|1. Full Name: Barbara J. Andersen
2. What is your favorite art medium? How long have you been working in that medium?
Fiber in any form is my favorite medium. I learned to knit around 5 years old and began sewing as an adolescent. In high school I made my own clothes and also sold my goods in a consignment shop in Lake Grove. I switched from knitting to crocheting throughout high school and then in my senior year I learned to spin wool. I ordered my first spinning wheel as soon as I graduated.
My freshman year at OSU I learned the ancient art of Bobbin Lacemaking. I got back into knitting when my son was little and then my daughter taught me needlefelting when she was about nine. While working at a Portland fabric store I got excited about making aprons and for the last 5 years or so I have focused on aprons and home goods which I sell at the Art Center, on Etsy and at Markets around the valley.
3. Do you expand outside your primary medium?
I also dabble in watercolor, sketching and collage, but that is strictly amateur.
4. Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I find inspiration in fabric stores, magazine pictures, nature. I love the colors the patterns, the textures, the combinations. I like to find unexpected ways to put things together. I love vintage fabrics, quality cottons, nubby silks and cool linens. I get excited about yards of fabric, blank paper, unfinished lumber, all the possibilities they represent.
5. What is the best part of being an artist?
The best part of being an artist? The creativity, the freedom to do what pleases me, the opportunity to create things that please others.
6. What is the hardest part of being an artist?
The hardest part? The low pay. When I pay $18.00 for a dyed fiber, spend 2-3 hours spinning and plying it and then 4-5 hours knitting it into a scarf that I can sell for $35.00 with a 20% commission cut. I have now earned $10.00 for my 6-8 hours of work. I just love what I do, so I keep doing it and sometimes I earn some money for it.
7. How and where do you sell/present your art?
I have some of my products here at the Art Center and I also sell on Etsy at my shop Earth and Sky Fibreworks, through my Facebook page of the same name and at Markets around the valley.
8. Who supported you in the time you decided to become an artist?
My family has always been very supportive, my daughter has her own clothing business KD designs and often helps me with big markets. There are a lot of artists in my family who are happy to see me following my bliss.
9. What advice do you have for beginning artists?
Advice? Don’t give up your day job! But if you love it, stick with it. If it feeds your soul and brings you peace, stick with it.