Untitled 1 | Chris Paulsen

I made my first ceramic sculpture in 1991. I tried to make a full size Fred Flintstone head but it wasn’t looking right so I turned it into a a mountain range with railroad tracks going through a tunnel.  That was my first ceramic lesson:  Don’t get too caught up in your ceramic expectations.  Just let it happen.  I took various ceramics courses while I was in college.  I was fortunate to have …had a number of inspiring teachers and fellow students during this time.  I spent three semesters at the University of Arizona in the late nineties and it was during this time, aided by 24 hour studio access, that my work started to really take shape.  When I was done with school I moved to Portland, OR.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for work so I got a temp job at the Post Office.  I’d like to say that job was awesome, but it wasn’t.  However, the three weeks I worked there allowed me to make enough money that I didn’t have to get a “panic” job, and I kind of took my time finding work.  I continued with my ceramic stuff by going to the Multnomah Art Center, which is a place where you pay by the hour to get your studio fix.  I met Kristin Yount during this time, as she was one of the teachers/managers at the center.  This proved to be a fruitful meeting for me because Kristin influenced my work in a number of ways.  Eventually I landed at Pratt and Larson Tile as a glaze maker.  Getting this job proved to be very advantageous as a ceramic artist.  It allowed me access to all of the somewhat hard-to-get-access-to-stuff that makes ceramics a sometimes difficult hobby to pursue.  Sometime around 2001 I was able to get on with a group of folks that would salt fire twice a year in The Dalles, OR.  Kristin Yount was the ring leader of this gang of ceramic misfits.  The firings took place at PK Hoffman’s place, and this was another chapter that was very beneficial for me.  First off, I got to soak up a whole bunch of wisdom from PK, who has been around for a spell or two.  Secondly, I was able to make about 75 salt fired heads.  Luckily, I only sold or lost two of those heads and the rest are boxed up safely.  The heads I made during this time are very special to me, mostly because the firing process was so unique.  There’s no way I’ll ever be able to make heads like those again.  These firings stopped in 2005.  I haven’t salt fired since.  2005 to 2010 were my lost years.  I couldn’t tell you what happened during that time.  I know I wasn’t making ceramics though.  I made a few things here and there, but for the most part those days were wildly unproductive.  I seem to recall blogging quite a bit during that time.  I think writing was my creative outlet during that time.  I collected a lot of large boulders during that time as well.  It was a strange time.  Sometime in 2010 I realized that my time at Pratt and Larson Tile was going to come to an end.  The weak housing market was making things difficult for the tile business, and I knew I would be getting laid off by the time the new year rolled around.  I took preventative measures and started really getting after it.  I would stay late at work and make heads.  In the fall of 2010 I stumbled upon colored slips.  I recalled having seen some of Kristin Yount’s work at the Oregon Ceramic Showcase the previous year, and it occurred  to me that I should try her slip/graffito technique on my heads.  I couldn’t believe I had been working at the tile factory for nearly ten years and I had never experimented with colored slips before.  It proved to be a very fortunate discovery because a month later I was laid off.  I was able to continue working through the holidays and all the while I was staying late and applying this new colored slip technique to my heads, and also to little platters.  I could sense I had reached another level with this whole colored slip thing, and I was determined to make a go at operating my own ceramic business.  In December I started listing items for sale on my Etsy page.  To my surprise, people actually bought some of my heads.  I had sold enough heads over the internet that I had the confidence to apply for a booth at the Portland Saturday Market.  In March of 2011 I started my booth at the market and that’s when 3sevens Pottery was born.  As of today (July 13, 2011) I’ve sold over sixty heads through my booth, sometimes to folks from faraway places like Sweden, Finland, Ireland, and Slovenia.  It’s a great job, and I feel very lucky.  I hope I don’t ever run of gas with this thing.
Learn about the artist at –  3sevens Pottery

 Untitled 1
by Chris Paulsen | 3sevens Pottery, Portland, Oregon
VillaDuCarl Art Collection | Portland, Oregon
Glazed Clay
6″ x 7″

Purchased at Last Thursday on Alberta
Contact the artist at 3sevens Pottery


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