The secret to success is different for every artist. By creating with the philosophy that one learns something new every day and allowing her endless passion for working with clients to inspire and inform her art, Kathy Barnard has achieved an enviable level of personal and professional accomplishment. The artist’s work, which includes carved and etched glass, stained glass, and carved granite and tile murals, can be found in public spaces, churches, private homes, and galleries in the US, Hawaii, Alaska, Apia Samoa, England, Scotland, Germany, and Japan.
Barnard’s career is marked with groundbreaking commissions. One of her first stained glass projects, the Tree of Life, was designed in 1988 for the Jewish Community Center Campus and Offices of the National Jewish Federation in Overland Park, Kansas. This circular stained glass window measures 15’ in diameter and features a tree in medium hues and shades of blue. Her largest carved and etched glass commission was completed in 2000 and took Barnard two and a half years to complete. Measuring 40 feet tall by 35 feet wide, this signature wall for the SNB Bank building in Tulsa features Oklahoma wildlife and landscape. In 2007-2008 Barnard combined both etching and stained glass in a tour de force titled Ode to Joy, Flight of Dovesfor Porter Adventist Hospital in South Denver, Colorado. The artist designed and fabricated a 25-foot-by-25-foot entryway, a 16-foot carved donor wall, two carved glass entry doors, and a 12-foot-by 9-foot stained glass chapel headwall.
President of the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA) from 2015-16, Barnard remains on the SGAA Board of Directors as well as being a regular attendee of the American Glass Guild (AGG) conferences. Cooperating on an inaugural joint conference, SGAA and AGG members will meet in San Antonio, Texas, June 3 through 5, 2019, with pre-conference classes held on June 1 and 2. “This historic conference will be a great opportunity for members of both organizations to network alongside their shared interest in stained glass.”
It is difficult to say if Barnard works primarily as a glass carver or a stained glass artist. It varies from year to year and according to which clients and commissions she works with in a given time period. Most recently the artist has completed seven stained glass panels for Presence Resurrection Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. Installed in custom steel frames, these etched and painted Lamberts glass windows represent Healing Stories of the Bible.
A master at juggling large public commissions and smaller autonomous panels, Barnard has simultaneously been working on Fables & Other Muses, a series of exhibition pieces that includes her Raven collection and additional panels inspired by images from the natural world. “I love to tell stories with my works in glass by layering content. At first you see one aspect of the story or image but with more time viewing the piece, you may see something more.”
To commemorate a client’s induction into the National Academy of Sciences, Barnard is currently producing a private commission that combines etching, carving, painting and firing, silver staining, fusing and slump casting, double glazing and lamination. The design, which represents the unique discoveries of Barnard’s client in the field of genetics, contains laboratory animals, scientific symbols and notations in the borders, and various species in a fantasy wildlife scene. Amidst healing flowers of echineacia and floating atop a field of water lily leaves are playful mice with fruit fly wings.
Not knowing the full story, Barnard’s mice with wings could be viewed as a delightful design of playful images and color. But look again to discover deeper meaning.
The more scientists discover about genetics, the more we understand why mice with wings can only exist in a fantasy world created by an artist.