Artist Statement

I aspire to tell a story, capture a moment, or portray an idea drawn from perFiber Artis, Barbara Bend standing with her fiber sculpture.sonal experience. My fiber sculptures are predominately archetypical women, characterizing strength, movement and struggle, or whimsy. I depend on the uniqueness of the fabrics, shape and repetitive qualities of found objects, and wrapping techniques to facilitate this mixed media expression.

I am inspired by the ancient and primal power of wrapping, moved by its simplicity. Wrapping is rhythmic and repetitious. I use this primitive technique to encase the welded scrap metal armatures of the fiber sculpture to form and shape the bodies of the figures. The language of the materials used to wrap add depth and dimension to this technique. Fabrics interact with each other, not only through color and texture but within the context of the time and place they hold in history and cultural influences.

The integrity and beauty of broken or discarded objects can be easily overlooked; its essence lost. It is an inspirational thrill for me when I can successfully incorporate some used-up forgotten items in my mixed media sculptures. I like to give a discarded object a new voice and identity in a piece. I know I have succeeded when a viewer spends time appreciating a completed fiber sculpture and then spontaneously laughs after identifying the misplaced object, enjoying the essence of the discarded.

Formal Education:

45 semester hours post masters in education related subjects at multiple universities

Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction for the Culturally Diverse in Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bachelor of Science in Applied Art, Knox College, Galesburg, Ill

Barb and Harold

Barb and Harold

I have a driving need to use art as a tool to interact with the forces that shape my life and surroundings. My routine is to honor my intuition and nurture my soul through managing the native woods and prairies, tending the vegetable and perennial gardens, cross country skiing in the silence of winter, laughing with my children and grandchildren and sharing with my husband. I keep my hands busy with figure drawing and clumsy attempts at landscape painting. These are the aids I use to see below and beyond the surface, think apart from the obvious, and ponder the mystery. Through the power of wrapping and the language of fabrics, I can begin to transform these abstractions in a unique artistic form of artistic expression.