I make pottery that brings elegance, sophistication, and merriment to the everyday. 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 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, 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.
Kristen Kieffer is a full-time studio potter, workshop leader, and ceramics instructor in Massachusetts. She received her BFA in Ceramics from the N.Y.S.C.C. at Alfred University and MFA in Ceramics from Ohio University. Her professional experience includes being an Artist-in-Residence with studio potter John Glick in Farmington Hills, MI, as well as at Guldagergård in Skælskør, Denmark, the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN and the Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester, MA. Kristen has exhibited her work internationally in juried and invitational exhibitions, as well as taught workshops around North America at craft centers and universities. She has work in numerous private and public collections including the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, the Guldagergård Museum of International Ceramic Art in Skælskør, Denmark, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Fort Wayne, IN, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in San Angelo, TX.