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Self-taught potter to tell her story at West Overton

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:09 p.m.

In a unique pairing of community outreach and art, West Overton Village and Museums have been spotlighting local artists monthly, bringing their talents to the forefront, while also offering the education and artist experience in the wonderful historic setting of the site.

For this month's installation of Wednesdays at West Overton, talented potter and painter Barbara Bailey of Connellsville will be bringing in examples of her pottery and telling those in attendance how she became an artist and a little about her creations.

“I'm going to tell my story,” Bailey said of the lecture and display that will feature her pottery and also a few of her paintings. “I enjoy talking to people about my work.”

Self taught, Bailey became inspired to try her hand at pottery after finding some pieces of discarded pottery 20 years ago.

“I was in Pensacola, Fla., and my niece took me to a place near the beach where there were these big sand hills,” Bailey said. “In that sand, we found pottery shards. I never really knew who had put them there, but I later found out that they were pre-Columbian. In all my travels and in all the places that I lived, I always kept them with me.”

Bailey said it was these very shards that inspired her to try to replicate the design and function of the pieces.

“I decided that I wanted to try to re-create those pieces,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she began the process of creating her art and has worked at it ever since.

“I am self-taught,” Bailey said. “I didn't have any teachers, so it probably took me a little longer to do it, but what I make now is different then anybody else's work.”

Bailey has created something that she calls “Slabwork” and will be talking about this form at the lecture.

“I use a rolling pin and roll out the clay and press things from nature into the clay,” Bailey said. “It makes some truly beautiful patterns.”

Bailey then fires the pieces in her kiln.

Bailey said she is always honing her talents and working on different ways to create art.

Also a teacher, Bailey said she enjoys working with children and adults alike and also recently began to paint abstract works.

“I have been painting for years,” Bailey said. “I have always been a realistic painter, but this past year I began to paint abstracts and this show at West Overton will be the first time that I will be showing these paintings to the public.”

Bailey will be talking about her work and her experiences starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Light refreshments also will be served.

Bailey rarely does public lectures, but said when contacted by West Overton, and the facility is thrilled to welcome the local artist who has created such unique treasures.

“We hope that you can come join us as showcase the work of artist Barbara Bailey,” said Jessica Kadie-Barclay, West Overton managing director. “Wednesdays at West Overton provide a break in the mid-week and it's the perfect venue to come and meet your friends and neighbors.”

There also will be live entertainment and there is a suggested donation of $5.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.