Maker's Mark Bios- Chris Baskin CB
At Portland Growler Company we partner with studios that care about nurturing their employees creative passions. Our ceramic production partner, Mudshark Studios exemplifies this sort of partnership. The creative endeavors, experience and contributions of each member of the team that produces our growlers can be seen in each and every growler they make. Take a look at the bottom of your growler to see the initials of that growler's maker; maker's marks are our way of helping you put a face with a name and show you what true handcrafted quality means to us. We recently visited with our team at Mudshark and we asked each artist the same 12 questions about life, beer, and art and we'll be introducing you to them here.
Meet Chris Baskin. Chris used to trim the growlers but now he makes the plaster molds we use to cast the growlers.You've got one of his growlers if you see a 'CB' on the bottom.
Name: Chris Baskin
Hometown: Born in Princeton, New Jersey, but grew up in Rome, Georgia.
Chris has his Masters of Divinity in world religion and spent 3 years in seminary before he dove into clay full time. His studies and work have taken him to the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT; Alfred, NY, where he got his Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at New York State College of Ceramics and he has lots of experience teaching ceramics all over the United States: Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Washington, before settling in Portland.
Why do you like working in clay?
Clay is so friendly and responsive; it records and gives instant feedback on what I do. I love that people around the globe have been working with clay for at least 14,000 years. That notion grounds me; it connects my physical self to universal things contained in being human. It also connects with personal religious questions about meaning, significance, and identity. Working with clay helps me be less cerebral and fully present in my body in the moment.
What brought you to Portland?
I met my partner Emily while I was teaching in Spokane, Washington. She’s an Art professor at PNCA, in Portland, so when I completed my work in Spokane I moved to be with her.
What are your goals as an artist/maker?
My goals have changed over the years. At first, it was to explore, live in different places, gain perspective on my culture and connect with other artists. I wanted to understand myself and the world I live in better through the making of objects. Now I want to connect with education and citizenship; to be involved in community and life, here in Portland and throughout the world. I want to connect the ideas from the religious studies and artistic studies. One common idea is quality/ excellence. My initial work was an inner journey, but I find I am now reaching out to people fomr all walks of life to foster conversations between different disciplines, cultures and perspectives.
Coffee, tea or other?
I have learned to love tea. There’s such a variety of tea and it’s so healthy.
If you could share a growler fill (or drink) with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Byron Temple, the potter I adopted as a second father figure. He was a famous potter who was nurturing and empowering. He was such a strong influence on me and our interactions were always affirming and relaxed. He passed away in 2002, but I’d really love to tell him how much he influenced me and share the work I’ve been doing since his passing.
You can learn more about Chris and see some of his work in Eutectic Gallery.