Chris Johnson Ceramics
Chris completed a 3-year Diploma in Ceramic Arts from Otago Polytechnic in 2014 after several years as an amateur potter –
“I wanted to step it up a couple of levels, find out how much I
didn’t know”. He works out of his tiny home studio
comprising a room off the garage and a collection of sheds in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Chris employs a ‘coil and throw’ technique for his pots using white earthenware, pushing the clay to its limits to achieve a smooth surface. The larger pieces can take up to 8 hours to complete the basic shape before being left to become leather hard, then further refined sometimes with the addition of moulded sprig attachments.
Decoration is applied variously using underglazes (Chris’s own recipe developed during his studies), sgraffito, printers type, stencils, stamps, and decals, both commercial and studio made. All Chris’s works are glazed by spraying. Most works are triple fired.
Chris works sustainably – clay scraps from trimming and
offcuts from coils are saved, dried and recycled while
overspray in the glazing booth is reutilised to glaze the inside of pots.
Chris leans to traditionalism of form while the imagery often reflects a dark side inspired by feelings of anger and powerlessness. Social injustice, child abuse, gender discrimination, patriarchy, and his anti-war stance are often themes. Partner Julie assists in various ways – as a sounding board for ideas, layout and printing decals, and decaling a range of Chris’s hand-made pendants and earrings.
Chris’s unique works are housed in collections around the world including New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Norway and America.