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Profile

Barbara Gittings

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Barbara Gittings

Hometown: Hove

Based in: Hove

 

I was born and raised in South Africa and after studying Fashion and Design in Johannesburg, I moved to Cape Town. After a couple of years working there in the fashion industry, a friend and I opened a fashion boutique, selling our own designs. But after trading successfully for 18 months, we then decided that we both wanted to see more of the world.
After travelling around Europe in a very rudimentary camper van for several months we came to England and I decided to stay. I was in my early twenties and I proceeded to pursue a career as a designer and pattern cutter in the fashion industry in London.
I have come to ceramics rather late in life, having started adult education classes in pottery in 1999. I very quickly became obsessed, reading everything I could lay my hands on about clay, ceramics and ceramic artists. Early in my clay journey I attended a week long course of smoke firing with Jane Perryman, which set me on my smoke firing path.
At a term-long intensive course at the City Lit I came across a tiny picture of an ancient Chinese Nerikomi bowl in one of the library books and I was hooked. I spent the next twelve years learning by trial and error, dipping in and out of various adult education courses.
I am now a full time potter, exploring clay as an alternative medium to fabric. I am based in Brighton, working from a small but perfectly formed studio in the back garden.
In fashion, the layering of textiles and the power of the cut merge to find new balances and forms, the biomorphic and geometric held in tension. My work in clay continues to explore this.
The geometry of patterns in nature is a constant source of inspiration to me. Especially as random chaotic forces, growth, weathering and erosion push the initial perfect symmetry towards imperfection. I am always exploring this balance between symmetry and asymmetry in my work, trying to capture the imperfect perfection.
I'm drawn to irregular repetition, primitive mark making and soft, earthy colours. I try to assimilate the poetry of things I see in the world and then allow them to rise up in my subconscious to inform the patterns that I put through the clay.
The process of Nerikomi is very slow and exacting, and it's always a challenge to make larger pieces. The danger of cracking and warping, as the different colours react to the stages of drying, firing and smoke firing, is always present, but I am continually pushing myself towards larger pieces. All my work is low fired, unglazed, with the patterns going through the body of the piece.

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Barbara Gittings Large Floating Bowl

Barbara Gittings, United Kingdom

Design Objects

US$ 620

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Barbara Gittings   Bottle #40 by Barbara Gittings

Barbara Gittings, United Kingdom

Design Objects

US$ 445

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Barbara Gittings   Pod #16 by Barbara Gittings

Barbara Gittings, United Kingdom

Design Objects

US$ 750

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About Barbara Gittings


IconInspires

What inspires you?

Seashells, Tree bark, primitive mark-making


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Describe your creative process.

I sometimes start out with a very clear idea of the shape of the piece and the pattern I want to put through the clay. As I'm creating the pattern, distortions occur and these lead to new designs and directions. Nothing is ever wasted. Left over pieces of patterned clay are added to, or incorporated into other pieces, and something more organic occurs. I try to relinquish control and allow the unforeseen to come to the fore


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What are 3 words that best describe your work?

Contemplative, Engaging, Sensual


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What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Make work for yourself, that satisfies you

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