We were fortunate to schedule Kristen Kieffer for a workshop shortly before she was an NCECA demonstrator. 30 Artists from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas were able to be inspired by her techniques and entertained by her effervescent personality and lighthearted stories well ahead of the rest of the country.
Original Kristen Kieffer Workshop Description:
Our workshop will focus on altering wheel-thrown (or hand-built) forms a little and a lot. We will then embellish those forms with an array of decoration techniques from stamping and slip-trailing to sponging and resists. The result can be functional or sculptural, minimal or extravagant. You will leave the workshop with a collection of new skills and the confidence to play and draw from your own influences. Demonstrations include throwing, altering and building off the wheel, darting, slip-decorating, stamp-making and stamping. We will discuss aesthetics and proportion, timing in clay, idea-generation, and progressing one’s own work with learned techniques.
Workshop will include:
- Slide presentation of Kristen’s work (past and current) plus influences
- Demonstrations of various surface decoration techniques
- Demonstrations of altering thrown forms and building
- Discussions about timing, maintaining a sketch/idea book and idea-generation
- Critiques and/or one-on-one discussions
Kristen Kieffer Bio
Kristen Kieffer received her AA from Montgomery College in Rockville, MD in 1993, BFA from the N.Y.S.C.C. at Alfred University in 1995, and her MFA from Ohio University in 2001. Kristen now lives and works in Massachusetts, and travels extensively to teach workshops.
Kristen Kieffer Artist Statement
I make pottery that brings elegance, sophistication and merriment to the everyday, rather than saving it for a special occasion. I have a diverse range of influences, and seek to marry the splendor of past eras with a modern desire for beauty and utility.
My influences for these Victorian modern porcelain vessels range from 18th century silver service pieces to couture clothing and from Art Nouveau illustrations to cake fondant. Such diversity combined with my own personality as a maker culminates into a unique style.
Graceful forms, refined patterns and lively colors convey a design that is robust as well as elegant and joyful.
I am intrigued by the relationship between function and ornamentation: observing how decoration informs use, questioning the balance between utility and beauty, and appreciating—that in past eras—the two could indeed happily coexist in one object.
As I throw, alter and build with clay, I am drawing in three-dimensions, deciding what kind of line, edge and shadow will best accentuate the pot’s silhouette. I use repetitive pattern and accents to compliment and define form. These external embellishments are smaller, detailed lines and shapes giving strength to the bold lines defining the pot’s shape. My choice of mostly monochrome color (a cue from the metal objects I love) allows the pattern to coexist with but not dominate the form.
Within the parameters of the ceramic vessel, I am interested in investigating line, form and detail, coaxing a soft material that becomes hard to look soft again