Ordinary | Brielle MacBeth | 3 ways to enjoy

If you enjoyed the recent film I posted with Brielle of Dust and Form, there is now more of that interview to enjoy.

Below is the audio of the full interview as well as a transcription of a few of the questions.

Chris: Why dust and form as a name? 

Brielle: Yeah, I actually thought about it for a long time. Dust and form kind of emerged from this idea that, this whole process is a very temporal thing. The materials I'm using the molds that I have, Just everything, it has a life expectancy. At some point I won't be able to use these molds anymore. The material that I have there, It's basically like dirt, and different chemicals but yet when it comes together it's this really beautiful kind of formulaic refined moment. 

In the beginning of doing this I thought a lot about that and about kind of what i call my fascination with temporary brilliance, like this kind of fleeting nature to making and life and I mean we could bring the metaphor to all areas of life. For what I do I just kind of wanted to encapsulate that as more of a philosophy and Dust and form is the easiest way to do it in the name.

Chris: Let's let's go back a little further. Why ceramics What brought you into that first place as an origin.

Brielle: It's such a good question. So it's funny I did ceramics all through high school and loved it. I was obsessed with throwing in the wheel and thought it was the greatest thing ever. I went to college and when I was sitting in the office with Joe Smith my advisor, I Was Like.... Well... What is the one thing that I know I can do that I won't get sick of, and up until that point I'd been like really into creative things and art and whatever, So, I was like alright, I'll be a studio art major, and I honestly hated it for most of my college career. I wanted to switch my major every other semester. I have professors who can attest to that. I was a very difficult art student, but I think a lot of us are. Ceramics just kind of became like a default in the beginning but as I learned more and got attached to Heather Brende specifically as my professor she showed me different methods of making that actually really drew my attention, and entranced me a little bit. When I was a junior I really wanted to learn how to do glassblowing I was very fascinated with that process and this kind of fluidity that just gets like frozen in time, you know like there's this moment of like molten lava and then it's not anymore, and I loved that. I loved thinking about that. And as I talked with her about kind of what was drawing me to that specific craft we started discussing slip casting and how to create forms that still had that same movement that same fluidity, but just in ceramics so that's how this kind of originally started was actually wanting to do something else. 

Krista: What made you keep going with the Industrial ceramics rather than wheel throwing, maybe describe how that worked out. 

Brielle: Sure. I'm a perfectionist. It's something that is a very obvious quirk of mine. I didn't like the inconsistency of wheel throwing I didn't like the fact that my hand was so prevalent on the object. I really appreciate that and other people's work and I think it's a very beautiful aspect of wheel throwing and just making with clay in general. You can see the artist's hand so overtly. But in the forms that I was interested in making I really wanted to remove my hand and to have it be, in a sense, more straightforward. I’m not Sure if that's the right way of putting it but I just wanted like a stark object versus like “I'm an artist you can tell that it's from me.” Originally I really wanted to work for IKEA and have my stuff there. So I needed to make stuff that looked like it came from a factory. I never want to work for ikea though. (laughing)

Krista: When did that desire end?

Brielle: Shortly after it began. 

Krista: How would you say that frozen fluidity Is shown in your work now? 

Brielle: Yeah. Specifically I think it's most overt in my mugs in the handles and the forms. They're organic, they're curvy and have kind of luscious moments to them. They have kind of this like nice ergonomic side that it just feels good when you touch them. There's curves and it's nice. My other stuff I think is just the backdrop of my mugs. I mean that's what took the longest to kind of think about and develop and the other pieces. I don't know, I have a bowl that's kind of lopsided. I mean I like things that are just a little bit off kilter. Enough to kind of look at it like do a double take and then move on. So most of the things have some sort of an imbalance but it's still very subtle. 

Chris: You were saying how dust and form was like a brand, do you ever work as Brielle outside of Dust one Form, and what does that look like if you do?

Brielle: That's a really good question. I don't do a lot of projects that are not under the Dust and Form ame but I have a lot of ideas. I want to do other things. Recently you know this has been an awesome experience and an awesome thing that I am doing but I'm getting a little bored just producing. I have to produce in order to sell things, so that's part of what I'm signing up for, but I would love to do sculpture and more artistic work that can be on display and that I would put under my name as, just as Brielle and it's it's less about production and more about just really nice pretty things. 

Krista: Kind of like that? (points to mobile) 

Brielle: That's a goofy little like half hearted mobile. I just sort of threw things together. But I did make a set of Mobil's for a friend of mine a few years back, and that was such a fun project to work on because it was using a different part of my creative process that I don't normally tap into. So yeah I would love to do more things like that, but gotta make the dollar bills. Mobiles don't sell as well as mugs do. 

Chris: This is a kind of an off topic question. in your kitchen at home. Do you have dust and form stuff or do you have like plastic cups 

Brielle: (laughing) In my home I have nothing Dust and Form. I have only Goodwill hand-me-down dishes because lord knows my roommates are going to break whatever and I don't want to put my stuff there. In my real house someday, which will be soon, I do plan to make my own dinnerware but there's still a part of me that doesn’t even really use things in my studio. Like, I only use my crap containers things that are seconds. I don't use anything nice of mine. It’s a funny weird thing but a good question. People assume that I have this amazing array of dishes and I'm like, no I don't keep any of it. I don't have any of it in my house except the bad. 

Chris: I’m gonna go existential. Broadening out to art as a whole, how do you see. Art, your art, art in general, wherever you want to take it, how do you see that relating to humanity as a whole?

Brielle: I think it relates entirely. I think what we make directly affects what's in us what we're thinking about and how we interact with the world. I think there's a very inter-woven connection between those two things. I mean my process, my name, all that had the idea of human existence, how we were born, how we live, how we die. That kind of process that is all interconnected to how I'm thinking about what I make even though there's a sense of repetitiveness and at points like there's a mundane nature to how I'm making. I think about that all the time, that humanity and living and going through this world it's not always exciting and beautiful and extravagant. It's actually like pretty mundane sometimes, and that to can be beautiful if we acknowledge it that way. I thought a lot about how people are a lot like pots. I mean there's references Biblically to that. A physical object representing the lifetime of a human. I understand that these aren't going to last forever just like my life is not going to last forever and everyone around me is not going to last forever but I still want to take the opportunities that I have make them really beautiful. 

Krista: Do you look back on your childhood or your family and see different things that have kind of lead up to this point? 

Brielle: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. Another story that my mom tells a lot, when I was I think three or four I woke my mom up out of a dead sleep at like five o'clock in the morning with this grand idea that if Beanie Babies could make all this money and sell little stuffed beanie toys I could make 100 beanie baby dolls and sell them for $1 each and make a hundred dollars. And my plan was to do this and we were going to do it today. So I came marching into her room, I got right up in her face (This is according to her) and was like “mom I want to make 100 beanie babies and sell them for a dollar each and make a hundred dollars!” We spent the entire day making one doll but it's still at home. 

Chris: And you learned math along the way and you know that you have to charge more than a dollar for your pots. 

Brielle: (laughs) Oh. Yeah. Exactly.