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Billie Barthelemy


Pinewood, MN 


Fiber - Wearable




Artist io: My first embroidery project, at the age of five, was the image of a gopher on a dishtowel. Moving on from there, I am now in my fifth decade of making a living and a life of crawling across fabric with a needle and threads of many colors.
I studied design, drawing, painting, photography, jewelry, ceramics, music, and radio broadcasting at various times in my life, and have worked as a photographer, photo studio manager, radio producer and broadcaster, and an art fair artist. I have illustrated books, calendars and greeting cards.
I have worked with and learned from fiber artists of many disciplines, and have traveled widely, exploring many methods and traditions of fiber work.
My current work consists of original silk garments from my own handmade patterns. I cut, sew, and construct each piece; jackets, dresses, skirts and pants. Many are one-of-a-kind and/or limited editions; some are more basic and unadorned pieces to complement the more elaborate garments. The clothing shapes are simple, some adapted from traditional ethnic styles. The circles, rectangles and triangles prevalent in these traditions present a clean background for the decorative enhancements of my work.
I use various techniques including texturing, quilting, freehand machine stitching and hand embroidery. Hand embroidery is among the most portable of arts, requiring only fabric, needle and thread, and can be done almost anywhere; on the beach, in the dentist's waiting room, on the dock or boat or pontoon, on a train or plane, and in the car (when not driving).
Many of my current garment works are reversible front to back, and/or inside to outside, making them visually appealing and versatile.
My work is represented in private and museum collections and several select galleries, is worn by happy patrons worldwide, and is mainly offered at the best art fairs and shows around the country.
The natural world is my greatest inspiration; light, movement, waves, color, contrast, flora, water and sky.
Other interests that may or may not influence my work include kayaking, biking, hiking, canoeing, gardening, cooking, bread-making, harvesting wild rice, crossword puzzles, traveling, baseball, and cats.

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