Barry Krzywicki

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Barry Krzywicki has been a studio potter for more than 35 years.  He exhibits his wood-fired and glazed work both in the US and abroad.  In Denver, his work can be seen at the Kirkland Museum.  He has taught ceramics at Naropa University, Arapahoe Community College, the Mizel Center for the Arts and the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities.  In 2015 Barry was an artist-in-residence at the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall, UK and has participated in residencies at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and the Taller Cultural Luis Diaz Oduardo, in Santiago de Cuba.

He has led Spanish ceramic history tours, lectured on the history of Spanish and Mexican ceramics and has researched Spanish Lusterware and Majolica.  His article “Reflejo metalico cocido con romero” (Lusterware fired with rosemary) was published in the Madrid based magazine Revista Ceramica.  He has visited folk pottery villages from the Amazon rainforest in Peru to southern Spain, as well as in Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Japan, India and Thailand.  He continues to learn and document how village potters adapt to forces of change imposed by contemporary society.

Concerning his own work he says:

“As a ceramic artist, I am intrigued by the visual definition of form and its nuances.  I employ many of the same processes that folk potters utilize.  Production concerns were previously tied to societal needs to stock provisions, store liquids, cook, and serve food.  Today, practical functions have given way to artistic concerns, where one’s creative voice is of paramount importance.

For me, the creative process is a profound transformational experience.  I would never have predicted that when I first began working in clay my work would have the character that it does today.  As I repeat the act of making a piece, it goes through a gradual evolution, which results from a series of minute adjustments and small discoveries over time.  I strive to pay close attention to these shifts.  Working in a contemplative manner guides the spirit of exploration during this journey.

The final stage of the transformational process is the firing.  Glazed work is spectacular in its own way, whereas wood firing leaves unique, unpredictable effects on the ware.  A raging furnace melts ash to glaze, vitrifies clay and leaves unique, unpredictable effects on the ware.  Control must be relinquished to the firing, knowing that there is a tremendous risk involved.

At times I wish I had been born a hundred years earlier and could have visited pottery villages that have now vanished.  If not for museums, there would be no existing record of this cultural legacy.  I am drawn to old pots full of vitality, which have been used lovingly, cared for and passed down through generations.  I hope that some of my own work may become part of this cycle, as I record my own experience through this age-old craft.”