Kristy King lives at Katchkie Farm with Farmer Bob Walker. Her passion, in addition to her family and her role as part of the farm team, is a life-long connection to the creative art of pottery. She has just finished producing signature pieces for The Norm at the Brooklyn Museum and sells her work in Columbia County. Her pottery reflects her environment; her story and inspiration follow.
Before moving forward, I'd like to give you a glimpse into my studio, so you can have an idea of where I work every day and see a bit of what I'm working on now.
My first piece was a clay bird I made in the third grade; I still have it! Then, I began making pottery in high school as an elective course.
The clay bird I made in the 3rd grade.
From there, my interests and tastes evolved and I created decorative works (pots, vases, and bottles). During graduate school, my thesis focused on the integral and intimate relationship between human beings and the earth and this was highlighted in a body of sculptural works that I created.
After graduating from college at Cal. State Long Beach, I moved eight times between 1991 and 2013; Alaska in the summers and Washington, Tennessee, Arkansas, California, and Florida in the winters. I finally moved to New York in 2013 to be with my high school sweetheart, Kathckie Farm's Farmer Bob! I’ve remained in New York year-round since. Each of these locations, and their landscapes, influenced the pieces I made.
As I attempted to connect to each unique environment, I found myself connecting through the clay. I dug clay out of the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN, caves in Mountain Home, AR, the Lost River in Yakutat, AK, and various places around Jacksonville, FL. This passion for digging my own clay is what kept me working throughout the years especially as I traveled to Alaska. Yakutat is a remote, landlocked village, so it simply would have been too expensive for me to have clay flown into Yakutat on a regular basis. The pots I made during this time were influenced by a pretty basic mantra: “If I have it, I’m going to use it.” In a few more words, I used whatever materials I had available to me to create my pottery and this often involved the soil of wherever I was at the time.
While in Alaska, I felt like I was creating something precious from a piece of Yakutat. The clay was local but the pieces also depicted features of the town’s natural habitat, like salmon in the Lost River, and I decorated the pottery with sea glass, beachwood and sea grass.
One of my Yakutat pieces, finished with local beachwood.
in Florida, I decorated with shells that I found while exploring the
My Florida pots, topped with shells I found on the beach.
My sister Karen, who also lived in Florida and I created pieces that enhanced each other’s work, her paintings would complement my pottery and vice versa.
Karen's mural and my vase in Florida.
Since moving to New York, I have made one work from Katchkie clay, but unfortunately the clay is very rocky so it's difficult to work with.
The vase I made using Katchkie Farm clay.
I buy locally prepared commercial clay now and the projects I’m working on for The Norm have been inspired, in part, by the stacks of turquoise blue shipping crates – the same crates that store art when not on display at the Brooklyn museum – that make up one of the restaurant’s walls.
The Norm's blue crate wall.
So far, I’ve made a snack dish, egg dish, and oyster plate.
For Great Performances, the Design Team and I are still in the brainstorming stage, Liz has been a very strong inspiration for these pieces; Liz and the GP way of bringing local ingredients into the final product resonates with my mantra as well. I hope to do the same with the pottery I make for Great Performances.
A prototype of what I'd like to create for GP.
If you’d like to see more of my work, I’m selling it at the Kinderhook Farmers Market, Lili and Loo in Hudson, and the Broken Mold in Troy. Or, you can always make a trip to The Norm; Chef Saul's Chicharrones Al Pastor sounds pretty good to me right about now!