What’s better than an Oreo cookie? When you finish eating dinner and that sweet, chocolatey craving kicks in, would you deny it if someone were to offer you one? The creamy vanilla filling sandwiched between two chocolate cookies, both races of flavor living side by side, a perfect compliment to one another…I know I would give in.
Though we may not sell Oreos here at Lisa-Marie’s, we’ve got a new ceramicist that uses color contrast to her advantage. Barbora McCrillis, though a new artist featured in the shop, has actually been with us for the past 4 years. If you’ve visited the Portland location, you’ve most likely been graced with one of her friendly welcomes, her help with gift advice or custom orders, or have noticed an ever-changing window display with colors and themes that vary month-to-month. Credit goes to our Portland store manager, Barb, whose creativity in her spare time has allowed her to bring new gifts into the shop.
Barb has dabbled in many art forms throughout her college career: painting, drawing, pastels, ceramics–and honestly, if you’ve seen her work, it’s safe to say she has excelled in every one. As much as she has invested time and enjoyment in each, ceramics is where she found she can utilize her skills the most…and have the most fun 🙂
Her work is hand-built, which means she does not “throw” or use a wheel. Instead she forms her clay into plates, dessert bowls, mugs, and cheese boards only by using her hands and a few molding techniques. She is inspired by textures, patterns, and colors wherever she goes and incorporates them into her work. Her love of triangles, asymmetry, and organic shapes are evident and distinguish her work from others.
Barb uses two techniques to decorate her pieces: she either paints or uses a tool to sgraffito and create patterns or designs with her glazes. “Sgraffito,” which in Italian translates “to scratch,” is a decorating technique where a layer of liquid clay is applied to a leather hard pottery piece. When dry, the artist then scratches the superficial layer to form a design and reveal the base clay color underneath. At this point, the piece can be kiln fired for the first time, and if wanted, colored glazes can be applied before a second firing.
So far, we have an eclectic mix of black and white designs, but she has been playing with color, too. From allowing the burnt orange color of natural clay to be seen under a sheen of black glaze to painting a beautiful ocean-inspired scene in hues of blue and green, she will continue to build upon her stock here at the shop. But remember, each piece is handmade, so if you see something you like you’d better snatch it (before I do)!