Art for the Cash Poor 2016 is more than an art fair. AFTCP invites attendees to navigate the Crane Arts space, bursting with art vendors, live musical performances, culinary curiosities, and an outdoor beer garden. First-time collectors find their niche within the arts scene, thanks to a range of price points and artistic mediums.
Chase Brown, a veteran vendor at AFTCP and widely popular ceramic artist in Philadelphia’s craft-fair scene, tells us in an interview about his education, his connection to the arts both professionally and creatively, and a new twist he will be adding this year to his famous whiskey flasks.
Erica: Can you tell me about your background in the arts?
Chase: I studied ceramics at The University of the Arts here in Philly. Following my undergrad in 2008, I began a residency at Cheltenham Art Center and also acted as the Kiln Technician; which I still do today. It was through working on the gas reduction kiln that I grew meticulous in my glaze chemistry and widened my perspective of what you can do with clay.
Erica: On your website, you describe your firing techniques as archaic. Can you tell me more about this process, and the history behind it?
Chase: Reduction kilns are not that common these days because electric kilns fire more efficiently and safely. But the effects on the glaze and the clay body from an open flame are what drew me to it. The kiln I have been working on for the last 6+ years was custom built in place almost 40 years ago. It requires constant repairs and maintenance from years of constant use. Firing the kiln can take anywhere from 10-15 hours and must be watched closely. So its a lot of work that not many people know how to do. It has lots of quarks and can be very difficult to operate. I have scars and burns from times I may not have payed it enough attention. But it’s worth it because I love the results which I can only get from this kiln.
Erica: How do you separate your roles as craftsperson and artist? Do you have a different way of approaching these two creative outlets?
Chase: I have always separated my crafts from my art. I make lots of crafts. It’s what I do full time. While I am obviously very particular about the aesthetic of my creations, I don’t hold on to them sentimentally. When I first started doing craft markets, I would make some pieces and then pull out my favorite of the batch. It took me a while to realize that there was always going to be a better piece and letting go of one that I am fond of is motivation to do it again but better the next time.
Erica: Will you be featuring any new items this year at Art for the Cash Poor?
Chase: I will be featuring some new flask designs as well as beer steins with a political satire theme to them.
Erica: AFTCP acts as a great one-stop-shop for homeowners to put those final finishing (handmade) touches to their space. As a master of flask-wear, what would your dream home-bar be comprised of?
Chase: As far as drinks go, I am a big fan of whiskey or gin cocktails that have bitters and fresh citrus and herbs. My bar would have a decanter for each of my spirits as well as one of my XXX flasks for a prohibition era feel with a modern twist.
Erica: You’ve been a vendor at AFTCP for a few years now. What are you looking forward to most about participating this year?
Chase: I love to interact with the other artists. In previous years I have vended next to my high school art teacher. I enjoyed being able to reconnect with someone who has directly shaped and influenced me as an artist. And here we are 14 years later as contemporaries, it reminded me of how I got here. I’m also looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been doing since last year.