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David L Bradley
I am a ceramic artist and educator, living in Phoenix. Currently, I am professor of ceramics and drawing at Paradise Valley Community College.
Clay is a filter through which I discover, and explore my world. With clay I can create objects which make real the ideas passing through my brain. I like to make images in clay of those things which I am trying to understand, like, why are people afraid of other people? And, what are the most important things in my world?
I started on my career as an artist when I was very young, and first found happiness in creating things. Clay became my medium of choice in college and still, after 30 years of intense study, continues to teach and amaze me.
I graduated from La. Tech University in 1976 with a degree in Painting and many elective hours in ceramics, and no idea where to go from there. After graduation, I visited a pottery store in a neighboring town, long known for its old time crockery: Marshall Pottery Co. of Marshall Texas. I got a job there as a potter’s helper, and worked hard to learn their ways of making pottery, till after nine months of practice I was started as an apprentice potter making “dog dishes”! It was a happy day when I got to make dog dishes. But after two months of dog dishes I was ready to move up the line, and I did. I learned how to make all the items on the list up to five gallon capacity butter churns! At the rate of 20 per hour!
I worked there for two years before deciding to move on. I became worried I wouldn’t be able to make anything but churns and jugs, because my hands knew how so well.
I was accepted into the Master’s degree program in Ceramics at the University of North Texas, where I learned about the different ways of glazing, firing and appreciating the aesthetics of ceramics developed during the 20th century. This opened my eyes to what ceramics and art itself was about: Ceramics is about more than pottery, and Art is about more than the object which decorates our living room.
Since Graduate school I have made a living by teaching all levels about ceramics and Art, and by making objects both utilitarian and sculptural. I relearned the lesson taught by my parents, that Art is about those things which the artist and the community think are important; and that Art provides a way of viewing ourselves and the world in new ways.
My current body of work tries to engage the viewer through an invitation to touch the clay form in order to create sounds. The means chosen by the viewer will vary, thus causing the sounds elicited to vary. The sounds created become the voice of the sculpture bringing it to life. The purpose of my work is to help me discover the meaning of life and the answer to questions of importance. I am interested in understanding the complexities of interpersonal relationships, and why we as humans, are in conflict with each other and ourselves.
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