I am an artist living in British Columbia, Canada. My studio is a bit of a Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities), full of antique oddities, leaves, fossils, pieces of wood, handmade paper, old and unusual treasures, all squirreled away until they become part of my artist books and other works.
About the artist:
Barbara Simler grew up in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and currently lives in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. She studied art and English literature at Boise State University, and the history of the book at the University of Alberta.
Barbara learned to make books with wooden covers from master bookbinder Jim Croft, and book and paper making in general mostly from her own explorations -- Keith Smith's books, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, by J. A. Szirmai, and many other helpful books.
About the work
I grew up on a cattle ranch in the mountains, and was a solitary child, roaming the woods and reading over and over all the books (mostly 19th century novels) in the tiny library at my one-room school. More than anything, the intensity and richness of those early experiences have informed my work.
Some of the books I make are like meditations -- a way to explore memories I have of growing up in the mountains of the Northwestern U.S. , so trees, mountains, rocks, fossils, mica, bugs, volcanic rock, rusting farm machinery, worn wood, cows, horses, and many, many other things are part of (some things more specifically than others) my work.
Im interested in the Japanese aesthetic principles of Wabi Sabi and Shibui, and my Coptic books in particular reflect an interest in making books that are simple, imperfect, and natural.
Im also interested in the history of the book, and some of my books explore the idea of the book its history, meaning, and symbolic value in western culture.