The Best Rhode Island Potter…

Charlie Barmonde was recently named the best potter in Rhode Island by RI Monthly, an unexpected but welcomed honor to the young artist and Little Compton resident, who has greeted his artistic life with humble ambition. 35-year-old Barmonde describes his work as a “gratifying, intellectual as well as physical exercise,” but more than that, ceramics for Charlie is a full-time job. He works in his own studio in Little Compton drawing on his passion and knowledge of a life by the sea. “I spent my life sailing…I have a strong connection to the ocean,” he says. His pieces range from functional dining-ware to sculptural works of marine-inspired art.

Charlie moved from Long Island at the age of 16 and followed a meandering academic path involving a mix of ceramics and art history. He traveled the country honing his skills, and serving other respected potters through various jobs and apprenticeships. Charlie also spent time as a gallery owner for an arts collaborative in New Bedford along with other local artists. Now, with his roots well planted in RI, Charlie’s recent years have been spent prioritizing his family life and evolving ceramic work in his private studio.

Of all artistic works, Charlie says, ceramics provide the most direct connection between the artist and consumer. Only ceramics allow you to see, and actually feel the hands of the maker, transforming buying a mug or bowl into a truly intimate experience. This sensuous and tactile nature of the craft is what drew Charlie in from the beginning, guiding his functional and gorgeous line of pottery. His work has grown to include conceptual sculptural pieces that provide a vessel for expressing his love of the nautical world. Charlie aims to provide affordable handmade art, and hopes to extend his line to be even more accessible in the future, so that everyone can appreciate art easily, and often.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Charlie is a proud member of the region, bursting with varied seasoned artists who’ve all discovered a similar affinity for the southcoast. Unlike other larger art districts, the backroads of the southcoast seem to inspire an older, more assured talent. The SCA, or SouthCoast Artists is a non-profit organization that has recognized the value of this area’s multitude of artists, and has gone through lengths to connect them together as part of a larger group, providing the public with ample opportunities for art-appreciation. This weekend is the second round of SCA “Studio Tours” this summer where Charlie, along with many other artists, will be open and throwing pottery, and hopefully selling a few pieces. You can visit him this weekend or anytime by appointment. And then you can congratulate this inspiring artist and well-deserved recipient of the title, best.

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