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Rob Barnard was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1949. He began studying pottery at the University of Kentucky in 1971 after serving in Vietnam with the United States Marine Corps. In 1974 he was admitted to the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and accepted as a research student at Kyoto University of Fine Arts in Kyoto, Japan where he studied under the late Kazuo Yagi. While in Japan he was accepted in numerous juried exhibitions and had five solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, Otsu, and Shigaraki. In 1978 he returned to the United States and was awarded a National Endowments for the Arts Fellowship. In 1979 he completed work on a studio and kiln in Timberville, Virginia. He has returned to Japan numerous times since 1978 for solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. From 1987 to 1993, Barnard was the ceramics editor for The New Art Examiner. In 1990 he was awarded a second NEA Fellowship. Besides Japan, Barnard exhibits widely both in the United States and Great Britain. He has work in the collections of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and the American Craft Museum, the Everson Museum and the Mint Museum. Barnard has written on the crafts since the early '80s for publications like The Studio Potter, American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics—Art & Perception, Keramick and The New Art Examiner. He is currently a lecturer in ceramics at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

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