day to day in the studio

Hello and welcome!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice

I love the light this time of year. On a recent visit to Duke Chapel we caught the light on the stained glass at just the right moment, beautiful! Happy Solstice! It is a good time to take a moment to offer up gratitude for the gifts in your life. Thank you all for a great year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Little Bird Tray and Eye Bowls

I've been adding some new work to my Holiday Happiness Sale which will continue until December 14th.  It is getting very cold here, colder than usual so it is feeling a lot like Christmas! Happy Holiday no matter what your doing, joy and peace for all!

Cathy Kiffney, ceramics
Little Bird Trays, Cathy Kiffney
Cathy Kiffney, ceramics
Eye Ball Bowls, Cathy Kiffney

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh Joy, Holiday Happiness Sale

Today 12 noon EST my online Oh Joy, Holiday Happiness Sale starts today for 10 days! Please visit my online Etsy shop for many new selections all offered with a 15% discount. I hope you might find something for a special gift for someone special or for yourself!
I know it can be a bit tricky picking out something special online so if you have any questions at all,  please don't hesitate to ask, I'd love to hear from you!

Etsy Shop

Etsy shop

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Holiday Party at Craven Allen Gallery

The wonderful Craven Allen Gallery (Durham, NC)  is having a party to kick off their Holiday Show! Sat. Nov. 22. 6-8. This is a fine group of LOCAL, talented artists and the nicest gallery around and the nicest people! Support Local-- it matters!
I'll have a group of pieces in the show, including Shy One (elephant) and Forget-Me-Not (whale).

Shy One, Cathy Kiffney

Forget-Me-Not, Cathy Kiffney

Friday, October 31, 2014

It's show time!

This weekend and next weekend! Nov. 1-2 and 8-9, here is my email invitation. Come out if you can, hot cider and a studio filled with goodies!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In the last post you can see the pre-fired pieces, here they are after the glaze firing. Whale, Elephant and Crow.  Three out of four, for some reason Swan did not make it, . I've been having trouble with this clay batch. The trouble is cooling cracks. I am very disappointed because Swan was my favorite and I spend hours on these pieces! Not good. I am switching clay asap.

Forget Me Not, oval platter 16" length, Cathy Kiffney
Elephant, oval platter 16" tall, Cathy Kiffney
Cosmic Crow, oval platter 16" length, Cathy Kiffney

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Elephant, whale, swan and crow

On the table this last week, soon to be fired. These oval plates are about 18" long.

Cathy Kiffney

Cathy Kiffney

Cathy Kiffney

Cathy Kiffney

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crook's Corner show is up and ready

Yesterday our show was installed at Crook's Corner. It was so nice having someone else do it! I think they did a great job. If my memory is right this will be my 30 year anniversary of my first show at Crook's.

Cathy Kiffney and Mark Brown September show at Crook's Corner, Chapel Hill, NC
Crook's Corner is a nationally recognized amazing restaurant. It's won numerous awards including the James Beard America's Classic Award for "Timeless appeal, beloved for quality of food that reflects the character of their community."  Located at the vortex of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, look for the beautiful garden on the street, you can't miss it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Frisky Rabbit

Rabbit and Tulips, 12" diam. Cathy Kiffney
There is just a hint of fall in the air, cool and crisp this morning.
I've been having trouble with my clay body and those pieces I started about a month ago had some techical problems. :(
The doily pieces came out of the kiln with a few surprises. CRACKS! Thankfully three from the series worked, here is one of them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crook's Corner Show

Cathy Kiffney will exhibit new ceramics and her husband, Mark Brown will exhibit new paintings at James Beard Award-winning Crook's Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, during the month of September, 2014.
Cathy will be showing new ceramic platters with swan, owl, rabbit and flower motifs in light, bright colors.
Mark will be showing colorful abstract paintings based on open books in celebration of the annual Crook's Corner Book Prize, which honors a debut novel set in the American South.
This exhibition marks the 30th anniversary of Cathy's first show at Crook's, The Cat's Night Out. She was the bartender at the original Crooks Corner BBQ in 1978- 79, and again with owners Gene Hamer and Bill Neal in 1982- 83.
Crook's Corner
610 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
(919) 929-7643
 919 929 7643 - Open Tuesday - Sunday at 5:30pm
Sunday Brunch from 10:30am until 2:00pm 
Cathy Kiffney
Mark Brown, Chapel Hill, NC

Saturday, July 19, 2014

So many birds

I've been trying to pinpoint when I first started making birds. Going back through some old gallery notes I see some listed in 1992. So that means at least a year or two before that could have been the start.

Clay wall birds, 2014, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics
I will go back and look at old images (not digital) and get some scanned to post. Until then, here are some new birds!
Ceramic wall bird, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics
The places some of my birds have landed in-- Australia, France, Ireland, Turkey,

Ceramic wall bird, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics
 England, Virgin Islands, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Spain. California, Michigan, Texas, Maine,

Ceramic wall bird, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics
 Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Orleans,

Ceramic wall bird, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics
New York,  New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, oh well, actually every state except possibly a few in the mid west. I guess these little birdies just get around! Just thinking of this makes me very happpppy! :)

Ceramic wall bird, Cathy Kiffney Ceramics

 I've listed these on my Etsy site, please visit! Visit my Facebook page for info about free shipping!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Texture impressions in clay

Using textures to press into clay is one of the extremely fun things to do with clay and a technique I return to over and over. I use my own hand-made stamps, antique wood-block stamps and found objects and you can even purchase texture mats and rollers just for this--the possibilities are endless.  The effects are instant and addictive, the challenge is do something with it to make it your own.

I came across a huge sale of doilies and could not resist.

old doilies to use for clay texture.

Cathy Kiffney
 Pressed the doilies into the clay and painted colored slips on top.
process, Cathy Kiffney Studio
 I took the slip soaked doily and flipped it over onto the next slab of clay to press that color into the clay. Then painted it with a contrasting colored slip.
process, Cathy Kiffney Studio
I  jumped in to the process and did the most obvious-- not the most original treatment but oh, so much fun!-- And I needed a brake from challenges.

But then I was at a loss as to what to do with the beautiful textures. I decided to get back to basics and began carving into the texture my old friends, the owls.

Process, Cathy Kiffney

For variety sake I used an addition technique by adding a sculpted rabbit and flowers. For the Fox piece I used a combination of carving and sculpted additions.

Jumping rabbit and tulips
process, Cathy Kiffney Studio
Mr. Fox and falling leaves
process, Cathy Kiffney Studio
 ...and of course, the birds....

ceramic wall hanging birds, Cathy Kiffney

ceramic wall hanging birds, Cathy Kiffney

wall birds, Cathy Kiffney

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Off we go to Piedmont Craftsmen

Group of clay wall birds going to Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery. Cathy Kiffney
I've just sent off a new group of ceramic wall birds to Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery in Winston-Salem, NC. These, plus a few extra will make their debut next week.
Rather than press texture into the wet clay, I've kept these smooth on the surface and used a variety of underglazes and glazes to concentrate on painting the surface. The flat surface works better for mark making. I am pretty happy with the way they turned out.
 I'm going back and forth with this. The last group I made has textures, all those nooks and crannies call out for a glaze that will meld down into the textures. But then I miss out on the mark-making fun!  

Friday, June 6, 2014

The little ones

Today I was reminded to be grateful for the small stuff. Whynot Pottery blog talked about the importance of the small works for potters. Sure, we love the show stopping larger works, but the small stuff sustains us over the years
How many little birds have I made over the past 25 years? I will try to figure that out soon, but it is a very high number!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Birds and textures

Happy to receive a order for some new birds so I am back to work on a favorite series-- good opportunity to incorporate some of that tatting I scored last week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spring Dream

Detail of ceramic mural, Spring Dream. Cathy Kiffney

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” Rachel Carson
Detail of ceramic mural. Cathy Kiffney

hand made, carved glazed ceramic tile mural. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


ceramic platter, Cathy Kiffney
Interesting to compare before firing to after firing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Here she is, finished platter

We had a wonderful weekend sale, it was so nice to see some of you! Lots of sunshine and lots of sales, including the piece I showed you last week. Remember filigree owl? Here she is finished.

Owl and Filigree, hand made ceramic platter. 14" diam. Cathy Kiffney

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The universe in a bowl

Fruit bowls or bird baths, some of the new work for the show this weekend.

Cathy Kiffney Ceramics

Cathy Kiffney Ceramics

Cathy Kiffney Ceramics

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