Artist Ken Barnes
My first introduction to clay was when I joined a local evening class to study pottery in England. Living in a small mining village I was surprised to find a proliferation of talented artists, who all used the local art classes as a form of artistic release and an excuse to congregate at the local pub after class. Anyone who is an artist knows that you can feed off one another and generate camaraderie, which is priceless. That was over 40 years ago and I am still fascinated with the production of a thing of function and beauty from raw clay and a few chemicals. I studied ceramics in England for several years before immigrating to Michigan in 1981 where I continued to study and foster my addiction to clay. My formal qualifications include a degree in engineering; which was useful in my role as manager of an engineering company and although it involved me in design, did not completely satisfy my creative urges to make something. Clay is the perfect medium; after a rough day one can become completely absorbed in throwing a complex form on the wheel and forget the rigors of daily life, it is also a medium in which one never ceases to learn. I taught an adult education class in ceramics before moving to Sedona in 2014. My pieces tend towards a functional nature while maintaining a unique quality normally associated with specially commissioned items. Over the years my approach to art has been one of constant evolution and, although my main interest is in wheelwork, I have continued to encompass all aspects of ceramics in order to maintain a keen interest in the art form. The resultant end product combines solid traditional form, accented by my own distinctive free-flowing glaze style. All my pieces are produced using locally acquired high-fired stoneware clays. Glazes range from commercially available base glazes to those produced individually from complex recipes developed and refined over the years. It is always assumed that the recipient of one of my pieces may at some time use it in the kitchen; consequently, all pieces are non-toxic, dishwasher and microwave proof.