Chrissie Callejas has been a full-time studio potter since 1980. After creating strictly functional pots for more than twenty years, she has branched into making handbuilt sculptures of larger-than life fruits and vegetables, and more recently, figurative works.
Her sculptures and tiles are hand built out of stoneware clay using traditional methods such as slab, pinch and coil in various combinations. After adding texture to the clay by carving, embossing and drawing on the surface, she paints the surfaces with eight or more layers of slips and glazes, resulting in a deep rich surface quality.
“The question I get asked the most about my work is “what is it?”. Both my sculptures and my paintings are somewhat abstract versions of a variety of fruits and vegetables. They may start out as an apple and end up a strawberry. . . What I see as one object , may appear another to someone else. I really hate to limit the definition, because actually it is more about color, shape, and texture. These elements are what is important to me, and I love it most when people react to the strength of those elements.
My sculpture is made from a very underused type of stoneware clay called paperclay. The body of the clay has paper pulp in it, which burns out in the firing. It results in a very light piece. It is also fun to work with, because it is very forgiving, allowing me to work in ways that was impossible with other stoneware clays. I love working in white clay because it takes the underglazes and glazes in vibrant glory.”
Chrissie received a Masters in Art Education in 1974, concentrating in painting and ceramics. She lives with her husband near Boone, North Carolina. Her work is also available at Main Street Gallery in Blowing Rock, NC.