Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taking Care To Not Disturb The Bottom ~ Annie Chrietzberg

FaceBook is a very intersting thing. It sucks you in and doesnt want to let you go. So much to look at and read and discover. I am trying to force myseld to limit my excursions, but I tell myself it is to network and build traffic for this blog. And the fact is I have met some incredible and interesting artists, that have for some crazy reason agreed to being "interviewed" here ala Actors Studio. One of those people is Annie Chrietzberg, check out her website Earth To Annie . Annies use of textures enhance her delicate forms and creates objects that prod the imagination awake and make me smile. Annie has been a feature contributor at Potter Making Illustrated and will hopefully be contributing articles and stories here as well, very soon.
Why clay?
The lunches were better in the ceramics studio. My first love was metalsmithing, but I didn't understand the concept of leading a balanced life. I was taking my groceries to the metals studio, sleeping there, skipping other classes. I was way too intense and completely burned my desire to be a metalsmith. When I finally found my way to Texas Woman's University and found my way into the ceramics studio there, it was just the right atmosphere for me. We did eat in the studio, but I also made a nice home for myself and I had other interests and friends outside the studio and art department. I still worked hard, but I had a more balanced life.
If not clay, what?
Writing. Sometimes living in and out of buckets feels degrading.
What get’s you in the mood, what inspires you?
My work is inspired by stories I tell to myself and others about my adventures. I spent two and a half years living on the Narrowboat Nancy Blackett on the inland waterways of England. This is why I keep making ducks and boats and dux in boats and dux on leaves and enough with the ducks already! The funny and bratty behavior of animals drives my ongoing "From the Pets on the Furniture Series..." And I have a butterfly fixation. I actually felt disturbed once when talking about my work with someone when he said to me, "I think of butterflies as being flat." That phrase really collided with my perception of the world, and there is something about seeing butterflies as 'flat' that I just can't keep in my noggin.
The things that I love the most consistently about my career are writing and teaching. I don't have a steady teaching gig right now, but I'm still high from the workshop I taught last weekend in Fort Collins at the North Colorado Potters Guild and I'm looking forward to meeting the handful of people that will be coming to my October Studio Workshop. Except that Gepetto always upstages me when I teach out of my home.
Who is your favorite artist/artists and why?
Lana Wilson. Because she puts everything out there: her techniques, glaze formulas, thoughts & ideas and doesn't give a flip if someone else takes something and runs with it. That's the way I want to be, I hate it when I start feeling resentful about what someone else is doing. Adam Holloway because I see the effort and commitment he puts into his meticulous & laborious painting technique, and his dedication to his work never flags. Charlie Cummings because he is one talented monkey and always, always kind.
What’s your favorite cuss word?
Duck butt dart! Because an Artist Formerly Known as Awesome challenged my right to use that phrase! Everybody yell Duck! Butt! D'Art!
What is your favorite pleasure?
Living with another pattern-crazy artist Adam Holloway. Our food-life is great. I love to cook for him, or with him. We go out to eat for adventure & pleasure, and that can be so fun when everything about a dining experience is done right. Adam and I survived Peach Madness 2008. There's a peach tree in the front of this little house we rent, and things got totally out of hand with people in the neighborhood and the peaches one day. Here's a picture of Adam on the roof when the situation reached the point where we just had to get all of the fruit off of the tree. If I could only make work that drove people as crazy as those peaches did... We planted a few pumpkin seeds that became burly Kraken. We watched waves of green leaves as they flooded the garden and crashed against flowers, pulling them down with their tentacles and then overshadowing them with their giant leaves. The mint gave the gangsters a run for their money, though, and both plants have effected each other, going into some strange survival mode. The mint leaves have become broader and more feminine, and the pumpkins that are growing in the mint are strangely elongated. There's some pretty sexy stuff going on in the backyard. We discovered that pumpkin blossoms are delicious in quiche as well as enchiladas, and we have plans for pumpkin soup spiced with the coriander we gathered when the cilantro went to seed...
Mmmmm, being a chef I can appreciate that. I grew some pumpkins once, I was living in the mountains and unfortunately they died a horrible, hail storm induced death.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
I think everyone wanting to make a living as a ceramist needs to understand that artists' incomes are based on other people's disposable incomes. An artist has to be prepared to patch his living together from a variety of sources. Seek publication.
What do you think of the handmade movement and the artist as activist, or artivism?
I just make silly pots, I'm in no way an artivist; I can't even keep the pets off the furniture. As far as the hand-made movement goes, we are simply this point-in-time of a long, ongoing tradition. I don't feel the need to make a lot of noise about it, nor do I think that the world owes me a living because I make things.
Your work has such a whimsical feel to it, Can you tell me about your process, when you go into the studio do you have a set idea or do you just go with the flow, let the universe guide you?
In the studio I sing along with music, which, I imagine would really suck for others, so my studio is in the front room of our house. I vant to vork alone. Then I just set about the process of amusing myself and meeting deadlines.
Thank you Annie, by the way these cups rock!


Linda Starr said...

Wow, I was away for a weekend workshop and there is so much to read again on your blog. I am really enjoying the artist interviews. I love Annie's cups too.

Chris McCormick said...

Thank you so much Linda! I am really enjoying SoCalPotters!

MAKUstudio said...

Love Annie's work and outlook on life! Awesome interview!

cynthia said...

As a former Earth to Annie workshop participant - I can vouch for Annie's generous nature and her willingness to share information and technique.

Her work is even more fantastic in person!

I also remember the fantastic meal we enjoyed for lunch that sunny June afternoon - and yes Gepeto takes a welcome center stage when he has the opportunity. :)