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  My first attraction to leatherwork came by trips to the local cobbler with my father as a boy.   I'll never forget the aroma of leather upon entering this small shop and having the privilege of watching this man carry on with his trade.   He and his wife worked in the same location for 55 years; a true ma and pa story.   By the age of ten my father had seen my interest grow and took me to the store to purchase some tools and a side of leather.   Now having worked with this ancient medium for 40 years, retrospect has shown that my hands and heart were meant to create.


  The work has certainly evolved over the years and has been influenced by many factors, one being an apprenticeship with a custom furniture maker.   The feel, smell and natural beauty of wood were an equal allure to the earlier attraction of leather.   Another influence was my fascination with cut stones, and over time my collection of rare picture jaspers, agates, feldspars, and fossils has grown.   I orient specific shapes to maximize the charcteristics of the particular raw material.



  These shapes will then serve to establish the focal point of a particular piece.   My choice of contrasting woods, leathers, dyes, and other accents are a rewarding step to the finished product.   I often use an airbrush to apply multiple layers of color to the leather's surface which yields an appearance of stone.





  It never ceases to amaze me when I look at the natural colors represented in the stones and woods I use, and how the leather can be merged to complement all three.   This muti-media connection brings to mind some interesting challenges which sometimes result in developing a new technique.






  This incredible medium as an art form offers enormous potential. Attending an invitational symposium at the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum in Waalwijk, Holland I was able to witness this expression through international exposure to many leather artists.   A rewarding part of that visit came at the closing of the event.   Two of my pieces were chosen to be in a special exhibit in the museum.   Vessels that were exhibited were strictly sculptural and ornamental in nature but at the same time became very personal, reflecting the inquisitiveness of people in what they might choose to keep in them.   Boxes have been created in virtually every material and culture around the globe yielding some extraordinary examples of fine art, and that reason alone makes them collectable by many.   Maybe a secret place for something special?
  Due to the versatility of leather, I have been intrigued by its cultural uses through out history.   Native Americans have been producing leather to make clothing, shelters, and canoes.   In Russia and Poland, leather was once used as a form of currency embossed with its value.   It remained in circulation up until the time of Peter the Great in the 17th century.   With its diversity of uses also came the need for different tanning methods as well as post-tanning treatments to yield the desired working characteristics for a given application.   One such technique is called "Cuir Bouilli" (boiled leather), which is heat hardened. This process was used to make leather scales that were linked together to form armor used in battle in the third century.   Ancient armies also employed leather covered wooden sheilds known as "targes".   Even the modern day fireman's helmet can be found made of leather.








It has been very gratifying to use a gift given by God. My work is seen by a few, His handiwork is seen by all.


"Oh Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions." Psalm 104:24






TODD BARBER
Multi-Media Artist
Albany, New Hampshire 03818
merging stone, leather, & wood


PUBLICATIONS

2011   Best of World Wide Artist ~ Abstract & Still Life Artists ~ Kennedy Publishing
2006 HandMade in the Northern Forest~ A guide to fine art and craft traditions in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York Published by the Northern Forest Center & Businesses for the Northern Forest
2003   Craft Arts International #59 Sydney, Australia
2000   Leather Work, Maguire/Williams, Anness Publishing Ltd., 2000, London/NY
1997   Leder Gilde e.V., A Presentation, Berends, Munich, Germany
1996-1995   The Guild - Contemporary Craft, Watson Guptil Publications, Madison, WI


EXHIBITS

2004   Texarkana Reg Arts & Humanities Cncl ~ Texarkana, Texas
2003   Treff Kunst Gallery~ Ottobrunn, Germany
2003   Hicks Art Center ~ Newton, Pennsylvania
2003   Mabee-Getter Museum of Art ~ Shawnee, Oklahoma
2003   Museum of Texas Tech University ~ Lubbock, Texas
2003   Milton Hershey School Art Museum ~ Hershey, Pennsylvania
2002   University of Kentucky Art Museum ~ Lexington, Kentucky
2002   Longmont Museum ~ Longmont, Colorado
2002   Craft & Folk Art Museum ~ Los Angeles, California
2002   Nora Eccles Harrison Museum ~ Logan, Utah
2001   Perspective Gallery ~ Blacksburg, Virginia
2001   J Wayne Stark University Ctr. Galleries ~ College Station, Texas
2001   Del Rio Counsel for the Arts ~ Del Rio, Texas
2001   Museum of the Southwest ~ Midland, Texas
2001-2004   Enhancements Exhibits USA, Media Gallery, Garnet, KS
2000   Group Leather Exhibition ~ Oslo, Norway
2000   "Leder 2000"~ The Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum ~ Waalwijk, Holland
1995   "Masterworks" ~The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH


NOTABLE

Mid-America Arts Alliance/United States Information Agency
- chosen to host Latvian leather artist, Inese Litavniece
- Ward and Eis Gallery, Petoskey, MI ~Artist of the Year

Special Commission by the state of New Hampshire for the state butterfly, "TheKarnerBlue" Permanent collection ~ The State House ~ Concord, New Hampshire


SHOW AWARDS

63rd Annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Show, Sunapee, NH
-Best of Show-

International Federation of Leather Guilds, Dallas, TX
-Best of Show-