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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

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Creative Process: Making Miniatures

A History of Making Miniatures

Before Ephraim Pottery, potters Kevin Hicks and Ken Nekola, made miniature pottery as part of their work at Rowe Pottery. Rowe had a line of miniatures and sold doll tea sets to the Pleasant Company (American Girl Doll). Miniature-making required a special skill set and when it came time for Hicks to start Ephraim Pottery, he earned extra money working as an independent potter for the “Miniature Pottery” in Edgerton, WI.

Ornaments lead to Miniatures

Hicks’ and Nekola’s experience making miniatures eventually translated into hand-thrown ornaments at Ephraim. The ornaments, in turn, led to occasional experimentation with one-of-a-kind miniature vases. The finely-wrought details and demands in firing present a unique challenge that has taken the studio years to overcome. To date Ephraim has only managed to offer three miniature designs in short-run, limited-editions – all in the last 5 or 6 years.

Little Details make Divine Miniatures

This year, thanks to our master kiln-loader, Alek Schroeder, the fine motor sculpting skills of Ken Nekola and Laura Klein, and the amazing attention to detail and quality of our glazers, Jennifer Alexander, Becky Hansen, and Allison Jelenchick we are able to present you with three miniature designs in multiple glazing options. We are especially proud of the intricate details encompassed in this collection and hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Four new limited edition Miniature New Frond Vases from Ephraim Pottery
Limited Edition – Miniature New Frond Vase, $148 each or $542 for the Collection of 4. Organic Green, Pacific Batik, Algae & Autumn Reflections.
Limited Edition – Miniature New Frond Vase.
Limited Edition – Miniature New Frond Vase. Thrown and sculpted by Ken Nekola. Glazed by Allison Jelenchick and Jill Winslow.


Five new limited-edition Miniature Dancing Dragonflies Bowl from Ephraim Pottery
Limited Edition – Miniature Dancing Dragonflies Bowl, $168 each or $790 for the Collection of 5. Algae, Teal, Leaf Green, Pacific Batik & Autumn Wheat.
Limited Edition – Miniature Dancing Dragonflies Bowl. Thrown and sculpted by Ken Nekola. Glazed by Becky Hansen.


New limited-edition Miniature Sweet Magnolia Vase from Ephraim Pottery
Limited Edition – Miniature Sweet Magnolia Vase, $178
Limited Edition – Miniature Sweet Magnolia Vase
Limited Edition – Miniature Sweet Magnolia Vase. Thrown and sculpted by Kevin Hicks. Glazed by Jennifer Alexander.


 

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2017 Winter Collection – Limited Edition Designs + Winter Holiday Series

Introducing the 2017 Winter Collection. May these colorful designs brighten your home during this spirited season and bring you years of delight. We offer our sincere gratitude and holiday cheer for your loyalty and goodwill throughout the year.

This year’s Winter Holiday Series – Lyrical Poinsettia Vase – will be available until all 85 of the numbered edition pieces are ordered. The rest of the Winter Collection will be available in our galleries, online, or by phone 888.704.7687 through Dec 15.

Winter Design Series – Lyrical Poinsettia Vase. Thrown and sculpted by Kevin Hicks. Glazed by Jennifer Alexander.



Limited Edition – Snowy Birch Ornament. Thrown and sculpted by Ken Nekola. Glazed by Leah Purisch.

Limited Edition – Tree Hopper Ornament. Thrown by Kevin Hicks, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Becky Hansen.

Limited Edition – Hidden Garden Ornament. Thrown and sculpted by Ken Nekola. Glazed by Becky Hansen and Jennifer Alexander.

Limited Edition – Dashing Through the Snow Tile. Pressed by Leah Purisch and Kevin Hicks. Glazed by Jill Winslow.

Limited Edition – Winter Bouquet Vase. Thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein and glazed by Becky Hansen.

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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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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.