Jillian Barber was born in Staffordshire, England, (the home of English pottery!), grew up in Rhode Island, and presently resides in Jamestown, RI on the island of Conanicut in Narragansett Bay
An award-winning ceramic sculptor and photographer, Jillian is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied clay with Norman Schulman and glass with Dale Chihuly.
Jillian is very active in local art associations and has worked professionally in the arts for over thirty-five years. She is a past recipient of a Fellowship in Design.
Jillian is well known for fantasy masks sculpted from individual portrait castings and imaginative, expressive mythical animals. She is inspired by natural beauty. She creates a headdress to surround each face of flowers or birds, dragons, and shells. They often have the feeling of a temple mask. The masks are richly textured and colorfully glazed combining her love of nature with the realm of symbols, archetypes, and dreams. Masks of both men and women have a peaceful, meditative beauty. One favorite is the Mask of the Greenman. Choosing a handsome, expressive face, Jillian surrounds the form with leaves and vines, glazing the piece in celadon green. The Greenman is an ancient symbol of male fertility, rebirth, and regeneration. He makes a dramatic fountain as well. Jillian's clay animals also have a life of their own. They vary from small, whimsical, pea-eating dragons to large, crouching lion-like creatures. She loves to make lacy fish, seahorses, mermaids, and turtles for the wall. Each piece is made entirely by the artist's hand of fine, white clay with textures of antique lace and shells. Each piece is individually created, painted with under glazes, and often fired three times with the addition of mother-of-pearl luster.
Jillian is also an accomplished photographer. Her work is ethereal, and earthy with a mythological feel. Jillian is a born story teller-her stories come through her heart and hands and captured and translated through her lens. Jillian's work can be seen at many galleries and shows throughout New England.