Five questions with artist Anna Barlow

By Bridget Arsenault
As part of an initiative to provide creative workspaces, Ballymore is protecting the city’s artistic spaces with its seven on-site studios, which are fast-becoming home to a thriving community of artists. The Islander talks to City Island-based artist Anna Barlow.


Your studio is on City Island, tell us about your walk from the station to work every day?

I treasure my walk from Canning Town tube station. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing the water as I escape the station; every day it’s different depending on the light. I especially love the low tide. Being an artist who uses clay, I am fascinated by the mud formations left behind, the earthy smell and all the little footprints tracking paths by the river birds.


What is the ambiance like around your studio?

It’s a very calm space. I am addicted to Radio 4 and my Audible account, so there is always a voice rumbling away. My studio looks directly over the river. Throughout the day, it’s lovely to observe the changing light over the water, the changing of the tides, the birds and the odd boat!



What inspires you about the surrounds?

I cross the big red bridge, which cuts such a brilliant contrast amongst its natural surroundings. I’ve always loved bright colours, so I really appreciate the vibrancy of the architecture on City Island-it kind of makes me think of Lego sets.


Tell me about the materials you use?

I use many types of clay, from a low-firing white earthenware, to high-fired black clay to beautiful translucent bone china. I also spend a lot of time working with glaze and coloured slips that I mix myself. I get all my materials from a London supplier called Ceramatech in North London.


How do you stay creative?

I’m always looking at new cakes and sugary things, as well as how and when people would eat them – there is always an interesting drama gound around a cake! I am also inspired by new materials available, or tools that I can find. A lot of my tools are actually for cake decorating – one of my favorite shops is Party Party in Dalston, which has every type of icing cutter!

'I treasure my walk from Canning Town tube. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing the water as I escape the station, every day it's different depending on the light.'
Anna Barlow
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