark a memory.  It’s a fascinating subject.

*I tend to use one color or two similar colors on a piece because I feel this best shows off the form, where multiple colors tend to divide the form. Imagine a woman wearing a purple shirt, blue belt and yellow pants next to one wearing a purple dress.