In 1979, having completed her training in the Ceramic Design Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Barbara Nanning began her career as a ceramic artist, and sought constantly to discover the limits and boundaries of that field of creativity. All the qualities of her final examination work, such as an air of stillness and an intense use of colour, were to manifest themselves emphatically in her later ceramic and glass creations and her monumental works. Nanning's work is rooted in nature. She studies crystals, jellyfish, flowers and micro-organisms, inspired by the 19th-century fascination with form, structure and geometry.
In 1994 Barbara Nanning worked with glass for the first time, at the invitation of the National Glass Museum and the Royal Leerdam Crystal glassworks. In the ensuing years, glass has come to occupy a place at the forefront of her activities. By working in different locations and glass techniques – Royal Leerdam Crystal (NL), Ajeto (CZ), Saint Gobain (FR) and recently in Cristallerie Saint Louis (FR) – she has gained an ever greater affinity with the material.
Nanning forges different worlds into a visual idiom totally her own. Classical glass-cutting, the world of modern optical glass, crealite glass panels designed with the help of the computer and the Millefiori technigue feature in her work, in surprising combinations. Nanning also brings vigorously into play the gilding of glass – a totally forgotten decorative technique that literally and figuratively enriches the sensual inner surfaces of her dishes and bowls.