Artist Spotlight: BR Clayworks

Artist Spotlight: BR Clayworks

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Barbara Roberts of BR ClayWorks shares her passion for creating fantastic clay sculptures, the perfect pairing for your holiday season decor 

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It’s beginning to look, and feel, a lot like Christmas here at The Newfoundland Herald. We’re in the spirit, as we say. Time to deck out your hall with holiday everything. 

Few do local art as well as Barbara Roberts of BR ClayWorks based out of Corner Brook, who has been pumping out hand crafted clay sculptures that perfectly pair with any holiday for years now. 

Return to sculpting 

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Born in St. Lawrence and a longtime resident of Corner Brook, Roberts began sculpting to sell in the 1990s, putting the practice on pause to concentrate on her growing family and other life and career endeavours. 

When she returned to the artform in 2014 post-retirement, she went at it hard, as they say. 

“My love for creating has grown over the years,” Roberts shared. “I have dabbled in many kinds of artwork, painting, doll-making and craft projects. But in the end, I always came back to  creating through sculpting as I found this to speak to me the most. It is solitary work and brings me peace and satisfaction.

“In 2014, I retired so I had a lot more time to pursue my personal interests,” she adds. “I created a pleasant, cheerful workspace,   started sculpting, and BR ClayWorks came to fruition.”

A worldwide hit 

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Roberts’ clay figures have been sold through the NL Emporium in Corner Brook, displayed by the Gros Morne Association at the trout River Interpretation Center and shipped and sold worldwide. 

The holiday season is naturally a busy period for Roberts. Her old world Santas and mummers, among others, are a massive hit with both collectors and shoppers alike. 

“Christmas is when I sell most of my work. Collectors buy my Santas and a lot of mummers are sold at this time,  going all over Canada and the US,” Roberts admits, adding that the advent of her social media and Etsy pages have helped with sales, exposure and the welcomed repeat customers. 

“In earlier years I didn’t have an Etsy shop or the social media that we have today. This technology has helped me get BR ClayWorks out to the public.”

Hand crafted treasures

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With a calm and comfortable workplace fit with wood ceilings, apple green walls and large windows attached to her home, sculpting and created hand crafted works offers a special kind of release for Roberts.

Pieces take upwards of three hours or longer, dependent on detail, taking seven to ten days to dry before the extensive painting process and application of a protective coating. 

The entire process requires patience and a keen eye for detail, though the end result, when done just right, is magic.

“Creating and working with clay is a way of releasing stress and bringing calm,” Roberts shares. “Working the clay and seeing a face emerge is so exciting,  and in the end, the finished product brings such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.”

For more on BR ClayWorks visit the official Etsy page, Facebook or Instagram pages or visit Roberts’ studio at 8 Brakes Road in Corner Brook. 

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