The Therapy of Clay | Ashleigh Christelis | Episode 243

Ashleigh Christelis | Episode 243

Ashleigh Christelis

Ashleigh Christelis 10Ashleigh Christelis is a Full time potter living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ashleigh runs her own teaching studio at a community center and has been working with clay for nearly 20 years! Ashleigh did full time apprenticeship with Kim Sacks that lasted for 4 years. Since then Ashleigh has been running studios on and off. She worked as a woodwork teacher at The Waldorf school in Johannesburg for nearly 6 years during which time clay took a bit of a backseat. Ashleigh works mainly in high fired oxidation 1260c/cone 9 porcelain and stoneware.

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Where do you think your creativity comes from?

It comes from seeing. It comes from looking. It comes from nature. It comes from a conversation. My inspiration comes from life and I think just from being. I wouldn’t say I have a way of finding inspiration. It just seems to flow.

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What kind of art moves you the most?

I love performance art. These are tricky questions because there is no one for me. I am kind of across the whole spectrum.

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When people ask you about your creative process, how do you go about explaining it?

I think it comes, there is some sort of a seed. A seed will be planted, whether in a conversation or a picture or something that sits with me. Even for instance a political thing that might pop up, something that really irks me, or makes me upset, or makes me happy, that sits inside me and kind of whirls around, my creative process starts as that. Then I think I go into a place where I think of something and I find reference images because what is going on inside of me will not be easy to put out as an image, but it could be a shape or it could be a form. So that is when I use the Lithography as well. I will draw and doodle around and play with that sort of thing. I think it actually does unfold.

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What is your favorite part of making?

I love to carve. I think throwing, throwing is a big favorite. I love working with porcelain, there is nothing on earth quite like that. Then the carving, so turning, trimming, and carving into the surface of the porcelain, those are my favorite things to do.

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What is your absolute favorite tool in your studio?

My first one is a porcupine quill because I draw and I write with it and I test for depth and I use it all the time. I have many actually, many porcupine quills in fact my friends collect porcupine quills for me when they go walking in the bush. Then I have a sculpting tool, it’s a very thin stainless steel, it’s a turning tool, a ribbon tool. That’s my favorite tool. They’ve got the kind of triangle at the end and the circle at the end. They are my favorite because I can turn with them and I can also carve with them.

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What do you love about yourself?

I love my hands. I think my hands are amazing. They are the most perfect tools anyone ever gave me.

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Instagram: @ashleighchristelis

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