Barbara was born in Boise, Idaho and moved to Washington in her early twenties. She made clothing during her school years, and then explored other areas of artistic interest, including embroidery, photography, and stained glass. Since learning to quilt in 1993, she has focused exclusively on fiber art.
Initially, Barbara created many traditionally-styled
quilts. As her skills grew, so did her confidence in her ability
to create unique, non-traditional designs. Today she enjoys the
challenge of integrating the quilting line and making it an important
part of the overall design of a piece. She also works to create
two-sided quilts where the back is a reflection of the front and
offers the viewer a different perspective of the same piece.
Barbara is an award winning quilter having won Best of Show in the first juried quilt show she ever entered. Her work is in many private collections and has appeared at a number of shows and locations.
In 2005, Barbara retired from
Clark College, located in Vancouver, Washington, where she taught
computer software application classes for almost 20 years. She now
focuses full-time on creating fiber art and teaching others the
joy of quiltmaking. She lives with her family in Washougal, Washington.
I am in awe of Mother Nature and the natural world. My most recent works reflect my love of nature and the physical world in which we all live. I try, through the use of light, line, color, and texture, to portray nature in such as way as to invite the viewer to look closer at a subject that they might have taken for granted before.
The creation of surface texture is achieved through the use of a variety of threads and thread color. Most of my work features densely quilted patterns which are achieved with little or no marking done on the surface of the quilt - it is like drawing with an electric needle instead of a pencil. I am often amazed at people who judge something based on what it looks like on the surface. I started creating two-sided fiber art pieces for those individuals who want to look deeper. I don't want the back to look completely different from the front, but rather offer a different perspective of the same piece. One needs to look at both sides of my quilts in order to see everything that is there.
Working with cloth
is both comforting and challenging. Quiltmaking provides a creative
outlet that is grounded in family history, while offering unlimited
artistic experimentation and creation. It allows me to spiritually
hold hands with my grandmother, who was also a quiltmaker, while
at the same time stretching the boundaries of what a quilt is.
Barbara Shapel. All rights reserved.
All images and text are copyright of the artist.
Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without written consent.
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