Erin P: What are you curious about?
Erin B: I really like to people watch. It always makes me want to know where people came from, what their families are like, and how they got to where there are.
Erin P: Describe your work and describe your process.
Erin B: Clean, minimal and (I hope) beautiful wheel-thrown porcelain. It’s pretty simple. I don’t use many tools, mostly just my hands, some water, and a ball of clay.
Erin P: You were a fine arts major (combined media with an emphasis in ceramics and photography) in college. Tell us about how you convinced your father to let you pursue this path?
Erin B: My parents were a little leery of me studying ceramics in college for fear of the major lacking a traditional career path. My father was a dentist and mentioned that if I really liked working in clay there were lucrative job opportunities making porcelain teeth. I quickly nodded and soon after found my 19-year-old self at some dental conference with a bunch of middle aged, midlife crisis-having dentists looking at slides of teeth. To this day I have never attempted to make a tooth, but the facade allowed me to get through college without too much parental harassment about my choice of majors.
Erin P: How have your years working in photography affected how you approach the art of pottery?
Erin B: Lines, lines, lines. My photography is largely inspired by a clean linear aesthetic and you can say the same thing about my pottery.
Erin P: Why only porcelain?
Erin B: We can thank the teeth for the porcelain. Once I went white, I never went back. It’s like working with butter, extremely delicate and extremely challenging. The end product is something simple, beautiful and pure.
Erin P: How did you establish your signature style of spiralized porcelain cylinders?
Erin B: That’s just the way I throw. I squeeze my fingers pretty tight when pulling up the clay as an effort to make fewer pulls. A teacher of mine, Dave Gibson encouraged me to leave the lines. He said, “it’s as if you have a song playing in your head and we can see the rhythm of the music coming out on the pot.” Once I started keeping the lines, I dug in further to make them even more exaggerated.
Erin P: What is your budgetless dream project?
Erin B: I’d make a replica of the New York City skyline out of my spiralized cylinders and actually have a place to put it!
Erin P: What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given and by whom?
Erin B: My husband is constantly advising me not to be afraid to invest in myself.
Erin P: You work in a vibrant and bustling studio space in Red Hook. How important is it to surround yourself with other creatives?
Erin B: I’m a very social loner. I’m very good at working alone but love the energy I get when working around other creatives. It’s inspiring to be part of a community of people who make things!
Erin P: Coming from Arizona, what are the benefits and challenges of living and working in Brooklyn?
Erin B: Mostly benefits, as I think it’s the best place in the world to be a maker right now. Brooklyn has unlimited resources and opportunities. I do miss cactus though - and my family of course.
Erin P: If you had one superpower what would it be?
Erin B: I sort of only have one speed, and I’d really like to be able to do things super fast. My 4-year-old son calls it his “fast head button” - and I wish I had one!
Erin P: What's next?
Erin B: This is it! This is what I’ve always wanted to do. Hopefully just more of this for a long time.