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{Inspiration} Fisher Price Toys & Chris Theiss

{Chris in his studio – 2012 }
There has been so much inspiration that I’ve wanted to share in the last few months but deadlines, mom responsibilities, and studio time have been my top priority. However, the art making of my studio neighbor is a constant, creative wonder that I’m lucky enough to witness daily. There is so much work that needs to be seen and today seemed like a good day to post. Chris Theiss is one of those artists that is dedicated, talented, hard working, disciplined, knowledgable, and completely underexposed. He teaches ceramics at Western Washington University and at Skagit Valley College while holding a design job (designing toys no less) as well. Juggling three jobs and a family hasn’t stopped him from finding time to make his work, although it isn’t easy. He hunkers down and works even on those days when I’m sure he’d rather be sleeping. He’s the real deal…
{Oh No Pinky & Perky Loves to Spoon – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Devil Dog – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Puffy Takes a Bad Turn- whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
As you may know from past posts, I love Vintage Fisher price toys. They hit a nostalgic chord with me and before I knew it, I had a little collection of toys lining up on my studio shelves. It wasn’t long before I noticed toys missing from their spot in my studio – only to find them in Chris’ studio. Chris started working with vintage toy imagery in his work – which not only am I excited about on an aesthetic level, but in my mind, it justifies my crazy need to collect and search out these vintage toy gems.
{Doctor Doodle – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Work Play – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
Along with his love of vintage toys, Chris’ ceramic pieces incorporate his interest in interior
spaces, drawing, and story telling as well by utilizing a technique called sgraffito. Sayer’s room is a favorite space in the house and you can see glimpses of it pop up often in Chris’ work. 
Last year, Chris was a part of a show at Red Star Studios called He Said, She Said with ceramic artist Kathy King. The show is reviewed in June’s issue of Ceramics Art and Perception Magazine and as if that wasn’t cool enough, Chris’ work is on the front page!  Nice work Chris – I’m so glad to let the creative energy that you exude wash over me.

{Inspiration} a tiny ferry ride & studio visit…

Recently, during an opening at hutch studio, I had the opportunity to meet a pretty fantastic woman named Sue Roberts. She was patiently waiting to ask me questions during a thread drawing demo & introduced herself- right before she had to dash off to catch a teeny ferry to Guemes Island. It wasn’t too long after she left, that I actually realized that I was a fan of her sculptures & had seen some of her work in many galleries over the years. Since then, both Chris & I have had the chance to hang out with her a bit. She is a ceramicist/sculptor as well as Chris so their paths have been crossing often lately. 
Chris’ dad is visiting from Rhode Island right now & we are always looking for a cool things to do when he is here & Sue had just happened to invite us over for a studio visit – which was perfect timing!  We all hopped in the car, took a itty bitty ferry, & met Sue at her studio (Tower Arts Studio) for a tour. 

She & Chris talked clay talk & I visually took in Sue’s world. My eyes immediately honed in on a medical model of the body on her top shelf & I pointed out to Sayer.  He, of course, went bonkers (as he is still obsessed with the body) – she was so great & let him play with it! He and Grandpa Whitebeard (what Sayer calls Chris’ dad) worked on that body for a really long time- the parts are much easier to take out than put back in apparently. I then had a chance to just walk around & check out all of the sites…

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all had a wonderful time yesterday! After our studio tour, Sue took us on a site seeing adventure of the island including a frolic on the beach – all after serving us handmade chocolates (she has a little chocolate business too!) & coffee. She is one talented & fun gal! Thanks Sue- Sayer is still talking about the medical body (I think he even dreamed about it)! 

Hope you have a fun weekend with lots of cool adventures. Any plans?

Photo Credit: Artwork: Sue Roberts