The Illuminated Stitch
Land Divided by Law is available in paper and electronic formats at, Quid Pro Books, and other leading sites.
The Illuminatrix is available at, Quid Pro Books, and other leading sites.
Barbara Leibhardt Wester is a textile artist, lawyer, and historian whose work explores how the margins between things that are separate erode, shift, and change over time.

Her interest in how different cultures compete and cooperate in using shared natural resources and political power has resulted in Land Divided by Law (Quid Pro Books, 2014) and a book of fiction, The Illuminatrix (Quid Pro Books, 2012)Examining intersecting and eroding cultural margins and surfaces has been the inspiration for her constructed and deconstructed textiles.

What we create illuminates who we are.
Transcend, at Fermi Lab Employee Art Show 2015

Transcend, hand dyed silk, linen, cotton fabrics, silk and cotton thread, March 2015


What something is is not relevant when it matters that something be defined in one way.  Our society depends upon arbitrary categories as a way to define power; demarcate boundaries and normalcy; allocate who has and who has not.  Categories mark the acceptable and attempt to force the constant change of reality into knowable bounds. 


In a universe of infinite possibilities, everything is possible and always changing.  Compare any two objects or beings:  you always will be able to identify seemingly significant similarities – and seemingly significant differences. 


Within the monochromatic surface of Transcend are a myriad of textures and color variegations.  No two surfaces are exactly alike or dissimilar.  Yet together the disparate surfaces form a unified structure.  Within the structure lies a common heart.  Are we more alike?  Or more different?  Or are we all unique elements born from and inextricably bound within a greater whole?


Inspired by elements of the Abstract Expressionist movement, the pieces I create from fabric and elemental fibers including wool, silk, and steel wool explore how textiles can create tactile spaces in time: both marking boundaries and creating linkages; and providing a temporary gap within which to reflect on the possibilities of the next moment in which anything might happen.


Transcend, and so many other beautiful works of art, are currently on view in the 2d Floor Art Gallery in Wilson Hall, at Fermi Lab.  The exhibit runs from September 18, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
October/November New Work
Remembrance, 22 x 24", cotton fabric, wool roving, cotton batting, glass beads, twigs from my garden, November 2015.
Full Circle, 19 x 21", cotton fabrics, cotton thread, November 2015.

A Thousand Ways up the Mountain, 27 x 36," cotton fabrics, November 2015.
Flesh and Bone, 17 x 24," cotton fabrics, October 2015.
Death is the Glass of Life Broken, I, acrylic and shaved graphite on canvas, 18 x 24," October 2015.
Death is the Glass of Life Broken, II, 18 x 24," acrylic and shaved graphic on canvas, 18 x 24," October 2015.