Oral history interview with Barbara Lee Smith

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.smith09
Creators:
Smith, Barbara Lee
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2009 March 16-17
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
6 Items
Sound recording: 6 sound files (5 hr., 21 min.)
122 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Barbara Lee Smith conducted 2009 March 16-17, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Smith's home, in Gig Harbor, Washington. Smith speaks of moving around a lot with her family as a child; most of her childhood memories in Cape May, New Jersey where she recalls an early love of the ocean; playing piano from early childhood through young adulthood and its continued influence in her visual art; attending Douglass College at Rutgers University where she graduated with a home economics major; the first time she saw an Abstract Expressionist exhibition in college and the memory of those paintings; her love of color through sunsets and music; learning machine embroidery as a young mother from a Better Homes & Gardens article in the 1960s; falling in love with embroidery and learning as much as she could about the art form; being influenced by artists such as Mariska Karasz and Constance Howard; taking initiative after the Human Potential Movement and started pursuing embroidery art full time; participating in local, national and international embroidery and craft guilds; her love of historic embroideries; receiving her MFA Northern Illinois University; various techniques from her early years of making that still find their way into her work today; teaching workshops and seminars as an adult education teacher for almost 40 years; the influence of traveling to places such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom has had on her work; early abstract works in comparison to her recent, more representational work; the role maps have played in a good portion of her work; her work process and rather painterly approach to creating; the love of making and creating; the challenge and problem-solving qualities of taking commissions; writing the book, "Celebrating the Stitch" and the subsequent exhibitions that traveled around the world; the use of layering in her work to create clear layers of color; a collaborative book project with fellow artist, Jane Dunnewold; various exhibitions she has participated in and curated; her studio in Gig Harbor, Washington; relocating to Washington after 30 years in Chicago, Illinois and the influence the move had on her work. Smith also recalls Jill Nordforsclark, Randall Lanou, John Pemberton III, Jane Buckley, Jean Ray Laury, Jens Jensen, Bucky King, Henry Stahmer, Mary Lee Hu, Barbara Krug, Diane and Bill Itter, Renie Breskin Adams, Dimitri and Avra Liakos, Michael James, Chris Timmons, Studs Terkel, Bertil Vallien, Deidre Scherer, Jan Beaney, Tadao Andu, Jacquline Govin, Jean Littlejohn, and Billie Ruth Sudduth among others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Barbara Lee Smith (1938- ) is a mixed media artist known for sculptural drawings constructed from fabric and lives and works in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded as 6 sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 21 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Embroidery Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fiber artists -- Washington -- Interviews. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Human potential movement Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Australia -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Great Britain -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japan -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Zealand -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams, Renie Breskin Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andu, Tadao Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beany, Jan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Buckley, Jane Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dunnewold, Jane, 1954- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Govin, Jacquline Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Howard, Constance Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hu, Mary Lee, 1943- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Itter, Diane, 1946-1989 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Itter, William Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
James, Michael, 1949- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jensen, Jens, 1860-1951 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Karasz, Mariska, 1898-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
King, Bucky Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Krug, Barbara Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lanou, Randall Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawry, Jean Ray Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Liakos, Avra Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Liakos, Dimitri Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Littlejohn, Jean Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nordsforsclark, Jill Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pemberton, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scherer, Deidre, 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stahmer, Henry Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sudduth, Billie Ruth Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Timmons, Chris Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vallien, Bertil, 1938- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Northern Illinois University -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rutgers University -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/