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At Ephraim Pottery, we hung up our aprons and set aside our clay tools to travel to Minneapolis for the annual NCECA, National Council for Education for the Ceramic Arts, Claytopia conference. At the crack of dawn we piled into Leah’s big blue Eurovan and settled in for the epic journey ahead.
We fanned out to cover more ground, attend more lectures and demonstrations, and shop for new artist tools. With a focus on maximizing this rewarding and mind-expanding experience, it will no doubt enhance the dynamic of our work when we arrive back at the studio.
While everyone was excited to arrive and dig in, Ken found a welcome cup of coffee to shake off the early morning travel fog.
We had a blast at NCECA! Until next year!
Ravens often symbolize insight and prophecy. An omniscient raven perches on a branch, silhouetted by the full moon. Cutouts on the rim suggest the architecture of the material world, to which the raven foretells a message from the eternal realm.
Laura Klein designed the Foretelling Vase. Her initial concept began as a tile drawing. Laura is often inspired by Art Nouveau imagery and this piece exemplifies her Nouveau sensibilities.
The raven appears as a more recent theme in our studio works. In 2011 it first surfaced as Take Flight, a Kevin Hicks design exploring the mysterious nature of birds through the raven’s intelligence and beauty. Since then, this motif returned only five times–in low relief sculptural designs, two-dimensional Craftsman-inspired pieces and as a silhouette against the night sky. Along with Ephraim’s new Foretelling Vase, there are two raven pieces currently in production, the Bungalow Crow and the Rookery.
Ephraim employees (and their families) took a break from throwing bowls to throw a few bowling balls instead. Our annual party was a blast! We rented the historic bowling alley in the basement of the Fort Atkinson Club in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. The kids all had more fun setting up the pins than rolling the balls…it worked out perfectly!
Each January we make space for the year’s new designs by retiring a handful of pieces from production. This carves out creative capacity and studio space for us to refine new designs that are in the works for the year ahead. While this is exciting creatively, we are wistful each time we have to say goodbye to a beloved piece of art.
Top row (left to right): Tropical Orchid Vase, Art Nouveau Crocus Vase, Orange Tree Tile, Giboshi Lantern
Center row (left to right): Revival Rose Jar, Noble Dragonfly Vase, Koi Pool Tile
Bottom row (left to right): Canopy Vase, Midsummer Vase, Aqueduct Vase, Crown of Snowdrops Vase
As new energies and perspectives rush in with the new year, I pause to reflect – there’s much to consider! Foremost, I feel humbled by your incredible support, thank you. Ephraim’s vision of creating art in a collaborative, cooperative space is enlivened by your interest in our work. In partnership, we are able to continue to foster our curiosities and challenge our creativity to delight you, our fellow art enthusiasts.
Collaboration probably isn’t the easiest way to make art, but in our experience, it might be the most gratifying. We are ever-amazed at the elevated ideas that surface when we share the process – wading through myriad concepts, contemplating, compromising, experimenting – ultimately building off each other’s ideas. We seem to always arrive at something refreshingly satisfying that would never come from any of us independently. Today I am encouraged to see more collaborative models in the workplace, schools and other communities. This way of interacting with the world pushes us to explore and thrive beyond imagining. We highly recommend it.
I am excited as we plan and execute creatively in 2019, inspired by you, each other and the world around us. We never rest on finding new ways to speak through our artistry. It’s been a privilege for me to participate in the studio throughout each and every one of Ephraim’s 22+ years in business. What I see happening right now – artistic synergy, lessons learned, evolved ideas and relationships – may just make this the best year yet. We are excited to develop and present to you a range of exceptional pottery and wood offerings. Let’s continue to stay connected through this journey – we enthusiastically welcome your support in 2019.
Happy 2019 from all of us at Ephraim Pottery. January finds us actively planning 2019 campaigns, organizing space, and refining new designs while pottery production continues.
Collaboration is alive and well as we confer with each other about our new designs for 2019. Below Alek, Jill, and Becky meet to discuss the glazing on a new vase; Jennifer and Allison strategize at the kitchen table; and Kevin and Alek work together to pug more clay.