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Experimental Pottery – Fall 2017

Online Experimental Pottery Event

October 18, 2017 – Beginning at 12 PM (CDT)
Shop from our website during this special offering of one-of-a-kind Experimental pieces. Each item will be unique and the exact item shown in the photos.

A sampling of the online Experimental pottery.

Tips for online buying during Experimental Sales:

1. Log in to your account (or create an account) so that your personal info is saved and ready for you to checkout as quickly as possible. For your security, we do not allow you to save your credit card number.

2. Refresh your browser frequently to see accurate availability. If you have the Experimental page loaded and just wait for the items to appear at 12 PM you will miss the sale. Be sure to refresh your browser window.

3. The first person to complete a transaction with an item will receive that item. It is possible to have items in your cart that become unavailable if another buyer completes their transaction before you. Just having an item in your cart does not guarantee that you will be able to buy the item.

4. We will offer free shipping on all orders, so you do not need to worry about multiple shipping charges if you make multiple purchases.

5. Our Wisconsin studio is in Central Daylight Time. The Experimentals will become available starting at 12 PM (CDT).

6. If items sell out and you are not able to purchase an item that you really want, please contact us in the studio to discuss the possibility of custom work. We can never make an exact duplicate, but we can create something similar that would bear the custom “C” stamp.

7. During online Experimental sales, we experience heavy web traffic that is mostly handled very well by our ever-improving website, but the rush of shoppers can cause occasional errors to happen in the checkout process. The typical error is for the system to sell 2 of a one-of-a-kind item. In this rare case, we contact the second buyer and remedy the situation with a mutually agreeable solution. We ask for your understanding should this unlikely event occur during your shopping experience.

Fall Experimental Pottery Gallery Events

October 14, 2017 – Studio Gallery in Lake Mills, WI + West Gallery in Cambria, CA.
10 am – 5 pm

Join our gallery events in California or Wisconsin to shop select groups of one-of-a-kind Experimental pieces. These unique designs will feature fall motifs but include a variety of designs. We will have coffee & bakery to share. Come and handpick your pottery!

A sampling of the Experimental pottery available Oct, 14 at the Studio Gallery in Lake Mills, WI.
A sampling of the Experimental pottery available Oct, 14 at the West Gallery in Cambria, CA.
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2017 Fall Collection – Limited Edition Designs

As the days shorten and shadows lengthen we see with fading light just how fascinating our little blue planet can be. From Twilight’s glow the 2017 Fall Collection reveals the stunning natural wonders, quaint creatures, and fairytale features of fall – the wildest season of the all. The Fall Collection will be available through September only.

Victory Falls – Limited Edition. Thrown & sculpted by Kevin Hicks. Glazed by Becky Hansen.

Honey Bear Chamberstick – Limited Edition. Thrown by Kevin Hicks, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Allison Jelenchick.

Bat & Moonflower Vase – Limited Edition. Thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Jennifer Alexander.

Cinderella Pumpkin – Limited Edition. Thrown by Kevin Hicks, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Allison Jellenchick.

Silverwing Tile – Limited Edition. Designed, pressed and glazed by Leah Purisch.

 

 

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In the making – “Victory Falls”

A Reverence for the Past

“Victory Falls” is an awe-inspiring feat of ceramic art. At Ephraim Pottery we have great reverence for the past masters and have drawn so much inspiration from their art pottery. In this piece, Grueby and Teco Pottery were both influential. Artist, Kevin Hicks, appreciated Teco’s beautifully complex, double-walled designs – so ambitious they required molds and slip-casting. Similarly,  the hand-thrown and organic nature of Grueby’s pottery has always been an important source of inspiration for Hicks. He wanted to merge hand-thrown pottery with the complexity of Teco’s slip cast pottery. The result is wonderfully intriguing. We are happy to share with you the creative journey of this pivotal piece.

Artist Kevin Hicks throwing the upper double-walled section of the vase on the potter’s wheel.

A Process that Requires Skill

Without any straightforward instruction from books or other potters of the past, Hicks spent six-plus months of trial and error in different methods and materials to create Victory Falls. Two thrown parts must come together with an exactly equal diameter to make this piece. Hicks throws and scores the bottom of the upper, double-walled portion of the vase. He sets this first piece aside and carefully throws the lower form. Hicks delicately connects the two parts, finessing them on the potter’s wheel to join them seamlessly as one piece.

Artist Kevin Hicks throwing the lower section of the vase and attaching the upper double-walled section to blend into a single seamless form.

Sculpting & Carving: Finishing of the Form

After the form dries to leather hard, Hicks intricately carves into the form and applies the sculptural details of the bridge, rocks and water.

Kevin Hicks sculpting “Victory Falls” – Limited Edition Fall Collection.

Collaboration of Glaze and Gravity

Once the form is fully dry it goes to the kiln for the bisque firing. Our master glazer, Becky Hansen, then applies the glaze – utilizing pouring, spraying and hand-brushing techniques – to finish the form and create the illusion of moving water with flowing glaze.

Artist Becky Hansen glazing “Victory Falls” – Limited Edition Fall Collection.

The Best Yet!

Kevin Hicks, “I like to look outside the box for creative ways to push forward – beyond what we have done in the past, beyond what other potteries are doing, and beyond what is typical.”

Victory Falls – Limited Edition Fall Collection, $598

This special design is part of our Limited Edition Fall Collection and will be available for order only through September 30, 2017. It is our third version of a waterfall design and shows a progression of our creative expression. Below you can see “Victory Falls” beside our older waterfall designs.

An Evolution: Ephraim’s Waterfalls, since 2003

Left: #323 Waterfall Vase, retired in 2008, 354 made, $148. Center: Water Under the Bridge, 2010 Showpiece, 97 made, $428. Right: Victory Falls – Limited Edition 2017 Fall Collection, in production through 9/30/17.

Read more about “Water Under the Bridge” – BLOG post from 2015.

 

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Designs Retiring August 20, 2017

Come August 20, 2017, the following designs will move from active production to permanent retirement.

It is always with mixed feelings that we cease to create any design. With each retirement we let go of pieces we have hand crafted and known intimately for years. Fortunately, as a collaboratively organized and ever-evolving art pottery, we thrive on progress and change  – even while our techniques and styles are a solid reflection of historic tradition.

At Ephraim, we are part of a long tradition of collectible art pottery. Art pottery lends itself to collectibility because historically it tends to have been well marked with “shop marks” and it was naturally limited due to the making process. We have upheld the tradition of marking our pottery and because of the handmade nature of our process, the pieces are limited by the capacity of the pottery. We document how many pieces we make and publish these figures on our website in order to support collectibility.

Our art pottery and tiles are limited editions. Designs in our Studio Collection are limited to a maximum of 500 pieces. We also create limited, reserve and numbered editions of special designs. When a piece of pottery or a tile is retired, we officially close the edition, record the final numbers produced, and never revisit that particular design again.

Historical item listing – Retired & Discontinued Aug 2017

Dragonfly Trio Vase – Shown in Shibori & Nightfall. Also available in Algae, Autumn Reflections & Cranberry.

 

Moonlight Flight Tile 5×5
Ancient Blossoms Vase – Chestnut, Birch
Drifter Vase – Teal, Chestnut
Island Vine Vase – Pacific Batik, Leaf Green, Teal
Okavango Delta Vase
Sign of Peace Tile – Shown here in Pumpkin. Also available in Aqua and Chestnut.
Spotted Salamander Vase
Mare’s Ridge Tile 7×5
Portico Lantern
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2017 Summer Collection – Limited Edition Designs

5 Summer Collection designsAs we soak up the long sunny days and marvel at the tremendous energy of the season we offer our limited edition 2017 Summer Collection. Like summer itself, this selection offers an array of flora, stunning heat, garden-fresh nourishment, and a dose of fantasy. The Summer Collection will be available for order through July only.


Leaf Vases
Available in indigo, satin yellow and leaf green glazes.
Ken Nekola throwing and sculpting the Giboshi Cabinet Vase – Limited Edition. Glazed by Allison Jelenchick.


Vase with pea pods, blossom and bee.

Artist throwing the vase on a potter's wheel.
Sweet Pea & Bee Vase – Limited Edition. Thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Becky Hansen.



Sunflower Vases
Available in desert sun and indigo glazes.
Potter throwing a vase on the wheel.
Always Face the Sun – Limited Edition. Thrown by Kevin Hicks, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Jennifer Grelk.


Sunset scenic vase.

Red Sky at Night – Limited Edition. Thrown by Kevin Hicks and glazed by Leah Purisch.


dragon vases
Available in night water and hazel glazes.
Gothic Dragon Vase – Limited Edition. Thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Allison Jelenchick.

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The Magnetism of Ceramic Glazes


I have been working in the lab, making glazes at Ephraim, for a little over a year now. The lab is this space apart at the studio and the work that goes on here ebbs and flows like waves in an ocean. The discovery process for designing new glazes unfolds in utterly exciting and all-encompassing ways.

The Recipe

Imagine mixing a little clay dust, a little sand, some powdered rock, and an oxide that you last encountered in high school chemistry class. The mixture looks like the dry ingredients for a loaf of bread, yet you are aware that instead of ground seeds and grains, these are ground rocks and minerals. Next, you add a little water to the rock-flour mixture until it forms a creamy cocktail for a small test pot. The test goes into a small kiln and you can barely sleep while you wait the 8+ hours for the amazing transformation of heat on these humble elements.

Glazes are the most magical part of the ceramic process. I can’t think of any other artistic process that undergoes such a dramatic metamorphosis. My heart flutters thinking about all the possibilities that come from the same handful of ingredients – from our signature crystalline matte glazes that evoke the purest mineral deposit to glossy, glittery glazes reminiscent of a polished gemstone.

A successful new glaze beckons, inviting our engagement. We look for glazes that have a lively quality that results from flowing movement in the kiln, crystal growth that enhances the surface quality and depth, and color variation that breaks on a form in interesting, dynamic ways.

A New Glaze

Another component of glaze development at the studio happens outside of the lab. Ephraim glazers constantly experiment with new techniques for applying glaze; new ways to layer our existing glazes; and exciting, harmonious color combinations. The newest glazes that have come from the studio are the Periwinkle and sprayed Light Olive glazes that Becky developed and the bright red and orange accent glazes in the Rhythm Line that Jennifer developed. The ingenuity of our glazing team inspires me to keep seeking new treasures from lab.

View photo swatches of our glazes.