Owner, operator, and artist, Chris Allman, grew up as a ceramic artist. Beginning at age 3, she was glazing pieces at Chris’ Ceramics, the family ceramics shop named after her in Austin, TX. By the time she was 5, she was pouring molds. Chris worked in that shop for 29 years. She expanded her knowledge from not only glazing and casting, but firing and teaching others through instructional classes held there. That was where she first learned about mass production, and contracted nationally to produce small animals for terrariums.
In the early 1970s, she completed certification programs for 3 major color companies: Mayco, Duncan, and Ceramichrome. As a teenager, Chris learned to make molds by taking classes from Obie Butler, followed by advanced instruction from Juan & Robbie of Verne Elliot molds. During that time, she studied psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and spent a year learning drawing and charcoal from renowned artist Charles Berkley Norman. In addition, she took classes and hosted seminars with well known ceramic instructors Marc Bellaire (brush work and 2D clay designs), Mary Gilbertson (air brushing), Chula Hobbs (techniques for porcelain and handmade realistic flowers) and Evelyn Gilner (brush work and landscape).
In 1982, through UCLA’s Idlewild summer session, Chris studied with Blue Corn from San Ildefonso and Lucy Lewis, who made polychrome pottery from the Acoma tribe. For the next year, she was clay and slip foreman at Armadillo Clay.
During the late 80s, Chris made custom tiles for over 600 homes, businesses, and swimming pools in the Austin area. She created a 110 sq ft mural for Whole Foods, a 30 sq ft mural for a Southern Living model home, and a 35 sq ft mural of the Texas Hill Country for a home in Austin. Ladybird Johnson requested a viewing of this mural.
In the early 1990s, Chris’ Ceramics became her focus again, while studying Fine Arts at the University of Texas. In 1991, she began her own independent business, Ceramic Art Productions. Methods of mass production have remained her primary interest in ceramics. She notes that she has advanced in mold making, hand building sculpture, and finishing techniques. Variety in projects and developing custom clay bodies are her ongoing interests.
During the mid 90s, Chris took life sculpting classes from Herb Long at the Elizabet Ney Museum in Austin. In 2000, she studied body casting from Willa Shallot at the Loveland Art Academy in Colorado.
Ceramic Art Productions has provided Chris Allman with a living as well as a life. She derives great happiness from owning her own successful business. She feels that she is making valuable contributions to others’ lives and continuing to discover new ways of doing things.
In 2003, she opened Ceramic Dinos, which contains much of the history of her decades-long work at Chris’ Ceramics. In this way, she continues a tradition for the hobbyist and ceramic enthusiast. She spends her weeks producing hundreds to thousands of pieces for ongoing orders from numerous clients through Ceramic Art Productions, and opens the Ceramic Dinos retail store every Saturday in Bertram.