City Guides » Artists Registry

Barbara Bowling

Enamel, Metal

I have been compelled to make things for all of my remembered life. My fear of starvation kept me from pursuing a vocation in art, so I‘ve spent the better part of my professional life working as a plant scientist—always making things whenever I could fit them in. During this time, I worked in numerous media: hand spinning, weaving, knitting and felting extensively. I also learned to create via stained glass while I was a graduate student in plant physiology. However, my heart always returned to the metalsmithing and enameling classes I took as a freshman and sophomore at Montgomery Junior College. I was, and continue to be, inspired by the small canvas and the opportunity for small works of art that enameling and metal fabrication present. I also love the notion that these small expressions can be distributed to others, enhancing their sense of individuality and adornment. I am a “process-junkie,” endlessly fascinated by different techniques for manipulating materials. As a former professor, I embrace educational activities, both as teacher and student. I realize that while I have ideas in abundance, I also need the tools and the techniques to realize my visions. To that end, gathering new ideas and processes is a cornerstone of my life as an artist. My work is heavily influenced by my past career in plant science. Plant and animal forms and the flowing curves so common in nature characterize much of my work. The themes of harmony and abundance, and the colors of the cultivated and native landscape are those that inspire me. Because I am a scientist, I am also a rationalist. My work tends to be straightforward. My goal is to create things that are beautiful and meaningful to me, but I also love whimsy. I create to connect to the world around me, but also because it is simply in my nature to make things: to bring form to the formless, order to chaos, an evocative object where there once was none.