Barbara Todd, received her B.A. in fine art from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Through the 1980’s she lived and worked at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has taught in the Studio Art Department at Concordia University, Montreal, and in the arts department at Emma Willard School in Troy. Barbara is an internationally recognized exhibiting artist, best known for her textile works. Todd has been commissioned to create a permanent public artwork for the St. Patrick Subway Station of the TTC in Toronto, installation date to be determined. Todd resides in Troy.
When I was seven years old my grandmother taught me how to knit. Our first project was a red mohair sweater. At about the same time another well-intentioned mentor helped me to sew clothes for my Barbie doll. It’s possible my career as an artist began then.
Jump ahead two decades. I was a museum educator, researching an exhibition of old appliqué quilts. Looking at them, reading about them, touching them, gave me the shivers. These quilts taught me that textiles, made for the home, could mean something.
The following year I began my own quilt, “Cover/Undercover” (a self-portrait, with all of my clothes represented in miniature appliqué shapes).
Since then, though I have worked with many different materials, and read and looked widely, textiles remain central to my practice. It’s the conversation between material and process and meaning that keeps me going.
Return to age seven. All this time I had been thinking that it was the choice of materials and processes that hinted at my vocation. It has taken decades to realize that it’s the relationships, the back and forth of hands and thoughts, that mattered, and that continues to make the work matter.