BARBIE SWANSON – Lake City, Florida
Barbie Swanson is a nationally known fiber artist, teacher, designer and inventor. She is a member of many fiber art organizations including the Surface Design Association and the North Florida Art League. She invents tools to aid in design. And she creates specialty hand-dyed and painted fabrics and yarns which she incorporates into her art pieces. Because of her love of nature and the way she brings this love into her art, she has won many awards for her art creations and has been published in several magazines. She loves to teach, from the very basics to the more complex, and the motto for Barbie’s students is “YES, I CAN!” It is what she believes in and anyone working in class or on individual projects with her realizes that they CAN and DO. With patient guidance, that allows a student to explore, most find that after even one session, that they can pursue an avenue that lets them grow in a direction that is beneficial to their needs and desires. In her art classes, she encourages her students to find their own way and not make copies of her art samples. Her goal for everyone is to move him or her to create something that has meaning and gives pleasure.
She has developed techniques for stress free-tool free paper piecing and of chain paper piecing. She has also designed a technique and quilt style she named “Florida appliqué”. She devises new fabric designs through her exploration and development of individual and unique techniques. Any fiber is welcome in her creations. Barbie will always tell you that there are two criteria for making quilts & fiber sculpture: having a meaning or message and having a highlighted effect that invites you to look closely at it, as well as seeing the impact from afar.
Barbie exhibited some of her quilt pieces at the ARTSERVE Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Stretching Art and Tradition exhibit annually in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, The Orchid Society in Palm Beach County, Florida, Columbia County Library in north Florida, Quilts at the Crossroads in Flint, Michigan, Visions “Fiber of Coronado” special exhibit and various local & national shows. Her quilt, “Lurking-We Should Have Known” was chosen to and traveled for 3 years around the world with the “America From the Heart” exhibit sponsored by Quilts, Inc. This quilt is in the book entitled America From the Heart which memorialized the sad stories of the events of 9/11. Her Journal Quilts were on display at the 2003 Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Three of her quilts were displayed in January & February of 2004 at the “Beyond the Bed” exhibit at the Pasco Arts Council in Holiday, FL In 2004 & 2005 her quilts were chosen to travel in the Robert Kaufman Quilt Quest 2005. Since 2005 she has exhibited and won awards in the the North Florida Art League Art Shows in Lake City, FL. She and her pattern Tree of Life was featured in the September/October 2005 issue of The Appliqué Society newsletter. Her Florida Panther art creation was shown in the Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL and was one of the pieces featured in the poster for the Quilting Natural Florida exhibit in 2008. Then again in 2010 her next Florida Panther fiber art creation was juried in for the second exhibition of Quilting Natural Florida. More works of art are always in progress, so look for more to come.
She teaches and lectures in local, regional and national venues. As well as teaching standard and innovative techniques, she is a Sulky Certified Educator. She enjoys hand and machine appliqué of any kind and in 1999, established the first Florida chapter of The Appliqué Society, Appliqué Artists of Southeast Florida. In addition, she has served and officiated on various quilt guild & show boards. She owns FABRIC ART SHOP, which started as an online and traveling specialty shop and held classes and retreats at her studio. In 2006 she opened her FABRIC ART SHOP storefront, lovingly known as the purple shop in Lake City. Barbie is also the inventor of the EASY GLIDE® tools for industrial machines, co-designer of the EASY GLIDE® Creator Free Motion Machine and distributes these as well as other products to quilting shops and consumers.