More About Barb
Prior to beginning this colorful journey, I received my Ph.D. in sociology from Penn State University While raising two daughters in beautiful upstate New York, I worked as a writer, author (The Breastfeeding Cafe: Mothers Share the Joys, Challenges and Secrets of Nursing, Univ. of Michigan Press, 2005), speaker, and organizational leader, and since 2008 have been the owner of Ceremonies and Event Planning of the Finger Lakes, a small business specializing in weddings and other social events. I am a Humanist officiant. (www.ceremoniesandevents.com) and have been fortunate to have officiated at over 80 weddings. In 2017, I joined the Board of Trustees of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY. I have lived in the same house since 1992 (with the same lovely man since 1990) and never tire of looking out the windows into the beautiful, surrounding woods. And, finally, (since 2008) this little face exuberantly greets anyone who visits.
I am a mostly self-taught fabric and mixed-media artist, who, in 1998, when pregnant with my second child, began making traditional quilts. It happened by accident. A friend's bed quilt was on display in a local quilt show and I went to support her. I was instantly enthralled! An hour later I had signed up for an introductory quilting class and splurged on $60.00 worth of fabric.
The creative impulse continued and eventually I looked for ways to create my own designs, first based on traditional blocks (designed by others) and later jettisoning blocks all together to create my own designs.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am. Now that my youngest daughter is in college, I am able to devote more time and attention to creating art. I've enjoyed workshops with several inspirational artists: Rosalie Dace, Pat Pauly and Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer, as well as the occasional class at my local quilting store, the fabulous Quilter's Corner in Ithaca, NY.
Finding out who I am as an artist has been a process of discovery. I do not have formal training. I am impulsive, impatient and indecisive and matching points is an exercise in frustration. But rather than viewing these qualities negatively, I have come to embrace them. I have found ways of working that convert these "liabilities" into assets.
Often I work improvisationally. Much of my recent work is based on a process of piecing two units together, slashing them in a different direction, adding another piece, slashing again, and piecing some more until I have a mini composition. I repeat the process many times. I then combine these small compositions with other fabrics until I have a satisfying composition, after which I create a quilt "sandwich," quilt the layers together, and add decorative stitching and accents. Sometimes I place this larger composition on a larger background of quilted fabric or painted canvas. Other times I forego the slashing and stitching process and piece fabrices and papers directly on to a background surface.
The common threads in much of my work (no pun intended! are a fascination and passion for color, composition and collage, and the sandwiching of layers via decorative stitching. Overall, my goal is to create vibrant and colorful abstract compositions that surprise the viewer and delight the eye.
Since coming out of the artist's closet in 2017, my work has been displayed at the Ithaca Artist Market, The Community Arts Partnership, The Tompkins Trust Company, Sew Shannon, and Transformations Hair Salon. I am a member of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail and, most recently, the Schweinfurth Art Center. In addition to this website, you can follow me on Instagram at ArtquiltsbyBarb.
Ultimately, I believe that the objects we use and display connect us to other people. When we make a place in our life for art, we place value on quality over quantity, creativity over standardization, and relationship over impersonalization. It may not solve the problems of a world in crisis, but it helps us find beauty and meaning along the way.