Falls Gallery - Wentworth Falls - Blue Mountains

Jane Barrow

After achieving a B.A. in Design from the Western Australian University of Technology, Jane travelled in Japan and became convinced that she wanted to work there.

Only 20 years old and speaking no Japanese, Jane set out to find a pottery which would take her on. She worked first as a thrower in the workshop of Nishio Shiko.

She spent six years living and working in Japanese potteries in Shigaraki and Bizen, most of that time in the workshop of the Bizen master potter Isezaki Mitsuru.

The work was hard for a trainee, and it was not unusual for Jane to wedge up to 100kg of clay in a morning. Trainees were given one shape at a time to throw, perhaps for up to a year before being allowed to change to another shape.

During the later years of her time with Isezaki, some of Jane's work was exhibited, under the master's name, in his exhibitions. By Japanese standards, this was a privilege for the trainee.

On returning to Australia, apart from teaching Art and Ceramics at Hamilton College of TAFE, Newcastle, Jane has had numerous exhibitions of her studio ceramics.

She has completed a number of commissions for the design and making of tableware for restaurants in Hong Kong and Australia and has produced corporate pieces for major international hotels.

Surface is very important in Jane's work. This she feels, goes back to her training in Japan, working on unglazed, wood fired ware.

Coming from this tradition without glaze, most of her work is decorated with slips, often in the form of inlay, which has to be painstakingly applied, layer after layer, and carefully cut back between colours.

Wood firings or saggar firings are sometimes used to give sutble, almost metallic finishes to these pieces.

Other designs involve fluid finger marking in wet slip, giving an informal and spontaneous look which belies the skill with which it is applied.

Jane Barrow is represented in public collections in Australia and privately overseas.


BIOGRAPHY

Diploma of Advanced Ceramics, Perth TAFE, 1973-75; BA (Design) WAIT.
WA Craft Council Potter-in-Residence 1977.
Studied in Japan 1978-83.
Returned to Australia 1984; established workshop, also teaching part time.
Group and solo exhibitions.
 

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