Matt Mabis
Wing Haven Clay Tiles

I grew up in a small rural village in Ohio as a son of a cabinet-making wood carver and a seamstress. My extended family was filled with other types of craftspeople and artisans as well. With such a fertile garden of influence around me, I was inevitably drawn to the arts like a moth to flames.

Clay gives my hands the tactile experience I enjoy and has a wide range of applications. I found that the visual representation painting and drawing can achieve, clay can do as well when used in sculpting reliefs.

Despite its proximity to Angola, Indiana and Interstate 69, Wing Haven provides a peaceful serenity, both restful and regenerative. I was impressed with how the Wing Haven buildings nestle into their surroundings, almost as companions to nature rather than in competition with it.

My goal for this piece was to capture the grade and perspective of the land, which is difficult to do in a two-dimensional format. I wanted to depict the textures of the landscape, to convey the “feeling” of this special place using clay to create a very low-relief profile.

Being asked to do this project for ACRES Land Trust was a gift. It gave me the chance to give back to this organization that has provided me with a sense of peace and wonder by protecting local land across our region, not only for my benefit, but also for my kids and grandkids and the whole community.

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