Barbara Peirce, Master Weaver and Fiber Artist
(excerpts from an interview with Elaine F. Graves)
Barbara Peirce has been a professional weaver since the late 1970s, fulfilling her
lifelong dream of creating something by hand that is both practical and special. Her desire to learn to weave began when she was 16 years old and growing up in Berlin. A trip to her aunt’s
home in Bavaria where she saw her first loom sparked her interest even more. Her parents nixed the weaving since it was just after World War II and they encouraged their daughter to study the more practical skillsof dress making and tailoring.
Over the years as Barbara studied weaving in the U.S., initially through a home mail course, she realized that she could turn her woven material into practical and beautiful garments, thus putting to use those pattern making and design skills she learned as a teenager.
Barbara’s creations extend to beadwork, fabric collage, embroidery, knitting and
millinery. Her brightly colored one-of-a-kind pieces---jackets, vests sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, purses, kitchen towels, table runners-- show a wide range of design, composition, color combinations and creativity. Recently, she has started to create jewelry from beads and wires, a new creative endeavor learned from courses she’s taken through the Hand Weavers Guild of America.
Since 1982, she has held major yearly Washington showings of her fiber art creations in her own home, rather than an art gallery, because it is more personal. Barbara weaves year-round on Leclerk looms, one that is 45 inches wide in her southwest Washington, DC home and a smaller one, 36 inches wide in her summer residence in Newfound Lake, New Hampshire.
She has completed advanced courses in weaving techniques in Ayotte’s Designer Center in S
andwich, New Hampshire, from 1977 through 1984. In the early ‘90s she took courses at the Danish Weaving Center in Haderslev, Denmark, and she has taken art courses at the Corcoran gallery of Art.
Since Barbara and her husband and three children are one of the pioneering families of St. Augustine’s, the church has greatly benefited from her creations too. She wove several vestments, liturgical stoles and some banners for St. A’s. We’ll let her explain the meaning of the inspiring tapestry hanging behind the altar now: "The wall-hanging shows the continents of the world. It has oceans which touch them and connect the whole world with Christian love. That is what I was thinking when I designed the wall hanging."