A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.
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Chris Salas

AICAD Fellow

Bio

Chris Salas (they/them) is an artist and educator primarily working in Ceramics. Their studio practice is a search for a particular mental state – the engaged and unconscious divergence and convergence of ideas that imbue themselves into objects. These objects become abstracted forms of personal experiences, relationships, conversations, research – all of which currently revolves around time, place, momentum, with a pervasive presence of the history of colonization of the Americas.

Chris received a BA in Chemistry from Michigan State University and an MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art. They have completed residencies at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN, at Ceramics School in Hamtramck, MI, at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME, and at Starworks Ceramics in Star, NC. In 2023, Chris will be attending a residency at Township10 in NC, and is a Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago through the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship. 

Courses

Title Department Catalog Term

Description

This course will focus on developing beginning and continuing skills on the wheel. Students will be introduced to fundamental methods for using the wheel as a tool to create vessels with consideration of their meaning and consequence and stretch the boundaries of utility. In addition to the design and structure of functional objects, this course will familiarize students with the working properties of ceramic material, firing methods, and glazes. We will look at artists working both in traditional and non-traditional methods. Artists will vary, but some we will look at include: Edmund de Waal, Alleghany Meadows, Gerrit Grimm, Mike Helke, Steve Lee, and more. Readings will include articles covering topics about the convergence of fine art and craft, how objects affect our daily life and rituals, the place of craft within contemporary society. Specific authors may be : Chris Staley, Glenn Adamson, Jenni Sorkin, Okakura Kakuzo and Edmund de Waal Projects vary, but typically there are 5-6 assignments in the course with each assignment consisting of 3-20 pieces of finished work with additional research in glaze and firing processes. Students will also have readings and responsibilities with firing work.

Class Number

2069

Credits

3

Description

This course will focus on developing beginning and continuing skills on the wheel. Students will be introduced to fundamental methods for using the wheel as a tool to create vessels with consideration of their meaning and consequence and stretch the boundaries of utility. In addition to the design and structure of functional objects, this course will familiarize students with the working properties of ceramic material, firing methods, and glazes. We will look at artists working both in traditional and non-traditional methods. Artists will vary, but some we will look at include: Edmund de Waal, Alleghany Meadows, Gerrit Grimm, Mike Helke, Steve Lee, and more. Readings will include articles covering topics about the convergence of fine art and craft, how objects affect our daily life and rituals, the place of craft within contemporary society. Specific authors may be : Chris Staley, Glenn Adamson, Jenni Sorkin, Okakura Kakuzo and Edmund de Waal Projects vary, but typically there are 5-6 assignments in the course with each assignment consisting of 3-20 pieces of finished work with additional research in glaze and firing processes. Students will also have readings and responsibilities with firing work.

Class Number

1010

Credits

3

Description

This course takes students on a journey through the changing landscape of ceramic art, design, and production. Recent advances in rapid prototyping technologies provide designers and artists with more direct means for transforming concepts into physical form. In this course, students explore various ways to apply advanced technologies to ceramic design and production. Students will acquire basic skills in clay modeling methods, plaster mold making, slip casting, 3D Scanning, digital modeling, and digital output methods including 3D Printing and Laser Cutting. Basic knowledge for Rhino and/or other 3D modeling software is required. The technologies and methods for ceramic production have been developing over the course of thousands of years, often linked to specific material/cultural histories. Digital tools afford makers the ability to create, manipulate, distort, and ideate without the constraints of the ceramic process. Through slide lecture, readings, group discussions, demonstrations, and self directed projects, we will consider ceramic production methods of the past and how they influence contemporary art and design practices. In this course we will ask the questions: What are the benefits and the challenges of using ceramic materials? How can we use digital tools to assist in the ideation, prototyping, and the production of ceramic objects? How can we use ceramic materials to assist in the ideation, prototyping, and production of digital objects? What is the interplay between the digital object and the ceramic object?

Class Number

2067

Credits

3

Description

In this studio and theory based class, we will explore the possibilities of low-fire ceramics and will consider how a ceramic studio is positioned within a local, regional, national, and global material culture. We will seek to understand and build relationships with common ceramics materials with the intention to gain an intuitive understanding how to best use them to create clay bodies and dynamic surfaces at a low-fire range. Students will work together to create and organize a communal database of materials and their properties, with the information gathered culminating into a research book published at the end of the course. We will consider firings in both oxidation and reduction, as well as alternative firing methods such as saggar and pit-firing.

Class Number

2325

Credits

3