Still Lifes: Gingko Bowl, Var. 1 (Detail), art quilt, 11″ x 14″, 2016
Still Lifes: Green-Spotted Saki Cup and Boro, Var. 1, art quilt, 11″ x 14″, 2016
Still Lifes: Mortar, Pestle, and Boro art quilt, 11″ x 14″, 2016
Still Lifes: Leaf, Block, and Boro, Var. 1 (Detail), art quilt, 11″ x 14″, 2016
Still Lifes: Leaf and Wood Block, Var. 2, art quilt, 11″ x 14″, 2016
Leaf Fall: Red Oak Leaf Tangle, art quilt, 50″ x 25″ x 6″ , 2015
Leaf Fall: Forest Floor, art quilt, 72″ x 72″, 2012
Leaf Fall: Forest Floor (Detail)
Leaf Fall: Linden Leaf Rag, art quilt, 72″ x 28″, 201o
Linden Leaf Rag (Detail)
My ongoing interest in the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi — finding beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete — is at the core of my artwork. I like to capture the essence of images made of light and movement, images that are infinitely variable. What does the eye see? What does the camera see? What does the mind see?
My most recent series, Still Lifes in Indigo [see selected images above], circles back to the use of my old Japanese Boro [“ragged”] fabrics as backgrounds of settings for objects that evoke a Wabi-Sabi spirit. They are explorations of texture, color, and form.
My Leaf series [see selected images above] is an exploration and interpretation of natural images enlarged and reshaped. I collect leaves, pods, flowers, and grasses and look closely at their structures and shapes. I like to collect these natural objects at the end of summer, after they have begun to wither and fragment. Looking at them closely and then enlarging them allows me to see them as sculptural objects. I look at the play of light upon surfaces and then shape the pieces to introduce a new element — light and shadow interacting with the undulating surfaces.
Other work appearing in series includes:
The Reflections: Water series, which explores the concept of reflection and how to capture the images that are not physically there, images made of light and movement, images that change.
The Line Dance: Tree Ring Patterns series, which is an extension of my exploration of natural objects. Looking at the patterns in the tree rings and then at the additional patterns created by overlapping and fragmenting the imagery allows me to see things in new ways.
Ultimately, all of these series are about reflection — physical, mental, or emotional. Reflecting is what I do throughout my work process, and what I hope viewers do as they look at my completed work.
About the Artist
Barbara Schneider was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has lived in the area all her life. She has a bachelor’s degree in visual design from the Institute of Design, at Illinois Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in art from Northern Illinois University.
In 1996, after having worked for many years in many capacities in the educational publishing industry, Barbara Schneider began quilting, soon discovering the pleasure of working with cloth, paint, dye, and thread. She has studied with such renowned teachers as Jane Dunnewold, Dorothy Caldwell, Betty Busby, and Jennifer Day. Recently, she has been taking printmaking classes, which she thinks is moving her art-making in new directions.
In addition to creating art, which is strongly influenced by her interest in the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, Barbara Schneider teaches, drawing on her extensive background in surface design. She also exhibits her work nationally and internationally, in both solo and group shows. In 2016, she has shown her work in several major exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and Taiwan, including “Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora” at The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. (on view through September 4, 2016); “Breakout: Quilt Visions 2016” at Visions Art Museum, San Diego, California (on view through January 8, 2017); “My Corner of the World” at Stratford Perth Museum, Stratford, Ontario, Canada (on view through September 5, 2016); and “Art Quilts of the Midwest” at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska (March 8, 2016 – May 8, 2016).
Barbara Schneider’s artwork is in a number of private and public collections, and has been featured in magazine articles and on television programs.
An “Ambassador” for Bernina, the Swiss sewing and embroidery machine manufacturer, Barbara Schneider also writes for the blog We All Sew.
Barbara Schneider maintains a studio at The Starline Gallery, in Harvard, Illinois, which she uses for both work and play.
When not working, Barbara Schneider enjoys long-distance hiking, traveling, gardening, reading, playing piano, and going to movies.
Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)