Barb Crosbie is a potter, “mess maker,” biologist, and steward of the earth. A nature-inspired artist who incorporates all of these elements in her work, family made lace doilies are adorned with shells, bark, leaves, seeds…platters and bird pieces utilize wood fragments found on hikes.
“Slow growing trees and shrubs in Utah provide the best wood for handles,” said Crosbie, who is busy packing for the upcoming move back to the Ogden area. Her hand-carved stamps express her love of biking, skiing and hiking.
Crosbie’s return will reunite the original four artists of Sage Art: jewelry-maker Amie Preston, contemporary expressionist painter Kate Bruce, watercolorist Susan Synder, and Crosbie are friends, business partners, and artistic collaborators who came together with a shared vision for nature-inspired art, teaching small groups, and being a part of the community.
Seeking to connect with people, Crosbie’s intention is to design clay into forms that reflect a part of her story. Fish, canoes, and mugs, all speak to her time as a field biologist gliding through the water in a canoe with a steaming mug of hot coffee in hand with fish silently and secretly swimming underneath. Some of her fish art is inspired by the salmon spawning in Ogden Valley’s Causey Reservoir.
“Inspiration abounds in the outdoors for me and Utah is a stellar place for it!” Crosbie said. “I like to spend part of my day outside every day.” Roots in water (her previous occupation was in Water Quality in Canada) influences fish and critter art with birds and bugs, but moving to Utah inspired further interest in recreating patterns found in nature.
The results of Utah-inspired nature patterns are expressed in Crosbie’s water and wood line of pottery, with an animal collection indicating the biologist inside her “is alive and well.”
Crosbie’s career in clay started in Canada, studying under some solid potters at DVSA. After moving to northern Utah, she became largely self-sufficient while still learning on her own and in various workshops and classes. Crosbie shared her enthusiasm for clay with kids and adults around her by teaching small classes. Then a move to upstate New York involved her in setting up a community studio with Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, New York where she sold items and continued to spread the joy of working in clay. During her time back in Utah she started a community studio of her own and found great joy in bringing people together with clay as the unifying ground. She has recently been residing in Birmingham Alabama “muddying her world” daily.
“The animals that we share this world with are often a focal point of my work, whether they are sculpted and carved, stamped or molded,” Crosbie stated of her whimsical and minimized figures, in which she said key adaptive and identifying characteristics are emphasized.
Earth in Art Pottery, Crosbie’s artistic brand, is a true representation of who she is. “I take what I see in nature, wherever I may live or travel, and duplicate it, with an added twist or an embellishment,” her website states.
“I enjoy the challenge of taking a moment in time, a carefully noted observation or the deconstruction of an environment and recreating it in clay,” she said. At the end of this week, Crosbie will be living and recreating her reflections in Utah.
Crosbie’s artwork can be viewed and purchased inside the Sage Art Studio at The Monarch. She also teaches classes with the other artists of Sage Art. Visit sageartutah.com or earthinartpottery.com for more information about classes and products.