A Journey Retold

Butterfly Block

Do you think growing up in an art studio makes you an artist? Maybe, I grew up in my mother’s studio, and I seem compelled to create. I was introduced to my medium when I was ten. My mother instructed me on how to carve a linoleum block for a Christmas card. However, the next time I worked in this medium was in a Textile Design class at Western Kentucky University. I was introduced to batik, tie-dye, silkscreen, and block printing. I loved it all. I even taught a Basic Design class at Western after I graduated. Later, in graduate school at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I minored in Textile Design. Batik was my thing then, but when I almost set my house on fire and nearly destroyed all the automatic dry cleaning machines in town, I changed to block printing. I became a full-time instructor at Miami University of Ohio in the fall of 1975, but I continued to experiment in my printing and even took more design classes. I started designing vests and kimonos that I had printed with my newly carved spiral designs. Ironically, they were showing in an Art to Wear boutique in San Francisco. After three years in Ohio, I made a paradigm shift, quit teaching, and moved back to Kentucky in 1978.  Again this change gave me time to work on my printing techniques and design motifs. I had two one-person shows in Owensboro, Kentucky, worked summer fairs, and began to show nationally my quilted, lino-cut printed garments. Following that, I was asked to teach the Textile Design class at Western Ky. University, ironically the class that inspired my artistic direction.  In 1983, my husband and I decided to move to Santa Cruz, California. Finding that the streets are not paved with gold, it got harder to keep my art going.  I taught a Beginning Clothing Construction at Cabrillo College, but my classes were cut due to an economic downturn.  Again, I had another shift. It was time to go back to my art, but it needed a message.  I started studying symbols across the world and across time periods. I created story blocks that reflected birth, marriage, journey, death, creation, bliss or, in other words, basic archetypes of human experience. This cemented me as an artist. Later in 2000, I started printing on silk scarves and placing them in local galleries. I became an Open Studio artist in 2003. Today I print my simpler designs of flowers, shells, and geometric motifs for art to wear, and I print my more detailed symbolic blocks on mulberry paper.  My art continues to evolve, but I have not wavered from my original lino-cut medium, and I still show off that first linoleum block.
Jody Bare
Bareprint

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