Sunday, November 1, 2009
Instructor Introduction: Chris Chaney
Please tell us a little about yourself; your name, background, education, and a fun fact or two.
Hi, my name is Chris Chaney. I spent my early college career doing all kinds of art, but ultimately received my BFA in ceramics from Northern Illinois University in 2001. Go Huskies! Fun fact...had I not studied art, I probably would have gone into aerospace engineering. Really.
How long have you been working with clay and how did you get started?
Um, I've been working in clay for about 10 years, give or take. While taking a break from university, I took a pottery course at a community college. Once I touched the clay, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Very serendipitous. I was extremely lucky to finish my college career by studying under a very demanding yet supportive ceramics professor at NIU.
What are your influences, both inside and outside of the clay world?
My influences change with the seasons. I look at everything from historical to contemporary pottery. Nothing is off limits. Currently I am studying the teawares of China, Japan, and Korea. Needless to say I'm making a lot of teapots and teacups...Outside of ceramics I look to military, aviation, and aerospace history and images for inspiration. I'm also a big fan of custom cars and hot rods as well as tattoo culture.
Do you sell your work? If so, how can one find it?
I sell my work periodically through craft sales or the odd holiday sale. I'm currently building an Etsy site which will create another outlet for direct to customer sales. I also sell thru Dancing Loon Gallery in Michigan during the spring/summer/fall seasons. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for sales queries.
What advice can you give to students of the ceramic arts?
Practice, practice, and more practice. It's the only way you are gonna get better. Trust me on this one.
How do you spend your time when not working with clay?
I take care of my 1+yr old daughter during the day, which is more than a full time job. I also manage the Lillstreet soda firing program and am the blogmeister. Every now and then I'll go for a bike ride.
Any parting words?
Ceramics is pretty fun, but can definitely be frustrating. Just remember that we all (read: your instructors) started at the same place. Stick with it! Learning to work with clay is a lifetime endeavor. Just when you think you have it down, the next exciting technique will come along!