Artist Spotlights Series:
Patti Barker, Fiber Artist
Welcome to Simply San Juan's Artist Spotlights Series, a collection of interviews with local artists and artisans. I am pleased to introduce Patti Barker, a fiber artist currently living and working in the San Juan Islands Washington. I sincerely thank Patti for her participation in this Series, and appreciate this peek into her view of art in the world. Read on to learn about Patti's thoughts on making artwork, her daily schedule, artists she admires, and images of her work.
Read more interviews at Artist Spotlights.
Please share a brief biography, including where you’re from and how you got started as an artist.
I am an award-winning fiber artist, art show exhibitor and experienced felting teacher. I've been creating with my hands since childhood, but it wasnt until I raised alpacas some years ago that led me to fiber art.
Why do you do what you do?
I play with fiber I suppose because of an innate drive to work with my hands and because I have a connection to all things warm and fuzzy.
What jobs have you done, other than being an artist?
In my former life I was a TV Advertising Account Executive for 20 years. It's nice to finally relax a bit.
What role, if any, does an artist play in society?
Art is what gives creative people a place in society and others the ability to glimpse the imagination of creative thinkers.
What is “creativity”?
To me, creativity is the ability to express ideas born in imagination.
What motivates you to begin a new project, and what keeps you going?
So many different things motivate me to begin a new project...a pattern in a magazine ad, the shape of a cloud, the reflection of lights on the water. I get totally consumed with an idea and cannot wait to get immersed.
How do you describe your style?
I don't care for labels, but if I have a style I would have to call it free form.
How much time do you spend doing your work every week?
I'm pretty driven and spend approximately 60 hours a week in my studio dyeing, spinning, felting and designing.
Has your work changed over time? How?
I started out with flat pieces and now I'm creating much larger three-dimensional wearables...like jackets with unusual features.
If there was no chance of ever being paid, would you still do your work?
It has been said that handmade things have soul. The more dependant the world becomes of being plugged in to electronic devices...the more people are drawn to handmade things. I sell my work so I can buy more materials to continue my quest to create and add beauty to the world.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Hmmmm, I'd have to say Kind, Eclectic, and Playful
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My craft continues to evolve and I would like to see my original design patterns published. My workshops will become sought after and I will travel to teach others the joys of felting.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
Be true to yourself and don't give up. Your gifts are meant to be shared.
This interview with Patti Barker for the Artist Spotlights Series was completed on May 14, 2012. For more information about Patti and her work, please visit her website.
Read more Artist Spotlights:
Robin Atkins, Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso, Cinda Sue Dow, Beth Hetrick, Peggy Sue McRae, Jan Murphy, Kevin Roth, Tom Small, Lewis Spaulding, Nancy Spaulding, Margaret Thorson, Virginia Van Camp, Paula West
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