Found roaming the wilds of Aurora Avenue in Seattle, home of Kri Kri Studio.
Vibrant magenta blossoms invade the weeds this this time of year thriving in an environment that seems to provide little assistance. Bringing them in adds life to still shots of bud vases. Must remember: I am shooting vases, not flowers. Natures beauty far surpasses my simple pieces. Yet they do have their place. Now a pink glow radiates from this cluster of vases brightening my day.
The table had been lurking around the family for years, employed as a project table for anything that involved paint, glue or in other words, anything messy. But, it just happened to be the perfect size for the nook at Kri Kri Studio. Of course, the first thing I did to it, once it was in place, was to cover it with a perky, oilcloth table cloth. And so it was for many years.
Recently, I was preparing for a photo-shoot of the black Eve vase. The nook is a perfect spot. I’ve suspended a rail on the wall for hanging a back drop and hung plastic film over the windows to diffuse the light. Set up also involves ironing the back drops. In the process of all this, the perky table cloth slipped a bit more than usual and I caught a glimpse of the table below. That crusty surface, evolved from years of use was now revealed a a rich patina, perfectly rustic and so inspiring that I spent more of my day shooting than planned.
Work became play as I pulled out my VIT dinnerware, then, added bud vases and vibrant fuchsia sweet peas picked in my ally.
It was a big push to get Kri Kri Studio to the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles. Over the course of one year, I built the range of VIT ceramic lamps up from one model to five and added the Eve vase to the vase collection.
But developing and producing products is only part of the picture. I also needed a booth to display my wares. It needed to be designed, built, shipped to the show and set up on site. This time around I was on a pretty tight budget and challenged myself to get the job done spending as little money as possible by re-using as many materials as I could.
My friends Lauren Grossman and Jil Smith shared some valuable input that helped me to arrive at a solution for displaying my products. I also got inspiration from the postcard that my husband, Nigel Foster, designed for the show.
From just down the street at Terra Bella Flowers I scored two, thick 10′ long 2 x 10 planks. These became shelves for the lamps on the back wall. Just by cutting down wheel barrow handles a few inches, I instantly had some shapely supports for the rather substantial shelving. I used canvas salvaged from a previous display to cover the shelves and re-painted them. Smaller pieces of wood for the side wall shelves were easier to find. These I covered with a re-purposed straw blind from IKEA which added texture and visual variety. Bits and pieces from my tableware booths at NYIGF were re-used to build the freestanding box that doubled as a storage compartment. Perhaps the “VIT” letters had seen better days, but, I left them on the canvas for one last go.
A lot of sweat equity went into this booth, but in the end, the only things I needed to purchase were brackets and screws, wheel barrow handles and paint. I did opt to buy a gray sisal rug with dark trim instead of renting the standard one. The cost was about the same but the resulting look was much classier.
I will also add that I found my pallet (free) in the industrial district of Seattle. After it came back, I recycled it easily by sticking it outside the studio with a “free” sign on it.
When it was all over, I felt the booth displayed both lamps and vases to good advantage. Visitors stepped in and were genuinely enthusiastic about my products. Now I have connections to follow-up on and am thinking forward, imagining what my booth will be like next year.
The Gourd lamp is the latest shape in my collection of handmade ceramic lamps from Kri Kri Studio. This June they will debut at the dwell on design 2014 show in LA along with the VIT ceramics range of vases.
The form has a slightly irregular perfection, the result of being built up by hand using the coil and pinch technique. This method of construction also allows for traces of the artist’s touch to remain in the softly textured surface. Large, ripe and full of life, the form adds warmth to a room, especially in juicy coral-red. With each available color the personality and mood of the piece changes. Considered in gray, the Gourd lamp is feminine and elegant. However, in yellow it is positively buoyant! Jade green, taupe and Danish blue are also offered.
Creating this collection has been a refreshing change from producing my tableware. I feel I am returning to my roots as a sculptor and find that the lamps are a wonderful vehicle for expressing forms. They are also a pleasing way to combine art and functionality.
With a simple off white linen shade to compliment the hand drawn white stripes, the Gourd lamp stands 22″ tall x 15″ wide.
Like fresh flowers, new colors announce “Spring is here”. In Seattle the forsythia has nearly run its course. Now its flowering cherry trees that are exploding into soft pink clouds. In the studio familiar vase shapes are emerging from the kiln in a lovely rich pastel blue.
Not only does this new color do a fantastic job as a stand alone shade, it injects fresh energy to the palette of standard VIT colors. When combined with red and gray the look is sporty and very French.
Replace gray with yellow and renew your love of primary classics.
Pairing the new blue with jade green evokes either a tropical water vibe or the gentle calm of a forest floor. The colors are clean. Very “spring”.
Release your own Spring energies: clip, combine, create!
With the “Chocko” lamp base, soft geometry and a subtly dimpled surface are combine to create a functional, modern piece with a friendly appeal. The thin white stripes are raised. A simple linen shade continues the textured elements. This is the newest addition to the VIT ceramics range of lamps.
Form takes the fore front in this grouping of vases where I have let the warm gray and taupe seduce me. When the element of color is reduced, these simple shapes become elegant. The effect is calm. Filled with white flowers these handmade, contemporary vessels add gentle beauty to a home environment.
Debra Prinzing recently visited Kri Kri Studio looking for a "slow vase". She is the author of Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm and The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers.
Read here about her new mission to establish a slow flowers network. Come to the North West Flower and Garden Show this week to see her creation in a VIT ceramic vase at the bouquet competition! Or, join Debra in a seminar.
Over the past several years, while doing media interviews and speaking to audiences about American-grown flowers, I continually heard these questions: “Where can I find American flowers?” and “How can I find florists who I trust will sell me locally-grown flowers in their designs?”
It became apparent to me that people want locally-grown, domestic flowers. But it is challenging to find American-grown flowers amidst the sea of unlabeled imported ones. It’s also hard to discover those very special, dedicated designers committed to using flowers from local farms or flowers grown in nearby states, such as during the off season.
So I’ve been inspired to launch the SLOWFLOWERS.COM online directory as a one-stop resource for consumers in search of florists who guarantee the origin of the flowers they use. In addition to florists, the site will feature studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers who are committed to American grown flowers.
It’s simple. When you contact a florist, flower shop or designer on SLOWFLOWERS.COM, they make a commitment to you, the flower consumer, that their flowers are truly homegrown.
You should be able to know the origins of the flowers you order for a loved one. You should be assured that the bouquet you carry down the aisle was grown by an American flower farmer. You should know that jobs are being created and nurtured in your community through your floral purchases.
Right now, I am raising contributions on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to complete the web development and database for Slowflowers.com. To date, supporters of American grown flowers have pledged more than $13,500 to the project. Learn more here.
How does the site work?
• When it launches later this winter, the user-friendly directory allows consumers to search by City, State or Zip Code, coast-to-coast. You can also choose a category (Retail Florist, Studio Florist, Supermarket Floral Department, Weddings/Events, Flower CSAs or Flower Farm).
• Depending on your search categories, you will see a list of the Slow Flowers participants in the specific area of the country you seek. You will find studios and retailers who specialize in green weddings, weekly subscriptions and eco-floral design. You’ll discover local flower farms that sell direct to the DIY consumer. You will be assured that the flowers you buy are domestic in origin, grown by American flower farmers.
• When you contact a Slow Flowers vendor, be sure to tell them that you followed a link on this site – and that you plan on posting a customer review of their services.
• As the creator of Slowflowers.com, I do not take any cut or percentage fee from purchases. This site is free to flower consumers everywhere.
Debra Prinzing is a writer, speaker, outdoor living expert and leading advocate for American flower farming. She is the author of Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013) and The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers(St. Lynn’s Press, 2012). Floral_Competition_Signs_2014_slowflowers
…mulling over the word “fabric”, which means factory in Swedish and suggests fabrication in English. In English, fabric means cloth and can imply weaving. These ideas circulate in my mind as I unload my latest bisque firing. The “fabrik”, ie. the small factory that is Kri Kri Studio, is back in full gear since taking a break over the winter holidays. With just a short amount of time to fill a large order for the Seattle Art Museum’s gift shop, I have been “fabricating” everyday since I returned from the UK. Kri Kri bowls and “Smile cups” will complement the upcoming Miro exhibit which opens there in February. Also in the works are vases for shops thinking ahead to spring and a push to finish all the heart plates so that they will be ready ship and to serve up some love on Valentine’s Day.
The more I think about it, the more it reminds me of the year I spent weaving in Sweden. By varying colors and shifting shapes, I am weaving together the seasons with ceramics. Over the course of the year a textured tapestry of wares is fabricated. Images of food and fashion inspire me as I flip through magazines on my lunch break, munching my salad and feasting on fantasy. I ponder over which glazes will make particular dishes most appetizing. I think that photo shoot in Cuba has precisely the mood I would like to capture. Is it just that particular shade of yellow which gives it that feeling? Then, the factory calls me back to repeat the production cycle. I am stimulated to continue approaching my work with enthusiasm for process and to be creative. It’s OK. I love it. This is my passion!
It is really easy to make a classy statement with the VIT bowl vase. Short in stature and full in body, it happily hosts a proper bouquet. It is also the perfect size for a 4″, potted plant. (5″ tall x 7.5″ wide)
Potted cyclamens can be found in almost every supermarket this time of year. I chose the white one because it was so pure and pristine. I plopped the pot straight into the Danish blue vase for an instant and elegant result. An equally pleasing combination had white flowers in a taupe vase with graceful, snow bright buds hovering above deep green foliage. Very uplifting!
A pink cyclamen at the store had pale blossoms, hinting of cerise, and was ever so tempting. Those dainty petals beckoned me like sirens’ whispers. But, in the end it was two plants with white flowers that came home with me. I kept one for myself. The second found a nesting place in a jade green VIT bowl vase and went on as a hostess gift. The plants may be re-planted in the garden when spring arrives. The recipient will however, will have her own bowl vase to play with, to plop pots of plants into or to fill with proper bouquets.