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Process and conception of Amanda M Barr Ceramics

Amanda Barr’s NIEBLA at Raygun

February 2013

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Installation shot at Raygun.

Interview by Jennifer

February 14, 2013

For the past two weeks, the latest work from Amanda M Barr Ceramics adorned the walls at Raygun. Amanda Barr is the the artist behind these ceramic works. You may be familiar with some of her work under the name No Tengo Miedo Clay. Below, I asked Barr some questions about her process and the conception of her practice in ceramics.

How did you get involved in making ceramics?

I got involved with ceramics while I was in graduate school for Spanish Literature in Kansas. All my time was spent either writing research papers or reading, and I needed a creative outlet, a way to actually use my hands. I grew up working with my dad on his construction projects and had previously been a huge crafter, but academia ate all my time. So I signed up for a community art program class. I was AWFUL. I’m also stubborn so I refused to stop until I could make what I wanted. After I graduated I moved to Iowa and started teaching evening courses at DMACC, which left my days wide open for studio time. It was just a natural progression from there to where I am now.

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The artist, Amanda Barr.

How do you choose your imagery and where do you find it?

Some of my imagery I just happen upon, searching vintage illustration archives- I love old botanical etchings, and dictionary prints. Often it’s an idea I have and I either create, have a friend create, or alter a found image to match what I’m looking for. I’m fairly eclectic as to what I like- right now I’m really into native wildlife, botanicals and fun patterns; sometimes I’ll get into a nautical kick, and I’ve always been fascinated by the macabre. A lot of my inspiration comes from my surroundings and current input: where I’ve traveled, art I’ve seen, movies, tv and music I am in to, and the books I am reading.

What is the process for creating the work and applying the imagery?

My process varies in creating the pieces: I like to change up my studio routine so I enjoy handbuilding with molds, slab construction and using the wheel to create forms. I will generally spend a month making pieces and bisque firing them- the first firing that hardens the clay- and build up a large amount, then I’ll spend about two weeks painting underglaze on and applying the imagery. All of my imagery is printed on- the same block-printing process as linoprints. I use a piece of glass, a rubber brayer and an underglaze with a variety of types of stamps and linocuts. I print in patterns, layers and even include text. I have a collection of word documents full of quotes I found interesting.

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Barr’s Sunshine and Rainclouds cloud plates installed at Raygun.

What is your favorite piece and why?

My favorite piece right now is actually two pieces viewed together- the two sets of cloud plates “Sunshine” and “Rainclouds”. I was having a huge amount of creative block over the holidays which led to me feeling rather depressed about my career- something I recognize is completely normal for someone who works alone most of the time! - and wanted to create something that spoke about my feelings. My relationship with art has been one of “sunshine” and “rainclouds”, lots of highs and lows, good days and bad, as I achieve some goals and am rejected from others.

Follow Barr’s work on her facebook and website.