Conference of the birds c.1989, by Barbara Swarbrick



Barbara Swarbrick| Conference of the birds (c.1989) | terracotta and glaze | Acquired 1989. 

Barbara Swarbrick is a Manchester-born ceramicist. She trained in fine art and design in England, working as a teacher before migrating to Australia in 1974. Following her move to Thornbury, Victoria, Swarbrick began working with ceramics through the creation of pinched, slab-built and coiled pieces constructed using porcelain, stoneware, earthenware and terracotta.

Although she employs a diverse range of materials, commonality in Swarbrick’s practice can be found in colourful underglazes and painted slips. Functional forms, as evidenced in her Conference of the birds (1989), are often decorated with various bright foliage and Australian animals; saturated equally by the colours and drama of the bushland.  

Early Years Interpretation

Barbara Swarbrick is a ceramicist who was born in England and began working with clay after retiring from teaching. Barbara is known for her richly coloured images of birds surrounded by the Australian environment.

This artwork is called Conference of the Birds (c.1989) and has been decoratively painted with Australian birds in their natural environment. How many birds can you spot? Do you know their names?