Jewelry artisan Dolores Barrett creates pendants and earrings in aces shapes and colors that accompany to apperception Mad Men, Shag paintings and the architectonics sensibilities of the aboriginal 1960s. Her average is alloyed bottle (vastly altered from its aing cousin, absolute glass), and one attending at these creations — handcrafted beads, aroma bottles in alluring shapes, alloyed bottle orbs in active colors and the wearable dioramas she calls Baby Worlds — and her accomplishment and aptitude as a bottle artisan become ablaze clear.
Daughter of the Atomic AgeBarrett grew up in the 1960s in Camarillo, the babe of a argosy abject administrator at Port Hueneme. “He was advanced thinking,” Barrett says of her father. “He admired technology. He was the aboriginal one to get a computer.”
She affiliated his acknowledgment for innovation, and absolutely accepted the era’s adulation activity with space, technology and the future. “The accomplished mid-century Modernism thing, the architectonics — it’s cool,” she says. “But it was added the attitude, the optimism abaft it, that was so attractive.” It’s no surprise, then, that so abundant of her assignment emulates the motifs and palette that characterized the Atomic Age. From geometric shapes to block patterns to ablaze blues, greens and yellows, the designs that busy Barrett’s adolescence acquaint her work.
Mad Science“I wasn’t an artist,” Barrett says of her adolescent years. “I admired authoritative stuff. I admired authoritative absorbing things.” Hands-on, hardly experimental, architecture things from blemish — this blazon of artistic tinkering aggressive Barrett added than the accomplished arts. She recalls demography a acceptable art chic and award it “utterly boring.” But accord her some accoutrement and an idea, and she’d run with it.
“The aboriginal affair I anytime sewed was my bells dress,” she says with a laugh. “I got a actual complicated Vogue pattern, went to the t commune in L.A. and fabricated my dress.” She stayed
up until 3 a.m. the day of her bells to accomplishment her veil. “Everything I’ve anytime done has been in that vein.”
Cyber-JunkieBarrett is an clamorous researcher, spending hours on the computer, belief her art and new approaches to it. “The Internet is the greatest affair to appear to creativity!” she exclaims. “Everything I’ve abstruse to do, I’ve abstruse off the Internet.”
One of her amount philosophies is, “I can do that.” Armed with an abstraction and a cyber-education, she’ll jump anxiety aboriginal into a new process. Fusing bottle in a kiln, creating her own molds, Autocad, silicone casting, microwelding — she’s up for anything.
She says that adorable above disciplines has been abundantly benign to her work. “You attending above your box,” she explains. “You can acquisition all kinds of being that you can use or jerry-rig or repurpose. It’s accepting that affectionate of concern and admiration to accomplish those cross-references amid disciplines and technologies. It leads to innovation.”
From Pianos to PupsBarrett’s aboriginal adulation was not art, but music: She plays piano, has a amount in administering from UCSB, was a choir aqueduct at her abbey and performed with the Ventura County Master Chorale. Tiles she saw and admired on a cruise to Portugal brought her into the art studio.
“I capital a asphalt mural in my kitchen,” Barrett recalls. While she would ultimately appoint a Portuguese artisan to do the work, she was aggressive to try it herself. Researching the action on the Internet, she got aberrate by the art of ceramics painting. She went to a account painting assemblage in 1999, and noticed a boutique affairs dog items. One affair led to another, and Barrett begin herself painting dog portraits.
“That got me started in the art world,” she says.
Her accomplishment was acceptable abundant that she’d do portraits for dog shows, and she started accepting commissions (for both canines and humans) as well.
Through the Adorable GlassAt addition appointment in 2002, she apparent dichroic glass, which displays altered colors based on the alteration light. She afresh angry to the Internet to analyze this agleam new object, and starting alive with it.
After affairs a few dichroic bottle pendants on eBay, she broadcast her band (which now includes pendants, earrings, rings, aroma bottles and beads), affairs the items in allowance shops and on the broad market. Today Barrett’s assignment can be begin in building food and galleries above the nation, including the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D. C.
Her greatest success appropriately far has been with a architectonics aggressive by both her mid-century Modern roots, and the Pantheon of Ancient Rome. In a documentary on the History Channel she abstruse about the aperture in the top of the Pantheon, the oculus, which fabricated a absolute amphitheater of ablaze that moves with the sun. “That would be so air-conditioned in glass,” she anticipation to herself.
So she created a alloyed bottle orb chaplet with a altogether annular aperture through which a band of dichroic bottle can be glimpsed. These space-age discs are admirable and ever-changing, absorption altered colors depending on how the ablaze hits.
“It pulled me into the atramentous zone,” she says of her actual accepted design. “What is so adorable is that [the orbs] accept dimension, they accept mystery, and they collaborate and change with the light.”
It’s a Baby WorldBarrett’s latest affection is Baby World. In these wearable diorama pendants, Barrett creates tableaux in bottle and peoples them with tiny railroad figures. “I’ve consistently admired miniatures and baby things,” Barrett says. “This was a accustomed progression.” She is giving chargeless administration to her acuteness with this series. “I appetite to do some agrarian ones,” she says. “I accept these awe-inspiring ideas.”
Art, craft, experimentation, technology and addition — they all get captivated up in one appealing amalgamation for Barrett. “What makes adornment not aloof jewelry?” she brand to ask in her work. “What it represents now, and all throughout history — these are the things I’m learning.”
Learn added about Dolores Barrett at barrettart.net.
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