Barbara started working in clay in 1990, and took up torch-fired enameling in 2009. An accomplished visual artist changed her path while recovering from her injuries. Not able to do the same artwork she found her love for the flame by combining her skills in clay and her torch to create her designs.
“Two rotator cuff surgeries as a result of loading heavy kiln shelves put my ceramics career on hold. I started making ceramic beads and began to notice torch-fired enamel that resembled my pottery; it showed the mark of the flame. I was drawn to the work.”
Her pieces are easily recognized; free form shapes, made of angles, curves or both all in one. “The natural environment has a big influence on my work. The more corroded and worn the better; I can see a piece of metal and interpret it in enamel jewelry.”
When asked what her method of designing was she answered, “I can be inspired by incongruous pieces in a pile of beads, or discarded metal shapes in a cardboard box. It’s important for me to see the objects around me.”
An old piece of metal sitting around her studio stimulated her imagination; a new design comes into play. She continues saying, “I can’t work with everything put away. It sounds dreadful, but then again I fight clutter. I haven’t figured out how they can have a harmonious relationship!”
She loves the happy accidents that enameling brings and started a Facebook group with that same title. When Barbara isn’t traveling teaching workshops she shares on social media forums, and in her St. Petersburg studio workshops. She is a published author and has a new book release coming out in September 2014 “Mastering Torch-Fired Enamel: the Next Steps in Painting with Fire”.
“I’m proud of the fact that I listened to the little voice that said, submit a book proposal NOW!”
“When I go for periods without creating I start to lose a sense of self.” These are not by choice, but of her commitments of running her successful art business.
Her advice to artists is to stay true to your aesthetic. “When the ideas aren’t flowing limit your visual content, do something else for awhile. It will loosen you up!”