Barbara Bentley is a recently retired university professor who now has time to pursue a lifelong attraction to the fiber arts. Starting with lessons in knitting from her Grandmother, Barbara has always loved working with fiber and fabric – from making her own clothes as a high school student, to knitting sweaters for boyfriends, to sewing Halloween costumes for her children. But it is spinning and weaving that have truly captured her imagination. The process of creating soft, flowing fabric from rigid mechanical devices captivates both her scientific mind and feminine soul. Dyeing the yarn for many of her projects adds to the breadth of both her own personal experiences with the fiber, as well as adding diversity to her final designs.
As a biologist, Barbara finds most inspiration in the shapes and colors of the natural world. Some of her pieces are designed to reflect “real” objects – the color of sunflowers, or the flight of fireflies – while other works are more an expression of how natural fibers interact to form a fabric. Until recently most of her works have been functional; she is now beginning to explore the potential of fiber in pure artistic expression. The left-brain/right-brain interactions are proving to be an exciting new exercise for an analytically trained mind, and are resulting in new directions in her designs.