Surface Decoration:
Suede to Leatherhard

This video (STREAM or DVD), is a demonstration overview of my favorite ceramics decoration techniques from workshops I’ve taught across North America since 2002 as well as signature deco from my Massachusetts studio.

I demonstrate eleven different surface decoration techniques for “suede” to leather hard in this 1 hr & 25 min video, including stamp-making & stamping, slip-trailing, slip-sponging, paper resist, water-etching, sgraffito, mishima/ inlay, carving, and sprigging. The goal of this instructional video is to show techniques that may be unfamiliar, offer a new take on the traditional, and generally inspire interest in the potential of the ceramic surface.

Video is available to stream (U.S. & U.K. only*) or as a DVD. Click the button below to purchase your preference.

*Unfortunately & for a variety of boring reasons that are not my choice, the streaming version is indeed only available in the U.S. and U.K., but does have a closed captioning option.

Watch the preview trailer below.

Customer comments from around the world:

“I must say this video is wonderful. It’s like sitting next to you and having a private tutor. But being able to rewind to any part and relive it again. Great video. Worth every cent.”

Patiently (not) waited for my family to go to bed and stayed up til 12:50 watching. It was like eating really exquisite chocolate, and I can do it over and over. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much, there is no doubt I’ll use some of your shared techniques and advices in my works. Very particular, full and interesting information. Once again – thank you” ~ Lithuania

I just finished watching your video ~ LOVE IT!!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise. It’s extra special that you did this project with your father :)

I have watched it through and am so inspired to try all of the techniques out.  I am new to pottery and have admired your work on line for some time, have tried to make stamps, but was carving them in clay, not very successful.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am.  Thank you sooooooo much for making this great video,  I look forward to the next one you make.

Peer Review. The next set of wonderful comments (in brief on the trailer and DVD case, and in full below) are by a selection of very talented and well-respected ceramic artists and educators who I solicited to review a copy of the video and offer their opinion. I am very appreciative for their time, thoughtful comments, and genuine support.

“This DVD shows that Kristen is not only a talented potter, but also a gifted teacher. It is a great resource for both students and teachers alike. Kristen demonstrates a wide range of decorating techniques for soft to leather hard clay, in a friendly and articulate manner. If you have ever stood before a row of freshly made pots wondering how to enhance the surface, this DVD is a must. You come away feeling that the possibilities for surface decoration are endless”.  ~Sandi Pierantozzi, Studio Potter and Ceramics Instructor, Philadelphia, PA

“Kristen is a wealth of information as is reflected in this DVD. It is clear that some of her techniques must have revealed themselves only after spending years of hard work in the studio. Even some of the more traditional techniques she demonstrates are imbued with her innovative twists. The DVD is clear, concise and well organized; perfect to accompany any ceramics course (both pottery and sculpture). She engages the viewer and inspires them to put their own unique spin on various techniques whether they are potters or sculptors. I plan to show this DVD as yet another tool in the classroom as it includes a wide variety of surface techniques with instant results.” ~ Rebekah Bogard, Ceramic Artist and Professor, University of Nevada, Reno

“This is a front-row seat to a great workshop in clay surface design.  Kristen presents each demonstration in real time with very little editing, so her presentation feels very genuine.  You can grasp the techniques to the point where you feel as if you could begin working right after watching it.  She does an excellent job clearly describing a wide range of decorative processes that can apply to any skill level.  This DVD would be perfect for anyone looking to expand their range of techniques in embellishing the physical surface of clay.”  ~ Sam Chung, Studio Potter and Professor, Arizona State University

“Kristen’s thoughtful and thorough explanations and demonstrations of surface techniques are inspiring and accessible. I found myself wanting to press PAUSE, grab some clay and start stamping! Kristen’s approach is very personal – you are right there with her in her private studio, with her exquisite pots poised on nearby shelves as beautiful examples of each technique described. The close-up camera work provides lots of “ooh” moments, while Kristen’s running narrative is full of unique metaphors for understanding clay characteristics. Students, hobbyists and pros can all benefit from this – whether it’s quick tips or expert tricks, Kristen’s comprehensive collection of surface decoration techniques sparks ideas.” ~ Christa Assad, Ceramic Artist, Berkeley, CA

“Kristen presents a richly varied, solid instruction that encourages the learner to go on and develop a personal approach. Well conceived and thorough.”
~ John Glick, Studio Potter, Plum Tree Pottery, Farmington Hills, MI



“The video suggests that a workshop with Kristen would be informative and fun. Technically clear and focused, the video is well made: lighting and sound are professionally done and filming supports the demos to give a clear view of the processes being demonstrated. Tips are insightful and practical, and include aesthetic as well as technical advice. Kristen shows how she uses these methods in her work, and offers suggestions about how other people may find somewhat different uses of the tools and methods helpful for their own works. She generously and clearly shares the methods she’s developed over time in her own studio. Her discussion of line, design, and pattern concerns offer an understanding of her working thoughts and the potential for personal application by the viewer. Kristen’s video shows a variety of well-illustrated decoration techniques that make me want to get to my studio and try them as soon as possible.”  ~ Linda Arbuckle, Studio Potter and Professor, University of Florida

P.S.: I strongly feel that in-person instruction is best, and a video by anyone is no substitution for classroom interaction, workshop question-and-answer or one-on-one discussion.  This video can serve as a review of some learned techniques for my workshop attendees, as well as a taste for those who have not yet had the opportunity to attend. I hope to see you at a workshop sometime in the future!

I would like to give a big thank you to my Dad. This project was his idea, and he was indeed the man behind the camera. The DVD could not have been done in such high quality without his patience, superb directing eye, and tenacity in the editing process. Thank you, Dad.

Copyright & Terms of Service:
Kristen Kieffer’s Surface Decoration: Suede to Leatherhard is under copyright. You may NOT download, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform publicly, publish, upload, edit, post, frame, transmit, rent, lease, lend, sublicense, modify, create derivative works of, or offer for sale, in whole or in part, any content, or other information contained on, or obtained from or through this DVD video without express written permission. Any unauthorized copying, retransmission, display, performance, or distribution of the DVD, Content or any portion thereof, and any material breach or violation of these Terms of Use, automatically terminates the license granted to you, obligates you to cease all use of the Service, and may constitute copyright infringement. Kieffer Ceramics and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.


2 thoughts on “Video

  1. hi kristen!
    i just watched your dvd, surface decoration for my throwing class. i have to say, im about out of my mind with new ideas! thank you so much! it was wonderful watching you work, and i love how you explained things so simply. i dont think im going to be sleeping tonight because of all the ideas floating through my head!

    thanks again!

  2. Hi! Your water-etching technique highly influenced my graduate work and I have included your DVD in my thesis. Thank you so much for making it!

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