Dee Barnes

Gwen John in a Red Dress


A rounded square vase with slip and underglazes.

A square vase depicting the self portrait of Gwen John in a red dress.

The patterns around the vase were inspired by a 16th century Turkish tankard Dee saw in the Guggenheim museum in Lisbon.

Dee has been working with clay for over 40 years, she is a studio potter based in Grantham, where she creates hand-built ceramics using earthenware clay and favouring traditional techniques including coiling and slab building. Each piece is decorated using underglazes, slips and gold lustre resulting in intricate and narrative designs, crafting one-of-a-kind pieces.

Embracing a naïve painterly style, Dee finds inspiration in the simplicity and charm of traditional folk art, Staffordshire figurines and the Georgian era.

Dee's creative process is guided by intuition, allowing the clay to dictate its own path and the shape of each piece to influence its decoration. This organic approach infuses a sense of spontaneity and authenticity into her work, resulting in pieces that possess both artistic allure and functional appeal.

All the works are related to each other. Some of the jars and vases with houses on belong to the women whose portraits are on some of the pieces. The gardens shown in some of the paintings are the gardens lie within the grounds of the houses. The Vases and jars sit on the shelves or mantlepieces in dining rooms and sitting rooms in these houses where the women live.

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