Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
Married to Lawrence E Barker
Two sons: Bartholomew and Daniel
Currently retired and living in Hillsborough, North Carolina
I was taught to sew very early, and was in 4-H through high school. I sewed many of my own clothes and made outfits for the boys when they were very young. I did not like the idea of quilting -- why take a perfectly good piece of material and cut it into pieces only to sew it back together again??? I could understand it as a form or recycling, but at that time, I did not understand the creativity that is involved in quilting.
After our sons were in school, I went back to work, first as a part-time secretary, then as a secretary-bookkeeper, and later as an accountant. I went to work at a CPA firm in 1980 and a year later, I became a Certified Public Accountant myself. I concentrated in estate and trust issues. In June of the year 2000, when I retired, I had become a Certified Financial Planner, a Series 7 stock broker, Senior Vice President and Head of a small ($250 million) Trust Department at National Bank & Trust in Wilmington, Ohio. During these years, my work was very logical, mathematical and analytical; the creativity was confined to estate and income tax planning, investment allocations, and trust document drafting. This creativity was always within a very strict framework mandated by the IRS and its code and regulations.
While wandering through an Art Museum early in the year of my retirement, the question of how the blind enjoy art museums came upon me and would not let me go. In wrestling with this question, it seemed to me that color was the key to access for the blind and that fabric was versatile and malleable enough to be an acceptable medium. It seemed important that a framework be created for interpreting color so that the fabric/color would remain true from one fabric picture to another; therefore, I created the B-Code, the standard that I would use for all the pictures I created. "B" stands for Barker, named for my husband; and it is called a code because it is something that stands for something else. Just as dots stand for letters in Braille, the fabric textures stand for color in a B-Coded picture.
I try to choose museum pieces that are well known, by artists that most people have heard of or studied and are curious about. I think of these works as "Homages", because it is my intent to pay tribute to the work and the artist, by interpreting his/her works in an accessible form for those with less than perfect eyesight.
It is my hope that the B-Code will be used by schools, museums and quilters as they work to make the world more accessible to those with vision impairments.