Monday, July 13, 2015

July Staff Spotlight: Christina Carlson of the Creative Arts Center

Name and title: 
Christina Carlson, Program Coordinator at the Creative Arts Center

Background in your field:
I started off studying early childhood education. As I was working through school I had the good fortune of working with a goldsmith. That is where I discovered my artistic side. I attended FIT for jewelry design classes and became the goldsmith's apprentice for 13 years. I had taken a summer pottery program here at Thompson Park when I was about eight; it did not go well, but I thought I would give it another try. So about 24 years ago I signed up for classes again. I fell in love! I devoured every workshop I could get my hands on, volunteered to help teaching with kilns, glazes and studio chores. I wanted to learn it all, but at the time it was difficult with four little ones at home.

What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love to see when people get "it". There are so many ways to make things out of clay, but when you find the one that’s right for you it is so rewarding. This wonderful relaxed look comes over them and then the creativity takes flight. You see the same look in 6 year olds, 60 year olds and beyond, that same satisfied look.

As an artist, what has been your biggest inspiration?
When I was working for the goldsmith we attended many fine craft shows. I was always drawn to the potters. One in particular was Nancee Meeker. She was from Fair Haven originally. Her work was so smooth and sleek and yet organic at the same time. My favorite pieces of Nancee's have a beautiful purple hue and are saggar fired. They are just gorgeous.

What is your favorite park to visit and why?
I am partial to Thompson Park, but not just because of the Creative Arts Center. I love the trails, especially the one that takes you by the reservoir and of course Marlu Lake. There is so much to do here. The Creative Arts Center is a big bonus. I have never seen a facility like it at any other county park.

Saggar Fired Bowl made by Christina
What is your favorite creative arts program in the Park System and why?
Our pottery programs are my favorite. There is something for everyone at every age and every ability. I call it mud therapy! I also love that the Park System allows us the opportunity to expand and experiment with our creativity with unique programs like raku and saggar firings and the annual pit fire at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park. These are great times for potters in the community to come together.

Outside of the Park System, what is your favorite thing to do in your off time?
I love to listen to music, all kinds. My three sons have a band, so I get to hear band practice while I’m in my studio throwing pots – it’s awesome (well, most of the time).

If you could give one tip to our visitors about getting creative in the parks, what would it be?
Absorb all the nature that surrounds you. Nature is the most inspiring tool for any artist. Use your imagination and draw from the trees and clouds something wonderful.

Thank you to Christina Carlson for taking the time to tell us more about herself. Be sure to check out all the upcoming arts & crafts programs within the Park System by clicking here

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