The Creative Process
I’m driven by an ongoing desire to learn and grow
Learning is a lifelong pursuit: it's lots of exploration, with tiny bits of discovery. Those discoveries are steps, not destinations. It's not where we stop: it's the new starting point.
After being exposed to a multitude of accomplished artists working in various styles, mediums, and themes, Chris’s perception of art began to expand. Many things that began to resonate with him continue to inform his work today: primitive art, abstract expressionism, minimalism, Eastern art, architecture, music, craftsmanship and more. As the years go by the list grows along with his perspective. How we process it all is a purely individual thing.
Every series in my portfolio is united by central themes. Vessels, which may not be part of the same series individually, are tied together by a shared relationship. The wheel thrown or handbuilt form and the surface of the clay. The clay vessel has existed through thousands of years of human history; the concept of a vessel as a subject is a rich well to draw from. Because of that history most of us, without even realizing it can determine that this piece of pottery is either pre-historic, Egyptian, American Indian, Chinese etc. So on a very basic level if I were to throw a typical American Indian form on the wheel, embellish it with Chinese characters and then fire it in a primitive pit in the ground…you might not be able to put your finger on it immediately, but it would certainly evoke some memories.
I love that notion of communicating visually through association and the possibilities that exist when bringing influences like music, architecture, history, all the different forms of art to bear…are seemingly endless.
Firing Clay Pieces Is Its Own Art Form
For wall pieces or thrown vessels, Chris selectively utilizes three main clay firing techniques, for the unique aesthetic qualities they each lend to the piece.
Low-Temperature Salt Firing
Chris lays out various combustible materials and metals on the clay surface. The finished piece is a result of the selection and location of materials placed on the slab and their individual reactions to burning, where and how slabs are stacked in the kiln, how much salt is introduced during firing, and how much oxygen is present during the burn.
The piece is placed in a pit in the ground, or 55 gallon drum and then further surrounded with sawdust, hay, branches or grasses. A fire is then built over the top of these materials for a very slow burn. Depending on how the fire burns, the movement of air around the piece will push and swirl the fire, resulting in different colors or sheens, or rich black colors where oxygen was low.
Chris uses commercial underglazes and glazes applied using different techniques to create specific effects. The pieces are then typically fired to cone 06.