Artist Bio Chrysan Spreng

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Chrysan on Potters Wheel
Chrysan Spreng Artist Bio

From the spinning energy of an atom, to the vast and complex nature of the universe, clay has a life and meaning to me that encompasses all of creation. As I sit down and begin my work on the potters wheel, I am reminded that all of life begins from this universal place of a balanced center. Working with the clay on the wheel begins a meditative and intuitive process that leads me into my creative space. As I work I allow the clay to take the form and shape of the vessel, knowing that I am a willing vehicle for its expression. Once the clay has found its form, it must be fired and glazed, then fired again. When the glazing is completed, I place the pieces carefully into the kiln where the magic of the fire forever leaves its mark on the pot. This is the most exiting part of working in clay, because the fire energizes, transforms and purifies the work. I am forever awed by the power and intensity of the fire. As the work emerges from the fire it then is strong and beautiful, fully ready to take on its place in the world. As I hold these new pieces I am aware of the elements that have transformed them into what they now are - elements of earth, fire, water, air, and spirit. All of life is made up of these same basic elements. This is the beauty of working as a potter. Working with the earth and its elements gives me a way to journey back to a time when life was very simple. In this way I connect with the traditions and the spirits of our ancestors. Potters from all times and all parts of the world have different traditions and ways of working in clay. I am primarily influenced by the Japanese pottery traditions. I work with Japanese glazes such as Tenmoku, and Shino. Shino is an exiting glaze that draws its characteristics from the soda ash in the glaze which makes it very reactive in the fire. There are as many different Shinos as there are potters working in Shino, because the glazes take on different surface patterns and textures due to variations in the drying and firing process as well as the differences in the glaze recipes. My Shino is smooth and lustrous. The endless possibilities in glaze chemistry are what keep me moving forward in my work. I love the variety of glazes that can be made with a relatively few combinations of minerals. This is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of my work. I am forever refining and defining my glaze pallet. My favorite glazes are my bold, vibrant reds and purples. These are the most challenging of my glaze repertoire. These glazes require painstaking perseverance because, there are a myriad of variables that have to all be working in harmony to achieve a high fire copper red. I have been working with them for four years and have had to accept many failed pieces. My latest muse is working with clay slabs. It gives me a canvas that welcomes the layering and patterning of my glazes and allows me a way to incorporate expressive patterns of dots, spirals, and gestured lines. As an artist I live in a changing world where new methods and techniques continually stimulate and challenge my skills and sensitivities. Who knows what will happen next??

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