Oral History Interview with Dan Neil Barnes, August 16, 2007

Kentucky Historical Society


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0:48 - Getting into Stained Glass

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Keywords: Egypt; Solar Disc; Stained Glass; Tiffany Stained Glass lamp; Western Kentucky; woodworking

2:48 - Having Arturo Sandoval as an art teacher / Joining the KY Guild

6:30 - Arts training

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Keywords: Architecture; Art; Design; Landscape architecture; stained glass; woodworking

8:37 - Barnes describes the piece next to him

10:55 - Being drawn to glass work

13:26 - Teaching stained glass and exhibitions

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Keywords: American Craft Council; exhibits; teaching; woodworking

13:33 - KY Guild reveals how devoted artists are / overcoming obstacles

15:48 - Honor in creating the Governor's Award

16:32 - Camaraderie in the Guild / Learning from other artists

21:07 - Benefits of being a member of the KY Guild

29:52 - Juried Art Fairs / Not everyone will like your work

30:41 - Facing rejection


WILLIHNGANZ: Okay, I have a somewhat conversational style in my interviews, so, wo. . . what I tend to do, is uh sort of talk to people more than ask them questions, and sometimes exchange my own insights or lack thereof whatever, but uh, just to get started, why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself as an artist, what you do, and how you got into doing it and all those types of things.

BARNES: Well, it actually started as an accident. Sort of, um, well, not an accident, I always wanted to work with glass. Ever since I was a little kid, I can remember seeing stained glass windows and how it. . . looking into it, was just mesmerizing. And, when I graduated college, I kept telling myself I was going to take a stained glass class, to get my foot in the door. Well. I finally managed to make that happen, and I started creating, the stained glass panels, and learning the process. And, in fact, the first large piece I made was like, the very third piece I made, was a 1500 piece laminate. And it was a Tiffany reproduction. It was. . . basically the reason I did it was not because I wanted the Tiffany laminate, it was to learn the process. And from there I’ve not looked back. I’ve not used a pattern since. I started developing my own ideas. It’s kind of. . . I knew that if I was going to get into this as an art form, and I wanted to do it right, that I needed to find a way to set myself apart, something that distinguished me as a, doing something unique with glass. So, it just kind of developed. I was toying with turning wood, because I grew up in the building business. My family builds homes in western Kentucky. It just hit me one day. I was, well actually. . . kind of a long story. I went to Egypt first. And the solar disc that they use, everywhere we went there was a picture of the solar disk. You know, carved out of stone, and I had this glass and I had these disks in my mind. And, it was like one day it just hit me, and I turned this giant wood disk totally out of wood, cut it in half, and added glass to the upper half. . . actually used the wood as a mold to form the glass to. And added copper to that and patinaed the copper and I was off and running. And, I knew when I finished it, that it was, I felt like it was what I was after as far as you know, heading in my own direction. And you know, I know Arturo was here earlier, and he was actually the true start of it. I had Arturo for class when I was in college. And, to make a long story short, I ran into him one day at my home, literally. I was out mowing the yard, and by the end of that day, I had traded him one of my pieces, and I knew then I was onto something. You know, and his encouragement, you know, the first things out of his mouth were, you know, “You need to be doing something with this.” Because, I was just creating it for myself, my house was full of it. You know, it was to a point where it was. . . I was going to have to start storing some of it. So it, he’s like “You need to be doing gallery work”. And he said, “You need to join the Guild”. And that was the very first time I really remember hearing about the Guild. I mean, I was not into the arts at that point in my life. And so I’m like, what’s the Guild? And so, he starts explaining to me, and blah, blah, blah, about how the Guild had, has, you know, that the organization. . . you want to be a member to it. And I remember him saying, now, “Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get in the first time, because they’re very strict.” You know, and I thought, because I think he told me he barely got in the first time. I’m thinking, “Oh, golly. What do I do if I apply and I don’t get in?” You know, but I was very fortunate, you know. I got in the very first time, and the organization as a whole. . . I don’t. . . it was the catalyst for me. I literally went from a nobody into someone. And I don’t want to say that I’m somebody, but it catapulted me into a position to where I got recognition. That was about the time when the artisan center in Berea opened, Kentucky Artisan Center, which was run by the state. I juried into the Guild. I think it was in er, late, it was either late ‘03 or early ‘04 and that, the Kentucky Artisan Center opened that spring as I remember, as I recall. I had a piece in that opening. And that would have not happened if it hadn’t been for the Guild. And I’ve not looked back from that. I mean it’s been a continuous, encouragement from, from other artists within there. It’s kind of a strange family. I mean there’s squabbles that go on within the family, but the, the help has been unending for me. You know, they’ve continued to support and open doors and just, not just with places to exhibit, but just information. You know, like, I didn’t have a booth, I didn’t know anything about a booth. What’s a booth? You know, an art show, you know, I didn’t know. It’s like I had a lot to learn, still have a lot to learn. But, I learned a whole lot from, from listening and from, and asking questions, and, and all these wonderful artists giving those answers. And, you know, I’ve joined other organizations within the state. You know, the Kentucky Guild is, is the first one. I’m a member of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I have work there. I have work at the Artisan Center. I’m juried into all of the Kentucky things that you’re, you know, the Kentucky Craft Market. And, but they all have their own gifts that they have given, but it all started for me with the Guild.

WILLIHNGANZ: How, uh, how were you trained to do this kind of work?

BARNES: Well, I really. . . my background. . . as I said, I came from the building business. When I was in high school I got, received one of the art awards in my high school. I think a lot of it due to just my family, was, it was just part of what I was given, the talent part. In school I had my degrees in human environmental design. And, I had everything from architecture to landscape architecture, to art to design classes. So, it was a broad range of all the creative outlets, you know, that, that helped tie all of it together for me. You know, when I, when I started creating the skills from my family, the building, the woodworking, and all that, came back into play. I took a local stained glass class, to learn the basics on how to do stained glass. It was, and from that, I took it upon myself to go in my own direction. In fact, I. . . some people may not understand this, but when I started doing this, I didn’t go to Tiffany’s and look up his work, and to try to see what he would have done. I wanted to go my own direction. I wanted to learn the basics on how to do it, and then try to develop my own style. And, I felt if I’d. . . it would have been harder if I’d have went into that area and explored all of what he had done, it would have influenced me in some way. Does that. . . ?

WILLIHNGANZ: Mm-hmm, sure.

BARNES: So, I intentionally did not do that. So, all the skills I learned in school, you know, and from my family. I think part of it too, is having the right attitude and drive to persist, you know. And, you know, it’s. . . you have to have that within you, I think. It’s almost like a. . . it kind of haunts you sometimes, you know. You have to create. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Tell me about this piece, here.

BARNES: Well, this is the Kentucky Governor’s Award for the Arts for 2006. I was selected by the Kentucky Arts Council to create the awards. I had to make ten of these. I was sick of them by the tenth. I actually ended up making eleven because I kept one for myself. There was. . . that was a huge honor, for somebody that’s only been in this business a short time, to be able to step into a position to do that. I was greatly honored, and still to this day, honored by it. I mean, I still can’t believe it, in some ways, that it’s happened that soon. But it was. . . I was asked to create a unique design, and it was totally different from most of my other work at the time. It was just like it came to me though, and it was entitled “Kentucky Ablaze”. And it. . . I started mixing eucalyptus resin burl, that’s the wood that’s used in the piece, and it has such unique characters and stuff, that I really like working with it. And mixing the coppers and the metals together, and to take all these elements and mix them together and make them look like they belong together, I think is where it’s, is the fun part for me.

WILLIHNGANZ: It’s a beautiful piece.

BARNES: Thank you, very much.

WILLIHNGANZ: Very exciting stuff.

BARNES: But, the, couple of the winners were Jewish Hospital. . . was one of the winners in Louisville. They, I think, received the award for the fact that they put so much art in their facilities. So, it was neat to have them have a piece. Patricia O’Neil, the actress, she, I didn’t realize it, but she was from Kentucky originally, from Hiker, Kentucky, and got a wonderful note back from her, because you know, saying that she loved her piece and. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: That’s terrific.

BARNES: . . . that she had it in her apartment in east, somewhere up in east side of New York, at least that’s what she said. So it was a huge honor. . .


BARNES: . . . to get to connect to some people like that.

WILLIHNGANZ: That’s great stuff. Wow. Pretty exciting stuff. So this, this basically grew out of what drew you to glass work?

BARNES: Well, its like I said, I was always mesmerized by it. You know, when I looked into the glass, it just. . . there’s something about it that always sparked my interest. I don’t have any other background in it. I don’t know anyone else that does glasswork. And it’s just something I always wanted to do.

WILLIHNGANZ: And you’ve been doing this since two th. . . 1994, did you say?

BARNES: Well, I started. . . I probably, it’s probably been about ten years from like the very first class that I took. But, I joined the Guild in `83 or `84, along in there. And that was when I really started doing it as an art form, and actually started to sell it.

WILLIHNGANZ: Not in ’83. . .

BARNES: Did I say ’83?


BARNES: ’93.

WILLIHNGANZ: ’93, Yeah. Okay. . . a lot, even that is fourteen years ago.


WILLIHNGANZ: So. What it’s. . . you’re not as new as you’re thinking you are.

BARNES: Well, that’s true. But, I mean I’ve, but, I’ve come a long way in a very short time considering that, you know, I started as. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. I know, this is impressive, that would be true. So, at this point, you’ve, you’ve actually had quite a bit of recognition, for, for your work.

BARNES: Very lucky.

WILLIHNGANZ: And pretty much, are you able to devote all your time to your work, or are you still, are you teaching, or are you doing something else, in addition?

BARNES: I do teach stained glass. I also still do upholstery work and build furniture. That was what I’d, what I’ve done for twenty years out of college. And, I haven’t been able to let that go yet. In a few more years, financially, things will change and shift, and my goal is to do the art full time. But, I’m doing shows all over the country right now. Already, that’s, I did the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta. I’ll be at the Charlotte show this fall. I’m doing shows in. . . from West Palm Beach to New York. I leave for New York next week. I’m sorry, not New York, Chicago.

WILLIHNGANZ: Sounds like a lot of traveling.

BARNES: Yeah. And, at this point, it’s fun. I know that there’ll be a day when it won’t be.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, that would be true, the way the airlines are going. Safe bet you won’t enjoy it for much longer.

BARNES: Well then, that’s the other thing, you drive. I have to. . .


BARNES: I have to, to cart all my display and all my work. . .


BARNES: . . . to wherever I go, so it’s all travel time, it’s all driving.

WILLIHNGANZ: Boy, that is a lot of driving time.

BARNES: Well, and I think, you know, most people don’t realize how much art—how hard artists work. And, that was another thing I noticed immediately, you know, in the Guild. And, and, and, everybody was so friendly in offering help, but it was an insight, real quickly into how much work went into it. You could see it from, from watching all them work. And it’s a hard group, hard working group of people. You know, it’s hard to make a living doing art but. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I think it is. Of the, looking at what you do, what was the hardest thing to overcome in learning to master your craft?

BARNES: Oh, golly. . . I don’t know what that would be, other than maybe the turning of the wood. When that, when that part developed, I’m doing a lot more turning of wood now, and learning how to turn the wood. And again, help from Kentucky Guild members, Jamie Donaldson is a Guild member, and was actually President of the Guild for a while. He’s helped me learn how to turn the. . . Although I had all the wood background, I had not really had developed that yet. And then, then deciding on, and it’s still an ongoing process as far as like, when you’re creating something that—I think the hardest part would be to. . . when you’re mixing all those different elements together, and making them look like they belong together. Every piece of a series gets easier. But, when you create a new series, you start that process over. So, that’s an ongoing, you know. . . even though they’re the same materials. It’s a new design. It takes on a different. . . it’s own character and so I have to. . . a lot of times you have to shift. . . go from one idea. . . something that’s not working. I may have to switch to another material to make it, you know, and mix them differently to make it work.

WILLIHNGANZ: When do you know when you’re done with a series?

BARNES: I don’t, at this point. I’m still, from the very first. . . I’m still doing solar disks. That was, in the first large piece, and I’m still making those. So, I’m young enough that I can’t answer that one yet. How’s that for getting that young in there again?

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. Of all the things you’ve created thus far, what are you most proud of?

BARNES: Well, you know, I think at this point it would have to be the Governor’s Award. The piece that’s here with me. It was such a huge honor to be asked to do it. And it’s actually spawned a series. This one is in the collection of the Kentucky Arts Council, and I’ve been asked not to reproduce this one. But, I’m doing variations of this. So, yeah, just the honors that have come with that, and the publicity and things. And just the, the spirit behind which it was given.

WILLIHNGANZ: Mm-hmm, that’s terrific. Let’s talk a little bit about the Guild. Have you taken a lot of their educational programs?

BARNES: Not a whole lot. I was not around enough and able to go to a lot of them. I know they offer a lot. A lot of the education I got was hands on, with meeting and talking to other artists. And that was, I mean, literally. . . there is a Guild handbook with everybody’s phone number. I could pick it up and call and I’ve never once had somebody say they don’t have time to talk. They’re all willing to offer, and answer questions. So, I’ve learned a lot that way, rather than the taking the educational classes. The. . . I don’t know if you know it or not, but I was actually Vice President for two years, too.

WILLIHNGANZ: No, I didn’t know that, when was that?

BARNES: That was `94. . . in the end of `94 and `95. I was the Vice President during that time. It’s, it was an honor to be asked, and an honor to serve. . . a lot of hard work. Don’t want to do it again.

WILLIHNGANZ: What’d you have to do as Vice President?

BARNES: Well, not. . . you just have to go. . . be at the board meetings, and, and deal with the, whatever comes up, whether it be regarding the show we were having and making plans for, that, or whether we need to buy a new copier or not, just regular, every day, business the end of it. And dealing with complaints, from moving the show from one location to another, or whatever it would be. It was not my forte. I’ve always been pretty independent, and one direction. . . and it’s hard for me to deal with a bunch of people, and find the compromises. That wasn’t my strong suit, so to speak.

WILLIHNGANZ: Now, do you show at the shows, the Guild shows?

BARNES: I have done Guild shows. I’ve actually. . . and I’m also. . . and if I can’t do the shows, I’m always trying to go help and work and volunteer to go, and do things. I have actually taught seminars for the Guild at one of the shows. We had a. . . I set up my booth and did a demo on how, on booth design, and offered that to them, when it was interested. And so, I have done some of that as far as your education.


BARNES: But, which was, it’s, and it was, the reason for me doing that, is, is, is in my mind, was giving back. You know, I’ve received so much, and that’s why, I don’t get to do all the shows that they have, but I go help and donate my time to give back.

WILLIHNGANZ: Are there other events where you meet members? Do you go to membership meetings or are there receptions or?

BARNES: No, not right now. There’s not a whole lot. They do have annual meetings and things like that. I don’t always get to them. We get emails from the office and things like that. You go to shows, you know. I’ll go to shows, regardless of where they are in the state. There are other Guild members. So, you get to meet them and talk to them there. The Woodland Art Fair is this coming weekend in Lexington, and I bet there’ll be twenty, thirty members there at that show.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. Have you. . . well obviously you’ve met a lot of friends and acquaintances through this thing. Have you worked with many people who are in glass? Or doing anything similar to what you’re doing?

BARNES: Not really. I know that, that’s just going to be a blank one there, because I don’t know what to tell you on that. I really, I really haven’t connected with a lot of other art with the glass people.

WILLIHNGANZ: There’s just not that many members that work on glass?

BARNES: Well, a lot of the glass people, they blow glass. You know, there’s. . . and they’re the ones that do stained glass. There’s a few of those, but I’m not really connected to them. Seems like I’m really. . . actually I’m listed under mixed media, since I’m doing the glass, wood, and metal.


BARNES: And so, I really don’t. . . don’t have a lot of contact with those specific people. I’ve, like I’ve said, I’ve connected to wood workers. . . and some other things that I’ve needed to ask questions about. . . some metal workers and things, but not a lot for glass.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay, why do you think most people who are younger members of the Guild, are involved? What do they get out of being involved with the Guild?

BARNES: Well, it’s just the family, I think. You instantly realize that it’s a family, and you, you know, a lot of what I’ve already said, you learn from it. It opens the doors to, to all sorts of avenues. It’s that word of mouth, you know. When you’re accepted into something, the word of mouth spreads, you know, and before long, you’ve got a contact that you didn’t know you had, you know. That’s the biggest thing it’s done for me.


BARNES: You’re going to edit all this too, anyway, right?

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, yeah. Basically, what we’re doing, just for your information, at this point, Susan has raised a small amount of money to pay for my services to come and do about. . . at this point I think, it’s going to be ten interviews. I’ve done four today. I’ve got two more next week, two more after that, and a third one after that, and anyway, she tells me it’s going to be about ten by the time we get done. I have to go up to Morehead, and Murray, and Hopkinsville, so I’m going to be doing some driving and all that stuff. But, what I’m going to do initially on the first pass is I’m going to just document these. And most of these people, frankly, are founding members. You’re the first guy who hasn’t had white hair.

BARNES: Right, right, well, I think they wanted that perspective, I think.

WILLIHNGANZ: Right, that’s right. They did. And that’s fine, they’re good, fascinating people actually. But, what we’re going to do is just preserving these, and I’m going to copy them and give them to Susan and the Guild basically. Then, we’re going to try. . . and Susan and Mary and I’ll probably try and sit down and come up with criteria for writing a story—or, a proposal for doing a full, at least, half hour, possibly an hour long, documentary on KET. And, I have a documentary I’ve done on KET, that’s going to be shown this Thursday. So, I know a bit about the process, and how to get on there, and whatnot, and what’s involved in making a documentary - and there’s a lot. So, instead of, you know, a process of a couple weeks that it will take me to do the ten interviews, we’re talking a process of a year to do all the editing and all that. But, she is hopeful that once we get through these ten interviews, we can find ways to apply for grants and get funded enough so I can do a full documentary for this project. And then, we’d use a couple seconds from your interview, and a couple seconds from someone else’s, and you know, talking heads, interspersed with historical pictures, or whatever we could come up with to make it look good and make it sound good. . . a lot of musical cuts as well. So, at this point, I’m just recording the interviews and giving those to her. And those will be kept in archives. And, if they don’t raise the money for ten years, then maybe in ten years, they’ll be useful. And, maybe they’ll want to come back and do a retrospective with you. Say, what have we done for you lately? [Both laugh] Entirely possible.

BARNES: That’s one of the things I knew coming into this. I was not going to know a lot about the history and all the stuff, that’s come into the Guild, because I wasn’t there yet and. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: True. But, you’ve seen it over the last ten years, and I’m wondering you know, like any organization—

BARNES: Well, it’s really about `83 or `84 was when I s. . .


BARNES: `93, I keep saying `83. Did I say that on there? You’re going to kill me.

WILLIHNGANZ: You might’ve, but don’t worry about it. You know, like with any, as with any organization, you’ve got ups and downs and you have decreased. . .

BARNES: Actually, it’s not even ’93, it’s 2003.


BARNES: That’s why, that’s why you were saying that.


BARNES: I’m only, yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: You’ve only been in the organization for four years.


WILLIHNGANZ: Ah. Well then, you really don’t have a historical perspective, although you’ve probably heard some of it.

BARNES: I guess you’ll have to edit that little mis. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. So, you were President. . .

BARNES: Vice President in `03 and `04. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Vice President in `03 and `04, okay.

BARNES: And I said `94 probably, or `84, ain’t no telling.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, okay.

BARNES: I’m nervous, you know. You get nervous when you sit in front of a camera.

WILLIHNGANZ: I understand, I do understand.

BARNES: So. I’ve only been a member for about four years.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well. I’ll keep that in mind, and edit around that, or do whatever we do. We’re not really actually concerned with your dates, that’s not really what I’m concerned about. I guess what I’m really interested in, is what you see as the role of this organization, the Guild, in the development of arts and crafts in this state. What have they contributed, and what do you think they will be able to contribute in the future?

BARNES: Well, you know. Again, a lot of the same things apply I think, for me. I mean, the . . . the history that it has, you know and, and, I’m going blank. . . poof.


BARNES: Have you had this happen?

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh sure, I uh. . .

BARNES: I did this on the KET one, too. I was on KET and I just went blank, I just went totally blank just sitting there.

WILLIHNGANZ: I belong to Toastmasters, for precisely this reason, because I’m in a fair number of positions where I need to be spontaneous, and I need to talk, and we do what we call table topics, where people get up and just speak spontaneously. Here’s a topic, go up and talk for two minutes about this. And you just make up whatever you can, and it really does help you to do that.

BARNES: I’m sure it does.

WILLIHNGANZ: And uh, it’s interesting, because when I was talking to Marie, she was talking about. . . she’s a weaver, okay. . . so she sits at a loom and weaves, and that’s cool. And I said, “What’s the hardest part of mastering your craft?” And she said, “Learning to talk to people.” Which I thought was really interesting, because she says you have to do that to promote yourself, to deal with your business, for all of that.

BARNES: You know what? For me to get up and talk about my work, I don’t have a problem. I can talk about, stand up in front of people in my booth, and talk to them all day long about what I do.

WILLIHNGANZ: Uh-huh. Well, you may not have thought about it, and you know, Susan warned me, some of these questions are a little deep. Because I’ve got some questions here that relate to the function of arts and crafts in terms of society and stuff, and you may not have even thought at this point in your career about. . .

BARNES: So, not even worrying about asking them, because you know, I’m not going to answer them, right?

WILLIHNGANZ: But, what I’m thinking, as I’m asking questions, that downline what we’re probably going to want to do, is put together some kind of a documentary that tells not only the history of the Guild, but how it played into the development of craft work within this state.


WILLIHNGANZ: And, what role it could potentially hold in the future. And bluntly, it will be to promote the Guild and to increase participation, and try and. . .

BARNES: Art throughout the state. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. . . art throughout the state. And so, yeah, a lot of the positive things you’ve already said are exactly what I’m looking for. So that’s not a problem for me. Okay, so you got anything else you’d like to say?

BARNES: I think I’ve said enough.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay, well.

BARNES: Well, the dates are. . .

WILLIHNGANZ: That’s okay, don’t worry about that. We can edit around that, so. This is nice stuff. This is pretty interesting stuff, must be fun to be able to do this stuff.

BARNES: Well, I’m just having more fun every day, it seems like. I set goals and limits for myself, and try to get a certain amount done in a certain amount of time. And, I was busting my tail up until last night to finish, so I’d have stuff for Woodland. And then, the next week I leave for Chicago. So it’s, it’s amazing how it all, has all happened and it truly does. It’s the networking of all of it that has made a big difference, I think. I think you have to have work, the work has to be good, but after you have good work then you have to have the contacts and connections, just the way of artwork.

WILLIHNGANZ: Do you feel intimidated or put off by having to go through some jury selection process when you go to an art fair?

BARNES: I did at first, and I don’t anymore. You start to get over it, and you realize that not everyone’s going to like your work. And, regardless of whether they like it or not, when they’re jurying, people that have been doing the show for fifteen years, and 3/4ths of the people in the show are brand new. You’ve only got 25 percent, and you’re trying to get into that 25 percent, and your odds aren’t that good anyway. So, you know, going in, you know, that a lot of the people have been doing it so long, they automatically get back in. So it makes it hard to get in. So, you know, going in, you know, what you’re up against, and you learn that you just have to have a stiff upper lip and let it roll.

WILLIHNGANZ: Have you been turned down often?

BARNES: Oh, yeah. I’ve been turned down. Yeah. I can tell you about one in particular I’ve gotten, got turned down from, it’s kind of hilarious. I won’t tell it on TV, but I do shows all over the country, and can’t get into a show not too far from here. Which is hilarious, but that’s... Next time it will happen, or it won’t, maybe it’ll never happen.

WILLIHNGANZ: You know, I look at the whole movement in art fairs and whatnot, and so many of them are at such a quality level. And I’ve, concerns myself about. . . are we actually encouraging people to get involved with craft work, or are we showing them, this stuff is so good, you can’t begin to compete with it, you know, might as well give up now, pal. Okay, just give us the money and we’ll make the great stuff.

BARNES: Well, you know, the first, the first ACC show I did, the American Craft Company show in Atlanta. . . that was just this year. That was my first show. And, I walked in there, a total newbie, you know. And, I’m walking around getting ready to start setting my stuff up. And, I’m looking around and everywhere I look, there’s something really unique, and different, and really exciting and cool, and I’m thinking, “Do I belong here or not?” Kind of makes you nervous there for awhile. But yeah, you’re right. Those kind of shows, when you get into them, their. . . every booth has something to offer, just about, that’s really unique and different, and it really makes you proud when you realize you’ve been a part of it and managed to make it in. And, a lot of that, a lot of it comes from slides, you know, people from the Guild telling me where to go get slides made. You know, it took several people before I found one that was capable of photographing my work.

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, that’s interesting.

BARNES: Because it’s mixed media, I was getting the glass to look really good, or the wood, part of the wood would look really good, but I wasn’t getting both. And, my photographs were quite expensive to have done. But, I found a man that knows how to do it, finally, and it was almost instant that I started with, using better photographs, that I started getting into some of these bigger shows.


BARNES: So, you’re competing against slides and digital images, a lot of them have been enhanced and everything else, so, you’ve got to do everything you can do, to get yours to look as good as you can.


BARNES: Because a lot of the work looks better than it actually does in real, real life.

WILLIHNGANZ: I’ve done a lot of work in the last three years with photo shop. And, I’m here to tell you, you want to be a woman, we can make you be a woman. You’ll never know the difference. I’ll take a picture of you and you’ll be a woman. Anything is possible anymore, it’s very scary.

BARNES: Yeah. There’s a particular artist that, I had seen her work in a, in a publication, there was a piece of my work in the publication, and there was a piece of her work. And, I was totally intrigued by the piece. I was ready to go buy the piece just from the photograph. When I actually saw it, it was a total disappointment.


BARNES: And of course, I couldn’t tell her that. I would never hurt her feelings. But the photo was four to five times better than the piece.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, yeah, that’s the problem. You can enhance things amazing amounts, you really can. Okay, well. Thank you very much for your time.

BARNES: I hope that helps you enough.

WILLINGANZ: I think it will do. It’s what we could do. Yeah, let me uh, take you’re uh, stuff apart here. I’ll just bring this, this one unscrews, and that one pulls off.

BARNES: Hopefully, I’ll give you a line or two that’ll work.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I think that should be useful actually.

BARNES: There’s that one.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. Yeah, it’s uh. . .

BARNES: I never did do much with the educational stuff with the Guild. I never had the time to do it. You know, I’m still working full time doing the upholstery, and doing the art at night and stuff.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow. Shoo. So, the upholstery is basically just, basic re-upholstering types of jobs.

BARNES: Well. I do custom stuff, too. I build furniture, headboards, custom benches, I’ve even built sofas, but it’s about fifty-fifty custom, fifty-fifty new or, re-upholstery.


BARNES: But, it’s a good steady income.

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