Jessica Hans Interview and Collaboration: Strata Studs and Ceramic Pieces

By Roxy on August 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Bario Neal interviews Jessica Hans and Anna Bario.

Jessica, you are known for your functional ceramic sculptures, but I read that you originally had a background in textiles. Does this still influence your work today?

J: Yes, it’s true that I previously worked in textiles. I studied textiles in undergrad and focused predominately in weaving and print design. I spend a lot of time thinking about pattern and surfaces through print design and weaving, and I incorporate a lot of those themes into the way that I work with clay. I typically include some type of pattern element on the surfaces of my objects and am very interested in extreme texture and glaze.

How do you balance art and functionality?

J: It’s really important to me that I retain some sense of functionality in the work that I make, even if it’s to the slightest degree. Many of my vase forms are barely functional, with a couple of holes spread almost randomly throughout the object or with glazes full of craters covering the surface. I prefer to balance right on the edge of sculptural art object while keeping the piece functional. The earring collaboration as well as the jewelry trays are are just that; I think of them as useable or wearable art objects.

Some of the textures on the ceramic pieces mimic natural rock formations like pumice and slate, while others are smooth and brightly colored. I’ve read that you sometimes use rocks and gravel from places you’ve visited in your pieces. Do you experiment with glazes? What glazes did you choose for the earring pieces? How was it working on a smaller scale for the ceramic pieces?

J: I do often experiment with different additives in my clay bodies and glazes. I add foraged rock pieces to the wet clay as I’m building vases and sometimes mix gravel into clear glazes that I’m working with. At high temperatures some of the rocks and gravel begin to get glassy and melt out, especially the iron-rich bits. I have a couple of glaze recipes that I’ve come across in the past couple of years that are especially textured and weird. I use a lava glaze recipe for one of the earring styles.. it’s definitely one of my favorites. I work with these glazes alongside some very bright, fun commercial glazes that pop much more than the earthy crater recipes. I especially like the contrast between the two surfaces.

Working on a smaller scale for the earrings hasn’t been a problem. It’s been an interesting challenge because I typically prefer to work larger, but it’s a nice chance to step outside of my comfort zone and really focus on the small earring pieces. It’s been fun for me thinking about the relationship that the ceramic piece has with Anna’s earring stud. I keep this relationship in mind for each of the shapes that I make.

How did you both decide on earrings as a collaboration? How long has this collaboration been in the works?
A: Earrings were the first idea we had for the collaboration. Page & I have talked for years about doing a mix and match series of earrings- they are so gratifying- and this seemed like a great way to bring variation to simple studs. Jessica ran with it. It was at least a year ago that we first met to talk about a collaboration. Our first session we explored some wilder ideas like firing metal alloys & ceramics together in the kiln.
A lot of the pieces in Bario Neal’s boutique collection are cast from natural objects like shells, fossils, shale, et cetera.  Anna, how were the studs fabricated? What was your process in creating the studs?
A: I wanted the studs to integrate with Jessica’s pieces, and to have a similar feel. I actually made the oirignal models for all the studs in clay, and then we made wax models based off those clay pieces.
What are your inspirations?
J: I am definitely inspired by geology, rock formations, volcanos, sea creatures, plants; much of nature in general. I’m interested in chemistry and raw materials. I also look at the work of a number of creative people including ceramic artists Jun Kaneko for his pattern on ceramic and Peter Voulkos for his towering functional sculpture. I really love the graphic pattern qualities of Keith Haring’s illustrations. I look at a lot of fashion designers, especially Eckhaus Latta for their weird textures and Céline for their choice of colors.

Visit Jessica Hans’ website and view her work here and buy the Strata Studs and Ceramic Pieces here.

Roundtable Discussion on Responsible Gold Mining Hosted by JA and NRF

By Roxy on July 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Aurelsa Fairmined Gold Ready for Export


Fairmined Gold from Aurelsa

We’re excited to let you know that Anna Bario, co-owner of Bario Neal, will be a part of a roundtable discussion on the importance of responsible gold sourcing, hosted by Jewelers of America (JA) and National Retail Federation (NRF).

“Gold and other minerals have been known to fuel unspeakable violence in Congo and the surrounding region, when mined and traded illegally by armed groups who use them to finance their activities.” says Holly Dranginis, Policy Associate at the Enough Project, a Washington-based nonprofit. “Jewelry companies have a major role to play in curbing that violence and improving the conditions for peace by developing responsible sourcing practices.”

You can register for the event here.

Australian Diamonds

By Anna on July 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Bario Neal is proud to offer ethical, traceable Australian diamonds. Currently, all of our Australian diamonds originate from the Argyle Diamond Mine (ADM) in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia. We are also exploring a new source for rough diamonds from the Ellendale Diamond Mine, in West Kimberley, but for this post we’ll focus on the Argyle Mine.

Far from any populated areas, in a region of precipitous mountains and severe cliffs that descend into lakes and rivers reflecting the bright red soils and deep green scrubby foliage, lies the Argyle Diamond Mine. The Argyle mine is the world’s only significant producer of rare pink diamonds, and produces a large portion of the world’s supply of naturally colored diamonds, including champagne, cognac, and rare blue diamonds. The Ellendale mine is especially known for its production of rare yellow diamonds.

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Reading: The Death of Satao, The Ivory Trade and NY’s Ivory Ban, Silenced on Fracking, and One Year Since DOMA

By Roxy on July 9, 2014 at 11:00 am

Recently, Satao, Kenya’s largest elephant with tusks that reached the ground, was slaughtered at the hands of poachers involved with the ivory trade. Kenya has only less than a dozen Tuskers left.  This is sad, gruesome news, especially for the conservationists keeping a watchful eye on the last of this megafauna.

New York recently banned the sale of ivory and rhino horn:

The Wildlife Conservation Society, Natural Resources Defense Council and The Humane Society of the United States praised the New York State Legislature today for passing landmark legislation that bans the sale and purchase of elephant ivory and rhino horn. It now goes to Governor Cuomo where it is anticipated he will sign it into law.

The legislation amends the state’s environmental law to ban elephant ivory sales with only a few exceptions for antiques with small amounts of ivory, certain instruments made before 1975, and transfers for educational and scientific purposes or through the distribution of estates.


Via NPR, Former State Health Employees Say They Were Silenced on Drilling.

This is disturbing coming from our home state of Pennsylvania. State health employees were not allowed to respond to residents’ concerns about natural gas drilling and their health. There are a number of illnesses that may have been linked to fracking including nausea, nosebleeds, rashes, as well as other complaints.

 For drilling-related calls, Stuck said she and her fellow employees were told just to take the caller’s name and number and forward the information to a supervisor.

“And somebody was supposed to call them back and address their concerns,” she said, adding that she never knew whether these callbacks occurred.

Sometimes, Stuck said, people would call again, angry they had not heard back from anyone from the department.

Stuck did not usually answer the phone at the Uniontown office. But on the few occasions when she did pick up and the caller was making a drilling-related complaint, she never found out what happened after she passed the information on to her supervisor.

Stuck said she has spoken to employees working in other state health centers who received the same list of buzzwords and the same instructions on how to deal with drilling-related calls.

“People were saying: Where’s the Department of Health on all this?” Stuck said. “The bottom line was we weren’t allowed to say anything. It’s not that we weren’t interested.”

Marshall Deasy worked in the Bureau of Epidemiology in Harrisburg for more than 20 years, retiring last June. Deasy was a primary investigator of food- and waterborne outbreaks and his work put him in contact with community health nurses across the state, such as Tammi Stuck.

He said some nurses told him they were not allowed to respond to complaints about gas drilling.

In his office in Harrisburg, Deasy said the subject of natural gas development was considered “taboo” and was not openly discussed among fellow employees.

However, he was aware that a colleague in the Bureau of Epidemiology was maintaining a list of drilling-related calls. When reached by StateImpact Pennsylvania, that person declined to comment.

In lighter news, it has been more than a year since the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act was struck down!! Since then, many states have struck down their gay marriage bans, including mostly recently, Kentucky. I know I say this often, and the fight for equality in America still has a long way to go, but luckily, we are on the right path towards marriage equality in the US.

Custom Allium Ring in Progress

By Roxy on June 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Here are photos of one of our jewelers, Jen, working on a custom ring last month. The customer has already proposed and is now happily engaged!



Fairmined Gold Now Available On Our Website

By Roxy on June 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

We are excited to announce that Fairmined gold is now available on our website in all of our wedding bands and engagement rings! Read more about Fairmined Gold..

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Same Sex Marriage Now Legal in our state of PA, and Wisconsin’s ban is lifted!

By Roxy on June 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Finally, on May 20th, the ban on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania was overturned by Federal Judge John Jones. We’re elated to find out our friends, family, and customers can now officially get married in their home state of PA and receive the rights that they’re entitled to as couples (via The Washington Post)!!!

Wisconsin has also overturned their band on same-sex marriage,  while North Dakota’s ban is being challenged.

Weekend reading: Chaco, Fracking and America’s National Parks

By Roxy on May 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Yesterday, I was pointed towards an EarthWorks action to protect Chaco culture against fracking near New Mexico’s rich and historic Chaco Culture National Park.  In the search for more information about the park itself and proposals to drill within the vicinity of the park, I found a great article on the fight to protect the land, as well as an interesting interactive infographic depicting national parks and the effects of fracking around their vicinities.

“Although a number of other parks are under threat, including the Delaware Water Gap, and Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone, and Glacier national parks, Chaco Culture is particularly vulnerable. It encompasses the largest site of Chacoan ruins, which date back at least a millennium and contain a remarkable set of masonry structures that served its inhabitants as a ritual, ceremonial, and communal center for 300 years or so. Pueblo Bonito, for instance, is thought to have been the world’s largest apartment building housing upwards of 1,300 people, a size not eclipsed until the late 1880s.”

The article can be found here. Be sure to check out the interactive map.

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10 year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts

By Roxy on May 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

via Freedom to Marry

10 years ago on May 17th, Massachusetts became the first state in the US to make same-sex marriage legal. Since then, 16 more states have deemed the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and other states are beginning to follow. Even though the fight for marriage equality has progressed significantly, there is still work to be done, as 33 states still have same-sex marriage bans in effect. This story of Ralph and Paul, one of the first gay couples to get married in Massachusetts, is touching and we thought we’d share.

Photos from GW Nebinger’s Educational Garden!

By Roxy on May 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

Courtesy of the school and Lisa French. This looks amazing. Don’t miss the Bario Neal and Philly Foodworks event this Saturday from 12-3 PM supporting Nebinger elementary school’s garden.


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