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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.
 
 

{Cardboard} Give me shelter part II…

Part II of Friday’s post
Not only did Chris have work in the “Shelter”  show at the Anchor Art Space, but he also had a little booth representing the gallery at the local art festival where he constructed a cardboard house in two days, out of small pieces of cardboard, in front of curious spectators. He documented the process in a few instagram shots below. 

Sayer & I visited him working after we stopped by the gallery that weekend to say hi & help a bit – along with finding a little bit of shady shelter (it was actually very hot that weekend). It was so much fun watching the two of them work on this space. I know Sayer has plans for where it’s going to go at home when the festival is finished…. 
It’s so cool that Chris made this with just cardboard- no glue gun or anything. He said because of time, he had to use a few pieces of tape for the roof- but other than that he just notched the cardboard pieces together. The most magical part, is the little mini houses that you saw in the first picture, were strung inside the house when it was finished. 


I always find it so interesting to see how Chris approaches things This project is a good example of how his mind works. All in a few days a cool shelter was built (using one material) – and in about 15 minutes it was taken down & is in a pile in our basement waiting for the perfect opportunity to be constructed again. Another funny thing is the wonderful advertising this house was for Seattle Pottery Supply. Lots of boxes of clay were used for this project as well. I think Cardboard Man lived up to his name on this project, don’t you? 

{Anchor Art Space} Give me “Shelter”…

Last Friday there was an art opening at a fairly new, local gallery called, Anchor Art Space. Chris had three pieces in the show that were all made out of cardboard, having to do with the shows theme “shelter” (they’re in the front windows). Chris & I attended the opening ourselves – yes we had a date night! But on Sunday, I took Sayer to see the show while Chris worked down the street in a booth (representing Anchor Art Space) at the Anacortes Art Festival. I’ll post more about that tomorrow, but for now I wanted to give you a tour of the gallery through the eyes of a 4 1/2 year old. The curators of the exhibit & active board members, Natalie Niblack & Ann Reid, are also art educators – so the gallery has a very child friendly atmosphere. 

Photos by Polly Purvis & “Quilted Cave” by Julia Haack

Jasmine, also the educator at the Museum of Northwest Art, shows Sayer how to work a piece by architect, Tom Theisen. She was very helpful in explaining the art to Sayer along with encouraging him to explore & observe at his own pace. 
Artwork by Eduardo & Britta Johnson

Tricia S Stackle & Andrew Kline 
work by David Hall 

The newest piece that Chris finished was actually inspired by Sayer’s room. The imagery was derived completely by Sayer’s things. The piece was put together at the space for the first time – a pop up sculpture of sorts & Sayer hadn’t seen it yet. This was his first sighting & he loved it! After observing it from all angles, he wanted to document it with a drawing.   

So he drew…. 

... & drew… 

& drew some more.

It was so much fun to see the show with Sayer & to see the curiosity & admiration in his eyes when he saw Chris’ piece. I highly recommend seeing an art gallery/ museum with your kids- it’s really quite refreshing. 

links:
Anchor Art Space – www.anchorartspace.org
Chris Theiss – Check out photos of the set up of his pieces here

Happy Friday! Hope your weekend is full of creativity & interesting sights!

{Inspiration} Mr. Sgraffito has tea…

Chris has been super busy in the studio lately. With lots of new shows on the horizon & the big ceramic conference, NCECA, being held in Seattle- his studio has been buzzing. I wanted to give you a glimpse of a few of the new pieces that he just finished.  Do you ever wonder how someone like Mr. Sgraffito (formerly Cardboard man) would make himself a spot of tea? I picture it being brewed in this “radio flyer teapot” & sipped thoughtfully from this “staged kitchen cup & saucer”.
Chris uses his surroundings as inspiration for his imagery & the teapot imagery comes directly comes from Sayer’s wagon, chalk, & playing cards near his chalkboard in the hallway. Sayer noticed that right away & is quite taken with this piece. The tea cup & saucer imagery is taken from the interior spaces of hutch studio. These both are ceramic & show off Chris’ love of the sgraffito technique. These pieces were just dropped off at the Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park for the upcoming show “Locally Grown: Thrown & Hand-Built Clay Show”, opening on the 3rd of March. If you are local, you should drop by!

So, that’s what is happening in the downstairs studio – when I’m in the upstairs studio… & Sayer is catching some ZZZZZs. 

Art & Ferry Rides…


A few years ago, Chris met a really interesting couple- they became regular visitors at hutch studio & fans of Chris’ “fine art” as well as his fun creations for hutch. This couple recently opened up an art gallery called Simon Mace Gallery in a small, coastal town about 2 hours away- which includes a ferry ride. The Simon Mace Gallery now represents Chris’ work & hosted an art opening this last weekend for a new show called, Tasting Menu: Second Course. This show included 4 of Chris’ pieces along with featuring 5 additional Simon Mace artists. We were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for the day to attend the opening in person- while our kiddo enjoyed a sleep over with his grandparents. Admittedly, I turned into a shutterbug- wanting to capture Chris, his work, & the day. Here are some highlights… 

Chris had 2 of his ceramic/ sgraffito pieces & 2 of his gesso on paper pieces. From a distance, you couldn’t really tell the difference between the medium used & all of them really engaged viewers. I loved being behind the camera & listening people’s conversations & trying to capture their delight in the visual adventure Chris’ interior spaces took them on. The gallery was hoppin’ all day & into the evening- the town was also buzzing. There was a “first Saturday” art walk scheduled for the evening & you could tell people took the ferry over from Seattle just to participate. After we hung out at the gallery a bit in the afternoon, we had a chance to cruise the town before the opening. 

We lingered in an underground coffee shop & spent time in a very cool, used & out of print bookstore. I was in heaven… I really could’ve spent all day there. Oh, did I find some treasures… but that’s a different post. 

Back to the Simon Mace Gallery – the flow of people was constant & the energy was infectious. It was a really fun end to a fantastic day. We then hopped on the ferry and headed home. I’d say it was a pretty great way to start the new year…

{Everyday Inspriation} Just a Saturday Night…

Our Saturday nights really haven’t changed that much since our grad school days – after Sayer goes to bed anyway. Which is pretty cool really. We usually work in our perspective studios & meet up every now & then – throughout the night. It’s particularly fun when we have deadlines or creative projects in the works. There is an energy that I really enjoy. Chris has had some shows & extra projects that he has been working on lately & had a vision that he need help executing last night. What I love, is that I was able to completely understand what his vision was. I took these photos of him in his studio last night… or hmmm, this morning I should say. His pieces that he is surrounded by are both made with clay with a technique called sgraffito & cardboard with b&w gesso. All & all – it was a pretty fun  & producive Saturday night. Hope you are having a great weekend! 

{Fun Event} whirligigs & thread…

T-Pot Whirlygig
Two years ago, Hutch Studio opened it’s doors to the public. It was the Annual Arts Alive weekend in La Conner & Hutch Studio celebrated the opening with art demonstrations all day- I happened to have been one of them. Saturday, Hutch Studio is celebrating it’s 2 year anniversary much in the same way. It’s Arts Alive weekend again & Chris will be doing a whirligig demo from 12-2pm & I will do a demo in how I draw with thread, from 2-4pm
If you are in the area, pop on by, we would love to see you! Chris has been working on some new pieces for a show that will be going on this weekend as well. Stop by Maple Hall in La Conner to view his new work (details here). The piece below is made with cardboard & is a peek into the world of Hutch Studio

If you aren’t able to come visit us in person, you can enjoy free shipping all weekend at the Hutch Studio etsy shop! Just use “hutchfreeship” during checkout. Hope everyone has a creative weekend! 


{Everyday Inspiration} Whirligigs…

Chris just left for work this morning- he’s on his way to hutch studio. Would you like to see a snippet of how he spends his day? (Sayer would like me to point out that you can see the library that he goes to with his grandma, in the background of the video still shot.)

Aside from making & occasionally wearing things out of cardboard, Chris also makes whirligigs. They are displayed out in the front of studio & spin in move in the breeze. They are made from cool found & thrifted objects & set hutch studio apart from the other shops on the street. Chris holds whirligig workshops in the studio as well – which are always a lot of fun. So there you have it-  a little peek into my other half’s day. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!  

{Everyday Inspiration} Whirligigs…

Chris just left for work this morning- he’s on his way to hutch studio. Would you like to see a snippet of how he spends his day? (Sayer would like me to point out that you can see the library that he goes to with his grandma, in the background of the video still shot.)

Aside from making & occasionally wearing things out of cardboard, Chris also makes whirligigs. They are displayed out in the front of studio & spin in move in the breeze. They are made from cool found & thrifted objects & set hutch studio apart from the other shops on the street. Chris holds whirligig workshops in the studio as well – which are always a lot of fun. So there you have it-  a little peek into my other half’s day. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!  

{Everyday Inspiration} Busy day at hutch studio…

A few weekends ago, I had a chance to spend a little time at hutch studio. Chris was giving a demo in clay & hung around a bit to shoot some photos of the event. 


Here are a few glimpses of how he displays some klt:works items. It’s always a treat to be able to see my work in that space.

Chris set out to do something that he had never done before…to throw a bunny on a wheel. Sounds cool doesn’t it? It was really quite an interesting thing to view. It’s the type of thing that only someone with his experience, could pull off with a crowd of people watching. Not to mention, the shop was actually open. So in between working on the rabbit, he was helping customers! 

The atmosphere at hutch studio is really wonderful. It’s calm & creative with a sense of wonder in the air of what cool discovery might be around the corner. Chris has created playlists by subjects that are always playing – songs about  water, hands, boats, birds… etc which just adds to the “hutch” experience. 

So this is the final product! He (or she) was just unloaded from the kiln yesterday. Chris literally pulled a bunny out of his sleeve that day. Amazing! What I love the most about it, is  the process & that he had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. I admire that…it is my favorite way to work.  Chris has demos & workshops set up all of the time at hutch & if you are in the area, I highly recommend attending- they are quite inspirational. Stop by the hutch studio blog or FB page to keep an eye on what fun new project is being worked on. 

Hope everyone is having a great week! It’s finally sunny & spring like here. Boy does that make a difference!