Questionnaire : Matt Cripps Pottery
Welcome to our first Quarantine Questionnaire!
We thought you might like to get to know our artists a little better, and of course, from a safe distance!
Today we are featuring Matt Cripps Pottery!
“I’m from Miramichi, NB. I grew up and finished high school there. After that I moved to Fredericton, NB to complete an undergrad at St. Thomas University. After that I went to the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and completed a diploma in Fine Craft: Ceramics. My original passion was music. I played guitar since I was ten years old and when I went to university I initially was taking primarily music courses. After my second year my department head told me I had taken almost all of the music courses and I needed to try some other fine art classes to get my fine art major. I took a few theatre courses but ultimately found the visual arts classes. From there my last two year of university were a strong majority of visual arts classes which I would attribute as one of the major factors that led me to where I am now.”
Let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start)
What’s the first thing you have to drink in the morning to get your day started?
The first thing I drink in the morning is always coffee. I chose from my vast collection of mugs I’ve made as well as mugs I’ve collected from other potters.
What art movement or artist has influenced your personal style? Can you show reference to that in any particular piece or use of your medium?
In university, I studied a lot of modernist sculpture and was really interested in the work of Brancusi. If I were to make a comparison, I consider my large altered vases to be quite similar to Brancusis Endless Column.
What about your medium captivated you to pursue it as an art form?
There are two aspects of of ceramics/pottery that drew me to it. First, the three dimensionality of it. Second, the functionality. The ability to actually use a work of art for something as common as drinking coffee is really special.
Is there another medium you’d like to try to adapt your style into?
Stone. I did stone work as an intern with the Sculpture Saint John International Sculpture Symposium and the permanency of stone sculpture is very intriguing to me.
What’s the most recent show or exhibition you’ve participated in?
The most recent exhibition I was a part of was the CreatedHere Magazines NBCCD Permanent Collection show at the CreatedHere space February 2020, in Fredericton NB. The show featured the 4 Crawl Pots that I made and were acquired by the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design as part of their permanent collection. It included an 8 foot, 6 foot, and 4 foot vase. When it was initially displayed at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 2019 there was a typo in the title as I initially intended to have 4 vases but in the end I only installed 3. I thought it was interesting watching people look at the title 4 Crawl Pots and them trying to understand why there were only 3 pots so I left it.
Where in the world would you like to visit? Would this reflect in your art? Or do you need a break from your own style?
Ireland. Without a doubt Ireland is the one place in the world I want to visit more than anywhere else. I hope to live there for a few months at some point in my life.
Is there something particularly complicated about your medium that most people aren’t aware of?
Firing kilns and mixing your own glazes can be pretty complex. Firing kilns can be as easy as programming a schedule into the computer of the kiln but they can also be much more hands on and intricate. If you are firing a manual kiln, gas, salt, or wood kiln it is very hands on and you are required to be there for the entire firing which can in some cases take place over several days. Glazes comprise of many different kinds of minerals and chemicals that need to be mixed to the right specifications and can have unintended consequences if not done right.
Is there something particularly complicated about your medium that some artists aren’t aware of?
Chrome gives you green glazes. Tin gives you white glazes. If you mix chrome and tin you get pink glazes. Ceramic materials aren’t like mixing colours it’s a chemical reaction.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on production ware (mugs, tumblers, bowls, etc…) but also a series of tall altered vases. As well as an application for a creation grant.
Do you listen to music when you work or do you need silence?
Sometimes I enjoy silence but the other 99% of the time I’m usually listening to some kind of punk rock or grunge. I’m a big Nirvana fan.
What do you find encourages you most to get into your work space and create?
The final product. Opening the kiln and feeling the blast of warm air and seeing all different colours and textures on the pots. Hearing pings and tings from the glazes and clay shrinking. It’s a very exciting, and rewarding feeling.
Have you worked with another local artist who you find vibes well with your flow. Has this resulted in any partner art projects?
I am currently working on a collaboration piece with Sarah Hill from Saraphina Designs, she is a jeweller and metal worker. We both have similar views regarding the environment and how there needs to be a change in the way we all view climate change. This will hopefully come out in the piece we are creating.
Is there a local artist who you WOULD like to work with on a project?
I am good friends with Steve Jones who is a wood worker. I would love to try and figure out a way to mix my work with his and create something together.
Has being an artist thrown you any curve balls that you genuinely did not see coming?
You are a businesses owner. You are the accountant, the networker, the salesperson, the marketer. It’s not all about making, although I’m sure a lot of us with it were.
What makes you laugh more than it should?
The Office (US). It is my favourite TV show and I have watched it undoubtedly over 40 times from beginning to end and I’m currently watching it as I write this.
What’s your perfect way to “reset” your mind?
Lay down on the couch, relax, put a record on, and listen from beginning to end. It helps me get back into a calm headspace.
What season is your favourite and why?
I love fall for the pumpkin spice latte… Just kidding, I like summer. I enjoy being outside, going camping, paddle boarding, sitting on the deck of one of our many craft breweries in New Brunswick with friends enjoying a beer.
What’s your most productive season?
I think Summer and Winter re my most productive seasons. Winter because it is cold out and makes me want to stay in and get work done. Summer because of all the sunlight and energy I get keeps me going all day and being outside drives a lot of inspiration for me to create.
If you weren’t an artist, what career path could you see yourself pursuing?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.