Barbara Finsness lives and works on the magical island of Bermuda, where she draws inspiration from the bright colors, island cottages, flowers and sea life of this pristine, semi-tropical paradise. Barbara creates her original designs in her home studio, preferring to create them by hand at her drawing board.
Barbara works with experienced artisans all over the world who translate her designs onto a variety of high-quality, hand-made products including Italian ceramics, linens, embroidered pillows, hand towels, tableware and more. Each product embodies her distinctive style and incorporates the unique floral, architectural and nautical elements of the island. Prints of her original artwork are also available in her island shops and online.
“I remember painting my first oil on canvas at the age of 6 – a very small landscape. It wasn’t until the age of 15 that I discovered the magic of watercolours and it has been the medium that has captivated me ever since. Watercolours lend themselves not only to spontaneous and vibrant depictions of nature but can be wonderfully controlled for textiles and ceramic designs.
My work now – from the smallest embroidery image to the largest landscape reflects the beauty and colours of my home – Bermuda.”
Barbara has also designed exclusive pieces for the Bermuda Society of Arts, the National Gallery, the Bermuda Botanical Society, the Eliza Dolittle Society and for private individuals.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Barbara studied Fine Art at Moore College of Art and earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Drexel University. Barbara was first introduced to the island of Bermuda in 1981. She married Bermudian Ken Finsness and the island quickly became the home where they would raise their 4 children.
Barbara worked as an architect for many years, while raising her family. She also fell in love with Italian pottery while on a business trip to Italy with her husband, who worked in the clothing industry. Barbara eventually began painting her own pottery after taking pottery classes where she learned traditional European pottery painting techniques.
In 2001, Barbara began selling her hand-painted pottery to local shops in Bermuda. She produced over 2000 designs in the first two years. The response to her work was so positive that Barbara decided to open her own shop on the island. That first space was only 10×12, but allowed her to showcase all of her collections together, allowing customers to mix, match and coordinate their purchases. She eventually expanded to a larger shop with more street presence.
Today, Barbara runs three unique shops on the island of Bermuda and continues to create new designs that are introduced each spring.