Barbara Mann


Barbara Mann has been a producing studio potter since 1979.  She learned her craft at the Hand Workshop in Richmond, where she took classes at night while working in a research lab at the Medical College of Virginia.  She is well known for her table lamps (for which she makes her own shades from mulberry paper) bowls, and lidded jars – all with highly graphic, colorful surfaces.  Recently, she has been experimenting with primitive firing in a galvanized wash tub, where she introduces iron and silver compounds to elicit a ghostly shadow from real leaves. 

Her work has been featured in such prestigious shows as the American Craft Council shows in Baltimore, Atlanta, and St Paul; Chicago Botanic Garden; Richmond Craft + Design; and she recently had a trunk show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She draws influence from her love of botany and her enthusiasm for the bold use of color.  “I am in awe of the beauty and singularity of plants and flowers and inspired by an array of images from botanical illustrations to garden photographs to Georgia O’Keefe macro paintings and the fantastical paintings of Henri Rousseau.”

Barbara has served as Vice-president of the Ceramic Designers Association; board member and Chairman, Standards Committee, Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild; and board member, Artisans Center of Virginia.  Weekdays from 9 to 5, she is a Grant Development Specialist at Old Dominion University where she consults with research faculty on high-impact funding proposals.  She holds a BS in Biology (Botany) and an MBA, both from Virginia Commonwealth University, and loves to tap and ballroom dance. 

Her Method --

My forms are simple and quiet so that I can use surfaces as a canvas for both stylized nods to nature and happy doodles.  My pieces are wheel-thrown clay – lamps, bowls, chargers, lidded jars. Low-fired with colorful, layered matte slips and glazes. I am also getting some interesting pieces with primitive firing, using metallic oxides like iron, silver, and copper, where the elusive main element is the ghost of an actual leaf.  I love to make table lamps and to go through my paper collection to find just the right colorway and texture for each lampshade.

Sometimes, I will find a paper I love and that paper will inform the piece. Lampshades are made from mulberry-type papers -- these highly fibrous papers add interest when the light shines through. 

Matte-glazed and primitive-fired pieces are not food safe, although those with a shiny glaze all over can be used as serving dishes.

Barbara Mann currently has no products for sale online.

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