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Earth Day 2017

Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition (recycled glaze) $218, with $20 per vase donated to The Alliance for the Great Lakes. June update: We had enough recycled glaze to create 46 Earth Day vases. That means that together we have raised $920 for the Alliance for the Great Lakes! Thank you!

Two years ago, we asked, “What color glaze occurs from the accumulated glaze dust in our studio?” We discovered a black, speckled teal glaze and we used that color to make a limited run of “Earth Day Vases.” (read about the 2015 piece here). Inspired by our previous attempt at a recycled glaze, this year Becky wanted to find out what a glaze made from her scraping bucket would look like if she systematically omitted the green scrapings from the bucket. Becky painstakingly sorted her scrapings for an entire year. When the bucket was full, we reconstituted the glaze. The entire studio made predictions about the color – in the raw state the glaze was a chalky pink color that resembled many of our other glazes, but what color would it be fired to 2000 degrees?

The next morning when we plucked the sample out of the kiln, the whole studio had a good chuckle when we saw the color – green! Of course, in the end, this made sense because all of the yellow scrapings mixed with all the blue scrapings. The resulting glaze color is a unique shade of green with a softer tone than our leaf green; slightly bluish, though less blue than our teal glaze.

With this pleasing, creamy bluish green glaze in mind, we turned to Laura Klein to design a vase suitable to our new bucket of glaze and to an Earth Day theme. Immediately Laura seized on the idea of making a cicada vase. The rich symbology of a cicada from ancient art – representing rebirth and immortality, paired with poppies – representing sleep and death, seemed like the perfect, unique theme for this special piece.

Artist Laura Klein throwing the Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition
Artist Laura Klein sculpting the Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition

At Ephraim Pottery sustainable practices are a regular component of the workflow. We recycle our used clay within the studio & by donating to local ceramics programs, we purchase energy from a solar and wind-sourced power grid, in the woodshop, John uses “scraps” of his quarter-sawn oak to build the smaller tile stands, and we offer reusable cloth bags in our galleries. Various staff members walk or bike to work, others drive fuel efficient vehicles. The list goes on…but you get the idea – we truly care about this beautiful planet and strive to protect the natural world which is our essential source of inspiration in our art.

We invite you to add this special vase to your collection and to also continually strive to make healthy choices for our planet. In honor of Earth Day, we will donate $20 from the purchase of each vase to The Alliance for the Great Lakes. Their mission is to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education, and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes for all generations. Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition (recycled glaze) $218, with $20 per vase donated to The Alliance for the Great Lakes.
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5 Reasons to Collect Ephraim’s new Spring Pottery

  1. Our seasonal collections are created in very limited quantities – on average less than one piece per state. Because the artists in the studio thrive on designing new pieces, creating them for a short time and then move on to explore new designs, these small collections are authentically limited by the number we can make by hand in these short windows of time.
  2. These particular designs will never be offered again and in this collection there are some very fine, pivotal, and unusual aspects to each of the pieces.
  3. Many of these build on Ephraim’s work from years past and would be wonderful additions to expand an existing collection. For example, the last two years in the spring we have created a limited edition frog vase and the Mill Pond Frog adds to this tradition. Where’s the Nuthatch vase is a transitional piece that fits in with our “Marblehead” line of pottery, which includes the Anniversary Rose and Revival Rose pieces from our Studio Collection. The Bonny Bluebells vase incorporates our rarely utilized snow glaze and could incorporate nicely with other snow-glazed pieces. The Southern Magnolia represents a departure with an unusual form, as does the Nodding Crocus Vase.
  4. We designed a new shop mark for the bottom of limited-edition collections this year. The mark, designed by Kevin, represents the Earth with rays of sun shining from behind our planet. The mark symbolizes the seasons as the sun moves around the Earth. We will use this new stamp, along with our Ephraim Pottery 2017 mark, for all the pieces in our Seasonal Collections.
  5. Financial advisors often recommend diversifying a portfolio with investment in high quality art. While investing in Ephraim’s highly collectible pottery you are also supporting the evolution of our mission – working collaboratively by hand, providing a living wage and sustainable model for artists.
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2017 Spring Collection – Limited Edition Designs

Spring is here! As the frozen landscape once again gives way to warmer days we joyfully celebrate some of the season’s most fleeting actors – a dramatic magnolia bloom, elusive nuthatch, delicate bluebell, humble crocus and emerging frog – with our limited edition 2017 Spring Collection. Available online March 1st – 31st, 2017.

Kevin Hicks throwing & sculpting the Southern Magnolia Vase – Limited Edition. Glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Ken Nekola throwing and sculpting the Where’s the Nuthatch Vase – Limited Edition. Glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Bonny Bluebells Vase – Limited Edition – Glazed by Allison Jelenchick. Thrown by Alek Schroeder & sculpted by Laura Klein.

Nodding Crocus Vase – Limited Edition – thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein & glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Mill Pond Frog Vase – Limited Edition – thrown by Kevin Hicks & Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein & glazed by Allison Jelenchick.

 

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20th Anniversary Fall Collection – Limited Edition Designs

In the making of the Harvest Moon

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Kevin Hicks throwing the Harvest Moon
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Laura Klein sculpting the Harvest Moon
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Jennifer Grelk glazing the Harvest Moon
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20th Anniversary Fall Collection Harvest Moon – Limited Edition $328

In the making of the Spider’s Tapestry

Video of Kevin Hicks throwing the Spider’s Tapestry

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Kevin Hicks sculpting the Spider’s Tapestry
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Jennifer Grelk glazing the Spider’s Tapestry
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20th Anniversary Fall Collection Spider’s Tapestry – Limited Edition $188

 In the making of the All Hallows’ Eve

Alek Schroeder throwing the All Hallows’ Eve
Laura Klein sculpting the All Hallows’ Eve
Jennifer Grelk glazing the All Hallows’ Eve
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20th Anniversary Fall Collection All Hallows’ Eve – Limited Edition $268

In the making of the Sticky Bear

Alek Schroeder throwing the Sticky Bear
Laura Klein sculpting the Sticky Bear
Allison Jelenchick glazing the Sticky Bear
20th Anniversary Fall Collection Sticky Bear – Limited Edition $328

In the making of the Farewell Vase

Kevin Hicks throwing the Farewell Vase
Leah Purisch glazing the Farewell Vase
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20th Anniversary Fall Collection Farewell Vase – Limited Edition $298
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20th Anniversary Summer Collection – Limited Edition Designs

In the Making of the Heirloom Raspberry

Alek Schroeder throwing the Heirloom Raspberry
Alek Schroeder throwing the Heirloom Raspberry
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Laura Klein sculpting the Heirloom Raspberry
Jennifer Grelk glazing the Heirloom Raspberry
Jennifer Grelk glazing the Heirloom Raspberry
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20th Anniversary Summer Collection Heirloom Raspberry – Limited Edition $188

In the Making of the Summer Blossom Platter

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Kevin Hicks throwing and sculpting the Summer Blossom Platter
Allison Jelenchick glazing the Summer Blossom Platter
Allison Jelenchick glazing the Summer Blossom Platter
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20th Anniversary Summer Collection Summer Blossom Platter – Limited Edition $248

In the Making of the Reflection Lantern

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Ken Nekola throws & sculpts each Reflection Lantern
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Ken Nekola throwing and sculpting the lid of a Reflection Lantern
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Becky Hansen glazing Reflection Lanterns in autumn reflections glaze
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20th Anniversary Summer Collection Reflection Lantern – Limited Edition $288

In the Making of the Creative Spirit

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Kevin Hicks throwing the Creative Spirit
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Laura Klein sculpting the Creative Spirit
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Jennifer Grelk glazing the Creative Spirit
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20th Anniversary Summer Collection Creative Spirit – Limited Edition $348

River Koi Vase: Achieving an Illusion of Light
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“We lose a great deal when we lose the sense and feeling for the sun. When all has been said, the adventure of the sun is the great natural drama by which we live, and not to have joy in it and awe of it, not to share in it, is to close a dull door on nature’s sustaining and poetic spirit.” -Henry Beston

As the artists in the studio develop new pieces, there sometimes exists a very subtle element that we work to achieve. In the case of our new River Koi Vase, we wanted to convey the illusion of filtered, directional sunlight cast on the koi fish. To achieve this effect sculptor, Laura Klein, and glazer, Jennifer Grelk, coordinated their efforts.

Many, many experimental versions of the River Koi Vase worked their way through the studio as these two artists refined the luminosity. In the realm of sculpting, some very specific elements enhance a feeling of light. The arcing cutout under the fish’s tail provides a view into the dark interior, visually forming a deep value that contrasts with the surrounding tones. Also, the raised areas of sculpted decoration above the koi’s eye, along the edge of its fin and the ridge of its back, make the glaze naturally pool and recede. Finally, Laura worked to imbue a strong sense of movement in the fish and the grass. The rigid rim of the vase contrasts with the flowing sculpture. Movement and light work hand-in-hand to convey to the viewer the perception of catching a fleeting glimpse of a beautiful koi in a sunny river.

Jennifer’s glaze design on this piece brings the subtle aspects of sunlight to life. Through many trials, she worked with various glaze applications. In this final version, tones of orange, pumpkin, olive and amber blend on the koi to make it appear both realistic and illuminated. Jennifer contrasts opaque, cool-toned and deep-value glaze on the background with semi-transparent, warm-tone, and light-value on the koi. The interplay between opacity and transparency especially imbues the fish with a strong luminosity. The areas of brighter yellow that break more intensely along the higher relief on the fish’s tail and more delicately on the head and fin features further enhance the illusion of warm sunlight.

We hope you enjoy this wonderful piece as much as we do at the studio. The River Koi Vase represents one of our most sublime uses of artistic elements to pay homage to sunlight, “nature’s sustaining and poetic spirit.”

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Kevin Hicks throwing the River Koi Vase
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Laura Klein sculpting the River Koi Vase
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Jennifer Grelk glazing the River Koi Vase