A Scrappy Textile Artist

Ten years later Barbara is still playing with fabrics—cutting, gluing, and wrapping. “Fabric is my paint,” Barbara says, and she uses her scraps to “paint” on canvas. For her works, the canvas is first covered with paint or a piece of fabric, and the details are cut and glued in place to create a still life. She’s adapted the same idea for covering bottles, too. A unique-shaped bottle looks even better in Barbara’s eyes when wrapped in fabric scraps. “You can wrap anything!” Barbara claims. To prove it she is now wrapping tree branches. “On a morning walk I was noticing the amazing things in nature we take for granted, and I started picking up tree branches,” she says. When she returned home she thought it would be fun to create trees of many colors.

Barbara’s latest venture takes wrapping in a circular direction. Inspired by a friend’s travels and the work of Australian artist Josie Martin, Barbara is making what she calls “spiral fabric collages.” Coils of fabric scraps along with cords are wrapped around and around. Trims, ribbons, buttons, and beads finish each piece. “I first started making the small spiral collages for friends as an alternative to giving birthday cards,” Barbara explains, “so I called them birthday caks (no, not cakes). Today the caks come in all sizes.”

With a smile on her face Barbara advises, “Just look around. There’s always something to wrap.”