Barrie is a native of New England, where he loved to spend his free time running around in the woods. He still enjoys spending time outdoors — his favorite activities include fishing, hiking, camping, gardening, and making wine. In junior high and high school, he got interested in ceramics, and from there moved on to glassblowing.
Barrie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York State College of Ceramics in 1981, and in 1983 he came to Champaign – Urbana for his Master of Fine Arts in glass sculpture. Here he designed, built, and ran the glass department for editions in cast paper for Frank Gallo.
During this time, he also started Glass Lake Studio, producing decorative and functional blown glass. For the past twenty years, he has been selling his work through art fairs, galleries, shows, and commissions, offering workshops and lessons, and winning numerous awards. He pulls from many glass-blowing traditions to create his artwork, frequently using images from nature.
Barrie has known Julie (Vogel) Birdwell, co-owner of New Prairie, since 1984, when they were glass-blowing partners during studio classes at the U of I. Like Julie, Barrie is very interested in building greener living spaces and sustainable energy resources, and he loves to work with his hands. This led him to begin work for New Prairie in March 2010.
Below are a few examples of Barrie’s work. Visit Glass Lake Studio for more pictures and information.