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Exercises in Intentional Creativity

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Salvador Dali

Seeking Inspiration

As artists, we are conditioned to draw inspiration from a variety of sources – nature, books, personal experiences, and our community of artists. While we intuitively channel this inspiration into our everyday work, it is useful to push our creativity in more intentional ways. This intentional, or outside-the-box, kind of creativity is an important investment in our future work and always seems to pay artistic dividends.

A Design Challenge – The ‘Fifth Season’

In the studio we started calling intentional creativity ‘Fifth Season’ work, which represents design work that diverges from what we think of as standard or safe, and instead strives to be novel – if imperfect. The idea of the Fifth Season surfaced last January as the holiday season wound down. We completed design and production of our Winter Collection, the fourth seasonal collection of the year, and were in the midst of  creative renewal as we reflected on our year of designs. Then, Jill presented a fun design challenge as an exercise to stretch our creativity. Each artist was tasked with designing a vase based on two random parameters drawn from a hat, historic style and motif. Artists drew the following:

Allison – A landscape in Newcomb College style

Becky – A symbolic motif  in Amphora style

Ken – A flower in Nouveau style

Alek – A classic motif in Rookwood Pottery style

Leah – A steampunk motif in Saturday Evening Girl style

Kevin – A geometric motif in Teco style

Jill – A rebirth motif in Grueby Faience Pottery style

Laura – A whimsical motif in Prairie style

Jennifer – A bird in Marblehead Pottery style

Sharing Our Ideas

The End Results

While the end results are far from refined and finished, we found great value in pushing ourselves into new territory. Little bits of technique and whispers of inspiration from this exercise now emerge as successful elements in our new artwork.

 

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Help us Design a Pop Culture Vase

From Game of Thrones and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Bigfoot and “Shark Week”, we are inspired by popular culture. Collaborate with Ephraim artists to design a fan-built pop culture vase.  Which offbeat, nontraditional motif makes a good subject for ceramic art?

Every Ephraim vase begins with a free flow of ideas – in a sketch or through freeform play with the clay.  Help us transform a simple lump of clay by responding to us on Facebook, Instagram or email (ephraim.office@gmail.com) with your ideas for a motif. We’ll gather a group of the strongest or most unique ideas and then reach out to you again with our interpretations of your theme. Follow and participate in this journey on our Facebook and Instagram pages(#ephraimfanbuilt).

Pop Culture-inspired Experimental Pieces from Years Past

All of these pieces were created from 2015-2018 and currently reside in private collections.

Kevin’s Bigfoot Throwing A Pot Vase

Kevin is the ultimate Bigfoot fan. For his birthday we created a lidded jar for him featuring Bigfoot throwing a pot. This piece now holds a prominent place in Kevin’s home as a prized part of his art collection.

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Video: Making the Miniature Snowdrop Tile

See Jennifer in action glazing the Miniature Snowdrop Tile in this one minute video.

At the studio, we make a wide selection of unique art tiles. Our innovative tile-making system allows us to rapidly test new designs and all of the artists involve themselves in tile design. We want to shine a light on Jennifer Alexander’s tile designs. Her tiles – known in the studio as the ‘Jennifer tiles’ – have a distinctive style with heavy outlines and thick, rich glaze application. Jennifer was inspired by the idea of translating stained glass design to ceramic art. We love the rustic, handmade quality of these tiles, which complement our other pottery.

Shop Ephraim Art Tile

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Learn More about Ephraim’s Woodshop

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Making the Wildflower Vase: a short video documents the process

The Wildflower Vase is one of 6 pieces from the new limited-edition 2018 Spring Collection (available for order through May 11, 2018). This piece incorporates many fine details and intricacies that we documented for you to see in this short video. We hope you enjoy watching a sampling of the mesmerizing processes involved in creating this wonderful vase.

Shop the Wildflower Vase