Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘Kristen Kieffer’

Kristen Kieffer’s Workshop

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011


A couple of weekends ago I took a Kristen Kieffer workshop at Plinth Gallery.  It was a two day workshop where she shared many of her amazing techniques.  She’s the queen of elegant stamping, beautiful slip trailing and other surface decorations! I was really glad to be able to sit and listen as she demystified her methods.  Some of the things she covered were making your own stamps, and altering by using stamps, darting, and slip trailing.

I love how Jonathan’s cat Flux decides to partake in the workshop as well!

I’m so glad that Jonathan Kaplan the owner of Plinth has been offering these workshops.  I no longer can take a week or two week workshop, I just don’t’ want to leave my family for that long, but these short bursts of creativity are terrific.

Kristen Kieffer – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

Friday, October 7th, 2011


The graceful forms, elegant patterns and lively colors of Kristen Kieffer’ s  “Lovely Intangibles”, will be on display at Plinth Gallery during October.  This exhibition, featuring all new work from the Massachusetts-based ceramic artist, opens “First Friday” October 7th with an artist reception from 6-9pm.   

Kristen will also instruct a two-day workshop October 8-9 in the Plinth Gallery studio.  The workshop will focus on altering forms, and decoration techniques such as stamping, slip-trailing, sponging and resists. Cost is $250/person which includes lunch, and interested persons should email the Gallery for more information.  

Kristen’s website and blog 

 Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a full-time studio potter working from my home in north central Massachusetts. I teach 5-8 hands-on and demonstration workshops  around the U.S. each year, as well as adult community classes part-time at the Worcester Center for Crafts. I work alone in my studio, so do every aspect of the making and finishing of my pots solo, in addition to the marketing, networking, shipping and photography. I primarily sell my work directly from my studio in my online stores on Etsy ( and Big Cartel (, at my spring and holiday studio sales, and during workshops. I also consign at a handful of select ceramic galleries and participate in juried and invitational exhibitions.

How did you become an artist?

My start was probably not too different from any other. Art was always my favorite class and hobby as a kid, and when I started college not knowing in which direction I’d head, I took a pottery class, and have been in one studio or another since that first one in 1991. Family support was essential and personal stubbornness and naïveté were probably crucial.

How would you describe your work? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style?

My favorite compliment is, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” I wrote a blog post in January 2010 called “Signature Style” ( that delves into this subject a bit, and remains the most commented-on post I’ve written. I also recently re-wrote my artist statement, which I think explains my perspective about my current pots fairly well:

Inspired by diverse cultures, materials and objects, I create contemporary pottery that embraces the sophistication and detail of past eras mixed with modern beauty and merriment.

In the making of these Victorian modern porcelain vessels, my influences range from 18th c. silver service pieces to Elizabethan and couture clothing and from Art Nouveau illustrations to cake fondant and vintage wallpaper. Such diversity combined with my own background and distinct studio processes culminate into a unique style.

Graceful forms, elegant patterns and lively colors convey a design that is robust as well as romantic and lavish.

(My full statement can be read here.) (

Graduate school is probably when my work took on a more distinctive look, but in the ten years since I graduated from Ohio University, my pots have continued to grow and evolve and, I hope, will continue to do so. The change is what keeps me interested.

What is the inspiration for your pieces?

Most of the blogging I do on my website is about my influences. The blog is obviously a marketing tool, but it’s also a place for me to communicate to my collectors, gather my thoughts by having to write them down, and catalog my inspiration. My influences are rarely ceramic and vary wildly (architecture to candy, industrial design to furniture, etc.), as I mention in my artist statement above. I’m now keeping track of influence images for future blog posts on Pinterest ( And, starting with my post about the title for my exhibition ( at Plinth this month, there are dozens of blog posts on my site about my influences ( and favorites ( ): separate and sometimes overlapping categories for things that impact my work vs. things I admire. 

 How does your DVD on surface decoration relate to your workshops?

The DVD ( ) was a neat, independent project that is a great compliment to my teaching. The response has been tremendous and supportive. Since it came out last year, many folks who purchased it have been enticed to take a full workshop. And many more who took a workshop have purchased it as reminder of what they learned. The DVD has sold all over the world, and while I’d certainly be happy flying anywhere and everywhere to teach, this instructional video has allowed folks who can’t come for a workshop the opportunity to see some of the techniques I enjoy in a personal format.

What keeps you motivated?

I think being a self-employed anything requires a certain kind of personality, an inner drive. I strive to continue to be a studio potter, so how to do that (and pay the bills) is on-going motivation.

Kristen’s website and blog