228 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown, RI 02835
Facebook: Jillian Barber and Jillian Barber Studio
It all began in Stafford, Staffordshire, England when I was born into the Potts/Barber family. Working with clay is in my genetic history! A born artist and nature lover, I chose RISD to study ceramics with Norm Schulman and glass blowing in Dale Chihuly’s first class. I soon found that hand building created mythical animals part man/ part beast and other unsymmetrical fantasies. I haven’t thrown since. After RISD, I found an old farmhouse in Alton and “got back to nature.” I used the studio at Windswept Farm, Charlestown. After my first Rhinebeck Craft Fair, I was divinely led to a turreted carriage house in Jamestown where my clay career blossomed. I still live on the island of Conanicus.
My work in clay comes from a love of nature and animals inspired by a vivid imagination and artistic temperament, part Renaissance, part 60’s, with a dash of Victorian, and art nouveau. I found that Bernard Palissy and I are kindred spirits, as is Della Robbia. In January of 2019 and 2020, I was Artisan-in-Residency at Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI. I’ve been honored to receive over 100 awards for both clay and photography. Newport Art Museum in 2006 hosted a retrospective titled Vintage Jillian. For over 30 years I was mask and costume creator/designer for the Chorus of Westerly’s Annual Celebration of Twelfth Night. In 2015, Dr. Joseph Chazan invited me to be in NetWorks.
See Jillian Barber on Vimeo
Featured in Ink Magazine
Artist Jillian Barber creates mythical ceramic sculptures/portrait faces, “other-worldly” photography – Issuu
Dragons, mermaids, mermen, and sphinxes abound on Jamestown, Rhode Island’s Conanicut Island. They “live” at Ceramic Artist Jillian Barber’s home studio, perched on a hill overlooking Dutch Harbor Boat Yard in Narragansett Bay, an idyllic setting for creating sculptures and mythical creatures. Jillian’s brightly-colored ceramic animal and fantasy masks and ivory portrait “faces” on walls and countertops greet visitors with expressions of warmth, sleep or meditation.“I have been lucky in that friends and family have been very willing to be experimented upon,” Jillian said with a mischievous laugh. “My brother (Adrian Barber) was one of the first people I cast. I played with it and turned him into a being from another planet, a nature spirit with dragons on top.” Her beau, David, is her muse for the popular Greenman masks and fountains, she said, because he is handsome and has a beard.
A note from Jillian:
2020 would have been my 27th year at the Wickford Art Festival in a row! Hopefully all will be well for 2021. I am presently collecting vintage dishes and figurines for assemblage pieces. If you have any in the attic, I would love to make art out of them. And old lace and doilies inspire me as well. My studio is open by appointment any time, and well stocked for Christmas–and yes there will be ornaments! Thanks so much to the Wickford Art Association for being an important part of my life!