After working in the fashion industry as a designer, Barbara Gittings soon began exploring clay and its potentialities as an alternative medium. With a pattern cutter mindset, the Brighton-based ceramicist merges the power of the cut with new balances and forms inspired by the chaotic yet perfect geometry in nature.
Barbara Gittings: The geometry of patterns in nature is a constant source of inspiration to me. Especially as random chaotic forces, growth, weathering and erosion force the initial perfect symmetry towards imperfection.
All birch trees, for example, have an underlying rule governing the pattern of their bark. No two birches are identical, yet they retain their undeniable identity as birch trees. I am always exploring this balance between perfect symmetry and asymmetry in my work.
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.Barbara Gittings
Barbara Gittings: I work with a grogged porcelain, using Nerikomi techniques. The process of Nerikomi is very slow and exacting, and it’s always a challenge to make larger pieces – it involves adding oxides or stains to the clay to colour it and then joining, slicing and rejoining layers of colours to build up patterns through the clay. The danger of cracking or warping as the different colours react to the stages of drying, firing, and smoke-firing is always present.
The Poetry of Things
Barbara Gittings: 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.
Interview with Barbara Gittings | Photography Barbara Gittings.