As textile artists, we connect and are connected to communities larger than our Selves, or our immediate environs. We encapsulate culture, technique, history and innovation every time we touch cloth.

arlee barr uses ecoprints, natural dyes and hand stitch to bridge early world textile practices and contemporary form. As each imprint of leaf, dye bath and stitch is added, the marking of time and labour create both temporal and chronological narratives. The intrinsic nature of indigenous plant material and personal variations in hand-work direct the story, but leave much open to interpretation.

I am a Canadian artist in Calgary, Alberta, working primarily with textiles. I’m curious, eccentric and just a little opinionated. Surrealist in thought, Fauvist at heart, eclectic, explorative and absurd, I use hand and machine techniques to illustrate idiosyncratic stories and integrate my own ecoprinted, naturally dyed, and selectively synthetic dyed cloth and threads, and “found” fabrics in my work. I am learning to respectfully collect a history with stitch, incorporating meaningful text, personal symbolism and a Slow Cloth philosophy, believing that artistic expression is instinctual when you listen to yourself truthfully. I am fascinated by the workings of the human body, and the natural world, interpreting them in unconventional ways.

As  Kurt Vonnegut says: “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
A learning gardener, i also blog at The Dangerous Mouth of the Rose. After living in BC for so many years where *everything* grows without effort, it’s quite a switch to adjust to Alberta gardening! Part of that experience will be growing plants for natural dye use in my textile art.

18 responses to “About

  1. Chris Wallace

    March 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I think your work is fantastic – keep it up!


  2. ancientcloth

    June 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I am loving that quote about standing close to the edge!!! fabulous!
    I think it is the only place to live : )
    Love your new blog!


  3. jackie

    July 3, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Kurt Vonnegut also said something his father said when they were having a good time, for example if they were by the lake and the sun was shining and the family was there, he would say ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is’.
    I try to remember to do that out loud now and again.
    It seems a little bland but you’ll remember and enjoy the good things. One of the good things is having time to read blogs and visit e friends.
    So I’ll say it now..out loud..’If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. glennis

    July 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    good vonnegut quote. he knew. his son mark stood close to the edge too then wrote about it.
    i just noticed i was included here as a “dye hard” ha! love it.


  5. helen

    November 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Wow your disciption with the added words of cynical and sarcatic and everyone will know about me(since I don’t have a blog)I thought you had written a blip about me. Ha! kindred spirits.


  6. Leon Schauf

    January 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Rattling superb visual appeal on this site, I’d value it 10 10.


  7. QuinnCreative

    January 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Please forgive me for sending you a thank you through your blog, but WordPress doesn’t give out emails. I wanted to thank you for “liking” my blog tutorial on monsoon papers. You did that quite a while ago, and I noticed I hadn’t thanked you. I might be slow, but I do like to thank people for kindesses. And now I found your blog, too! –Q


  8. Threadpainter

    May 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Arlee,
    I’m slowly getting around to reading blogs … and I must say how much I admire your work and your hilarious, honest description of yourself !
    You have been very supportive of me in the past and I am going to read your blog lots ’cause I like how you think !


  9. Sarah smith

    October 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Arlee, I am just wondering if you will run another franken stitch workshop? I would desperately like to do it….


    • arlee

      October 5, 2011 at 7:53 am

      I have a waiting list and will contact those interested for a possible January class.


  10. beverly williams

    November 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    When may we sign up for the advanced class? I find it difficult to post, but I am loving what
    I am doing.


  11. Mandira

    March 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Do you ever come to Australia????……..


  12. Brad Ford Smith

    June 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Arlee, A big thank you for adding a link to my blog on your Good Reads list. I just found out about you. Like what I see on your blog so far, will have to come back and check out more of your posts and links.

    Keep up the stitching and posting.


  13. ginette leclerc mallar

    November 5, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Arlee,was so please to receive and read your blog. My son Yanick often talk of your creativity and was thrilled when he sent me your blog. Would love to meet you when I come to Calgary.


    • arlee

      November 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Ginette! Let’s meet, schedules permitting 🙂



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