The audio file for this article was produced by the Ceramic Arts Network staff and not read by the author.

Ceramics Monthly: What is the most challenging aspect of working in clay (either technically or in terms of building a career)?

Yulia Batyrova and Marat Mukhametov: For us, the actual challenge right now is not in clay or in career building. As we were passing through continuous refusal of function in ceramics, we came to objects finally, but the last function—the decorative one—is really challenging to refuse and we’re still on it.

1 Gacela of Dying Earth, 24 in. (60 cm) in height, porcelain, fired to cone 8–10, concrete, 2022.

CM: How do you come up with the forms (or surfaces) that are prevalent in your work?

YB and MM: We are open-minded, and set for a non-stop search of form and texture. Ideas come from everywhere, from relationships, from everyday life, from poetry and paintings, from politics, with the overall mood coming from nature.

2 Bird II, 33 in. (85 cm) in width, porcelain, fired to cone 8–10, concrete, 2021.

We see our objects as the motion of multiple elements, constantly changing their shape. The frozen sculptural form is just a primitive way to embrace endless motion, that only remains truly real while it denies any form. We follow this motion without interfering with it. But it’s easier to say than to do. First forms were coming from forests, not some ready organic forms or textures, but sound, light, color, movement . . . there is something unseen and beyond our ability to simulate that moves us. Then the war in Ukraine started, the human body, destruction, and everyday news became the main sources that informed our work. Today we want to make shapes as free and miraculous as possible, and study relationships by making objects that interact with each other no matter where the form or surface will come from.

Learn more on Instagram @jb.ceramics.