About the Artist


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 Shapel

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.


Artist Statement

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.




©2009-2017 Barbara Shapel. All rights reserved.
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