Louisville Clay Members Gather for an Evening with Kristian Stephens

Kristian Stephens, as a ceramic artist and floral designer in Louisville, creates compositions that are sensitive gestures of calmness, space, balance and love of nature.

Krissy blog-sat 1

The basis of Kristian’s floral arrangement is the practice of Ikebana, a refined expression of an artist’s personal philosophy. Add to this the unique sculpted vases she makes to interact sublimely with leaves and flowers, and we have one art form influencing another.

Krissy blog 14

Kristian explained that Ikebana is a form of flower arranging developed in Japan; was prominent in the 14th century; and is popular today, with over 3000 schools teaching the art form.

IMG_20190823_191646

Ikebana is a three-pronged process based on: simplistic design; a minimal number of flowers; and meditating while designing. The designer’s state of mind is actually more important than the flowers. As Kristian said; “Ikebana is all about the love and need of the artist.”

Using a highly systematic method of floral arrangement, the mind is freed to become integrated with nature and self. Only 2 or 3 flowers are used in which each flower occupies a specific space. The tallest flower represents the sky; the middle sized flower represents the human; the lowest plant, the earth.

Kissy blog sat 2

Integral to this meditative approach are the beautiful unglazed clays of Kristian’s vases. Here’s how she creates the natural forms that hold her floral arrangements.

IMG_20190823_192117

Begin with two pounds of wedged stoneware clay, formed into a pyramid or other geometric shape. Let the clay rest for two hours.

IMG_20190823_181548

In order to lighten the lower portion of the form, press a hole in the bottom of the clay that only reaches a few inches into the clay.

Take time to press the clay walls out to widen the opening and smooth out any air bubbles, leaving thick walls.

img_20190823_183226_1.jpg

When the clay form has dried to the “just right” consistency, begin shaving the outside walls. Kristian exclaimed that this is real fun and relaxing for the artist.

IMG_20190823_193321

The top is the last part to shave off. Holes are then poked into the clay to accommodate flower and leaf stems.

IMG_20190823_193435

The vases are bisque fired then fired to cone six with no glaze. For a vase to hold water, a clear glaze is added to the opening where the stems reside.

“It’s all about the way that the space is used. Every flower placement, every slice of clay, has a huge meaning and presence.” We all felt the importance of Kristian’s words.

krissy bog-3

Following Kristian’s demonstration, the group’s energy level exploded. Our exuberance came from our understanding that our own art can be a successful expression of appreciation for nature, space, and raw clay. Thanks Kristian for creating vases that express Ikebana so well.

img_20190823_192943.jpg

And to make our evening more wonderful we joined Elmer Lucile Allen in celebration of her 88th birthday. She is a great friend to many of us at Louisville Clay.

Krissy blog 18

The work of Kristian Stephens can be seen at:
Lady Made Pottery
ladymadepottery@gmail.com

Shop Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ladymadepattery

Kristian Meade

Floral Design and Event Styling
Kristian Meade Florisrty@gmail.com

Marie-Elena Ottman, Ceramic Sculpture

Artist Talk Hosted by Louisville Clay at AA Clay Studio & Gallery September 11, 2018

Louisville-Clay-eats
Louisville Clay members gathered at AA Clay for Artist Talk and Potluck
Alex-Introduces.png
President of Louisville Clay, Alex Adams introduces Marie-Elena Ottman

Marie-Elena Ottman is a Louisville based artist with a story worth telling. Louisville Clay members enjoyed seeing images of Marie-Elena’s fantastical ceramic art, while hearing her compelling personal story.

Iguana

Having grown up in Panama with an American father and Panamanian mother, Marie-Elena makes art about the symbiosis and the tension that can exist between two cultures. At age 21 she broke with tradition in Panama, where women stay at home until married, by emigrating to the United States to attend college in Montana. What followed was an art journey in which she has represented the integration of two cultures through visual metaphor.

Portrait-slide-Panama

Marie-Elena’s ceramic process is achieved through coil building and the use of extraordinary color. She also artfully combines glass with ceramics in her sculpture.

Her current images are derived from her homeland and include coconuts, cashews, iguanas, monkeys, coatimundis, exotic birds,Panamanian dress and vibrant color. The following images are metaphors about pregnancy, split personality, and greediness, among other life stories.

 

“I’ve learned to not forget culture, to embrace the past while also moving forward” said Marie-Elena as she closed her presentation. Ottman currently teaches Intro to Ceramics and Advanced Handbuilding at the University of Louisville. She and her husband have two children, ages 12 and 10, who are learning about their heritage by speaking Spanish as well as English.

Marie-art

Louisville Clay Members Make Elaborative/Collaborative Teapots

It was a two-hour clay event on June 12 at
KY Mudworks in Louisville that rated high
on the fun-scale for area artists.

The complexity of the teapot is well known to potters.

This Julius Friedman poster shows a teapot by Hsiao-Ling Gardner

We added a challenge to the process by mixing and matching separate functional and aesthetic components (body, spout, handle, lid). Each finished pot consists of parts made by different contributors. We call this the “exquisite” teapot.

As we began to communally design a process for creating exquisite teapots, we felt as if we were 15 people sharing one brain (allowing some confusion to enter the scene, of course).

As we worked individually to create teapot components, we felt like an expanding intellect: occasionally working in the dark, and motivated by the unknown.

Boldly, we came together to combine our creative identities
and, “voila”, teapots were born.

You could not have found a happier group of artists at play.

Louisville Clay is an association of ceramic artists and enthusiasts.
We support clay culture in our region by creating a vibrant atmosphere
in which to create and communicate.

We have membership events such as exquisite teapot-building,
as well as demonstrations and lectures by visiting artists.

Check out our website at louisvilleclay.org. Members can easily create profiles to share news and information with the Louisville Clay community.