CM: What is it about clay, as opposed to some other material, that lends itself to the work you make?
AB: I always start with clay. No matter what other media I add later, clay is always at the forefront, the center, the core. Clay is unique and physical. When constructing with clay, getting it under my fingernails, I really become a part of it. I like the physicality of clay, which requires a tremendous bodily effort on my part to work with it. Unlike other materials, clay comes in its rawest form, unrefined. I am responsible for its refining, and in this process, I come to know and understand the material. All other materials I use come “post manufactured.”
Clay has many unique qualities that make it very appealing and useful for me in my work. It is unlike most other materials because of its ability to be readily shaped and molded. It adapts quickly to additive or subtractive techniques, to model or render, to build, construct, or design. It is the only three-dimensional material that can immediately reflect my desires, thereby giving me immediate feedback without the time consuming process of redevelopment.
I make the clay component first, fire it to cone 04, and then use the other materials to give the piece some security. I still allow for a bit of tension via uncomfortable balance, visually opposing parts, juxtaposition of strong and weak appendages and hardware, or presenting an object outside of its normal context
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