debbie barber

Debbie Barber – Ceramics

Debbie first trained as a textile artist, specialising in embroidery and surface decoration. After 10 years she returned to college to retrain as a potter having a life-long interest in ceramics. Now Debbie combines her love of colour, texture and pattern that she used in her textiles with her new medium, clay.

Debbie specialises in naked Raku and sawdust firing enjoying the hands on and dynamic process of Raku firing.  Using resists she uses smoke to ‘paint’ patterns on the surface of the clay.

Raku is a fast firing technique that originated in Japan in the 16th century and was associated with the making and firing of small bowls for use in the Tea Ceremony.

In the modern version vessels are removed hot from the kiln and smoked in sawdust before cooling in air or water. In naked raku the pots are prepared by covering them in slip (liquid clay) through which a design is hand drawn. Smoke penetrates the lines and once the slip is removed post firing, the design is revealed.

Due to the individual nature of the technique, no two pots are the same. They are unique and have their own beauty. Naked Raku is sometimes referred to as ‘painting with smoke’.

The finished pieces are burnished and polished to give them a soft satin sheen.

Debbie takes inspiration from the natural world, birds, trees and leaves for example. Her forms are simple, strong shapes and she uses surface pattern to introduce complexity and interest.

Debbie has been nominated twice for the prestigious City & Guilds Gold Medal for Excellence for her ceramics. Highly commended in 2007 and winning the Gold Medal in 2009.Only one medal is awarded in each discipline every year.