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Newsday
The Long Island Newspaper

Saturday, August 4, 1990 / Suffolk
By Nancy McLaughlin

THE FINISHING TOUCH to a room or the creation of just the right mood is what Barbara Barron provides to decorators, art consultants and collectors with her unique fiber sculpture.

“This is really an unusual designer server,” says Barron. “Usually wall art is hard-edged, rectangular in shape and housed in a frame. I provide lots of abstract shapes and textural pieces for large surfaces. I challenge walls, fireplaces, staircases and entrances. My work often provides the handshake to the house when you open the door.”

Barron uses a wrapping technique that she developed after much study in the textile field. Her instruction was in the manipulation of fibers at the University of Oxford and creative stitchery at the Royal School of Needlework in England. From this beginning she developed a series of hand-knotted pieces that she sold to Bloomingdale’s, her first customer.

For the past 19 years, Barron has worked at developing this creative art form. At her Huntington studio, Barron and her children, Steve and Ruth, work as a team to create individually designed commissions for both corporate and residential clients. The process might include a visit to the site or photographs and scale drawings of the interior space. Sketches are drawn, and color samples are prepared. The decision process is geared toward customer involvement in all phases.

The technique employed by Barron is as unusual as the finished pieces themselves. Fine threads of silk, cotton, Lurex, wire and almost anything are wrapped by machine (similar to the uniform way sewing thread is wound on a bobbin). These strands are wound around other fibers or even PVC pipe. An engineer working with Barron, specially designed and made the machinery necessary for the wrapping.

Handwoven tapestries are executed on a Navajo-type loom. In addition, pillows are woven on a traditional floor loom. Pieces can be made with a wide variety of surfaces – flat, three-dimensional or combined structurally with metal or ceramic.

Barron’s work is used mainly in contemporary settings. Because of its textural, flowing quality, it adds warmth to cold interiors and large open areas. Her pieces are cleanable, durable and sound absorbent.

Barron’s customer list is long, including some notable celebrities such as Burt Reynolds, Mike Bossy and Gary Carter. A Barron sculpture hangs in one of the Trump buildings. Prices start at $350 and are figured according to size and the intricacy of the design. The most expensive piece was also the largest at 23 ½ feet: It cost the buyer $25,000. Barron sells worldwide, most heavily in Florida.

“The phenomenal thing is that my kids have grown up with this and are a part of the business,” says Barron. “It adds a new and fulfilling dimension to do what you love with the people you love. Everybody is involved in the execution of the piece. We all give our support and input into each commission.”

Those interested in seeing this innovative and novel craft can visit Barron’s Gallery and studio at 1943 New York Ave., Huntington Station.


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