WESTERLY — Following her successful 2019 debut as the January Artisan in Residence at Ocean House, ceramic sculptor and mask-maker extraordinaire Jillian Barber will come back home to Westerly this weekend to again take up residence in Watch Hill. Barber, who had a shop in the original Ocean House back in the 1970s with her friend and fellow artist, the late Nancy Klotz, practices the art of ceramic sculpture, and is well known for fantasy masks sculpted from individual portrait castings and imaginative, expressive mythical animals. Inspired by natural beauty, she creates a headdress to surround each face of flowers or birds, dragons and shells. The masks are richly textured and colorfully glazed, highlighting her love of nature and expressing the realms of symbols, archetypes and dreams.
Born in Staffordshire, England, Barber moved to Westerly with her family as a child, graduated from Westerly High School and from Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied clay with Norman Schulman and glass with Dale Chihuly. Her ceramic works range from depictions of people to clay animals, all imbued with lives of their own. Her ceramic animals vary from small, whimsical, pea-eating dragons to large, crouching feline creatures. Each ceramic piece is individually created, painted with underglazes, and often fired three times with the addition of mother-of-pearl luster. Barber was in the middle of writing notes for the lecture she plans to give during one of the events scheduled for the weekend when she took some time off to chat about her upcoming visit back home.
Barber will be holding a number of complimentary events throughout weekend, beginning with a "Meet & Greet" in the Ocean House living room on Friday at 5 p.m., another on Sunday at 9 a.m. and a lecture on Sunday at 2 p.m.
For more information, or to register, visit oceanhouseevents.com.