Barbara Collins is a Brighton-based ceramicist who has exhibited and sold her work in the UK, Europe, and Australasia. Barbara’s beautiful ceramics are inspired by the natural world – including worn pebbles, plants, and ancient relics – and is evocative of a peaceful environment, encouraging reflection and tranquillity.
We spoke to Barbara about her passion for her art, her inspiration for her work, and her advice for those artists starting out.
Your passion is so evident in your work, what do you love most about ceramics?
Clay has such an ‘immediate’ quality. It can be formed into practically anything you want and is extremely malleable and wonderful to imprint with textures and patterns. This is, of course, subject to playing by all the technical rules!
I love the fact that one can take a piece of mud or earth and form it into something beautiful. Then, by a process of alchemy that utilises all four elements, a permanent object of stone is created that can endure forever through all conditions.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have always been inspired by organic forms in nature such as stones, shells, and plants. I simplify their forms and imprint them with stamps I make myself. I also love the art and crafts of very ancient cultures, Egypt in particular. I intend that my pieces convey a sense of the timeless and archetypal.
How did you develop your distinctive style?
Over many years! My work has been a journey, a progression using the same sources of inspiration and subject matter and refining it, and refining it. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to do this.
What are your favourite techniques to use?
I like to hand build using flattened coils or press moulds. In this way, I can achieve the forms I visualise quite quickly. It is magical to me to see a piece materialise in front of me, almost from nowhere. Imprinting, inlaying, creating relief patterns and textures are techniques which I love and which never fail to make me happy. I especially like to work with symbols in this way.
Tell us more about Circle Studio.
Circle Studio is my personal studio, and it stemmed from my desire to make my own work for a living. It began as a room in a building shared with other artists. I decided to give it a name when I was fortunate enough to be able to buy an ex-shop and create my own space from scratch. I began teaching from my studio when someone requested it, and I have never looked back!
What’s the best thing about teaching people how to create their own ceramics?
To see happy people!
When someone sees that they have the ability to create something beautiful, they enjoyed making it, and they found it relaxing then I know I am doing my job.
You’ve exhibited in galleries around the world, what’s your top tip for a successful exhibition?
Always be yourself. Create work that expresses you and your passion for what you do. In the end, this is what will speak to people louder than anything else!
What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just starting to establish their business?
Believe in yourself and your vision. If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.
Thank you so much Barbara for speaking to us, and for sharing this insight into your work!
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Do you want to see more from Barbara or are you interested in going to one of her classes? Check out her website: www.barbaracollins.co.uk/
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