"I discovered clay as a young child in the tide pools of the Maine coast, or perhaps I should say that it discovered me. We would go with pails at low tide to gather snails, starfish, crabs and the cast off shells of native mussels and clams.
Tide pools were a source of wonder and changed from tide to tide all summer long.
During one of these explorations, I was surprised to see a slick gray substance on the bottom of the pool. I gathered some into my little tin bucket and brought it home to see what I could do with it.
To my delight, and that of my dolls, I found that I could pinch it and poke it into shapes. These shapes, once baked in the sun, became my dolls' first dish set. Later, I would paint these little dishes with poster paints, and delight in their simplicity and usefulness.
In the summer of 1968 I attended my first pottery class at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C. Here I discovered the thrill of putting this slick material on a potter's wheel and making it grow into a cup or a bowl, or if less fortunate, turn into a mass of mud before my eyes. Paulus Berensohn taught me how to pinch this material and make it grow into soft and sensuous shapes.
I have been very fortunate to have had many gifted teachers over the years. My first teacher, the tide pools, sent me on to be instructed and nurtured by Cynthia Bringle, Paulus Berensohn, Paul Soldner, Andrea Gill and other known and unknown artists.
I have learned over these last 60 years that clay is my perpetual teacher, as it has led me on my own journey of self discovery. Having begun my career making dishes for dolls, I continue with the same thread of child's play. I find that I am still pinching and poking at clay, but instead of dishes I am making whimsical and colorful animal sculptures.
It is my hope that these pieces will speak to the child inside of all who view them. The majority of my pieces are raku fired. The process of raku is what I call a dance with fire. It allows me to be spontaneous in the firing, explore a large range of colors and textures, and, most importantly, provides an intimate experience of the transformational fire.
Without the fire, clay is only dirt. With the fire, this humble material is only limited by the imagination of it's handler.
In the summer of 2000, I moved my home and studio to Weaverville, N.C., which is adjacent to Asheville. Every day I sing my praises to the beautiful mountains that surround me, and in the summer, I still slip away to pay homage to the tide pools of the Maine coast. "
Don't miss our raku show that opens Friday, May 9 and runs through the end of June. Read more about it by clicking here ...... and purchase Chris's whistles by visiting our website ........ and we'll ship one right out!