Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Lady With Wonderful Vision


This post is coming to you "live from the Marion Public Library" where lappy and I are enjoying air conditioned comfort - - - we are having internet woes at home. Lappy is good, but he isn't THAT good!!! Even he cannot compensate for lack of wi-fi.

This is my cousin, Sally Barker, holding one of her blind-friendly masterpieces, "Red Poppy" by Georgia O'Keeffe.

Sally is a lady with a vision - - - and she isn't the kind to easily let go of it.

Sally's vision is to do something to allow blind people to "see" art. Just imagine being blind and trying to "see" a flat picture with your hands - - - if, that is, any art museum or exhibit would even let you touch it. All you would feel is a flat canvas, perhaps a few brush strokes.

There would be no way to tell color, shape, or texture. No way to "see" the art.

Sally is DOING something about this.

She has developed the "Barker Code" for turning artwork into hand friendly masterpieces for the blind to enjoy. Her code uses a specific fabric type for each color, so there will be a difference in color texture. But she doesn't stop there. She takes artwork and turns it into a quilted, textured, Barker Coded masterpiece.

So far she has met with much skepticism like, "Well, the blind can't picture colors anyway"

She has NOT let this skepticism stop her. Instead, she is doing something to help. She has done A LOT to help. She has already transformed many pieces of art into her code, and she takes them to show to blind people where ever she can find them.

This is a close up of a Braille "B" which she puts in the upper left hand corner of each of her pieces to identify that it is made according to the Barker Code. Do you see the three little black puffy paint dots? That's it - - - the Braille "B" for the Barker Code.

This is what the back side of one of her pieces looks like. You can see all the hand quilting which will bring shape and definition to the front side of the piece.

Between the backing and the front she puts padding and other texture enhancers. Above you see a piece of plastic craft card with coarse threads drawn through it. She put this (in the picture below) behind the brown to simulate the rough texture of the dry earth.

"Christina's World"
Andrew Wyeth

In each of the following pictures, the copy of the original art is placed ABOVE Sally's Barker Code replica.

I think you will find them amazing!

"The Scream"
by Edvard Munch

"Starry Night"
by Vincent Van Gogh

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

"Icarus Fallen"
by Henri Matisse

"The Flower Carrier"
by Diego Rivera

If you are a quilter (or anyone else) who would like to help Sally turn art into the Barker Code, or if you know of a group of blind who would love to "see" her work, Sally would be thrilled if you contact her.

Sally's e-mail: larrysally at gmail dot com
Sally's web page
On Facebook - Sarah E. Barker, Dayton, Ohio

Now this fun little personal aside to this story: We are a LARGE family. My dad and Sally's dad were brothers, two of 13 Heavilin siblings raised right here in Marion. We have now spread all over the globe.

I have only ever seen Sally's son, Bart, at family gatherings. UNTIL THIS EVENING as I was entering the Marion Library. A young man in the parking lot was watching me get out of my car, he called across to me and said: "Are you a Heavilin??? I'm Bart Barker."

Go figure!!! The very day I decide to make Sally's post, I see her son, my first cousin once removed, in the library parking lot!!!! He was here, just for the day, from North Carolina doing genealogy research on our family.



Debby@Just Breathe said...

Keetha, this is an absolutely beautiful post. What an inspiration she is. Our world is a better place because of people like her. Thank you for sharing and how wonderful it was for you to see her son. It's a God thing!

Cindy said...

I am in awe. I have so much respect for her vision and purpose!

Pam said...

I've been wondering when you would do Sally's post - guess it had to wait for the day you would run into Bart! (When was he last at a family gathering?) Anyway, your post did justice to the amazing project she has undertaken.

Jessica Morris said...

WOW!! That is incredible! Her art is beautiful and her vision is impressive. What a beautiful gift she is creating for people!

Kim Sue said...

isn't it sad that there are people that would just dismiss the whole thing

Erin said...

I am speechless. Her work is just amazing. Beautiful!

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville said...

Hey Keetha! Great and interesting post. I had no idea. Wow, what intricate work she does. Thats so giving, so wonderful. Amazing, really. Thanks for sharing that.

Shannon said...

That's so amazing- what a talent!

kyooty said...

what a great idea.

Anonymous said...


raxx a day in the life said...

I'm touched by her generosity!! It's amazing what she is doing!!

I can't find my blog said...

This is just awesome! And so fun that she's related!

Tonja said...

I think this is the most wonderful thing! Living with someone who had lost so much of his sight, I can taste just a little bit of what the blind have to deal with. To do anything to help is so admirable. But, to do something that brings an added dimension to their lives...something to bring them joy, is an amazing thing. There is that side to all of us, blind or not, that connects with some form of the arts. To make these beautiful works of art available to them...I just think this is wonderful!

Lynn said...

Beautiful story.
Beautiful work!
There are no accidents.

My advice on going back to school in the fall? If you won't starve or lose your house, DON'T GO!!!!

Kathy (Pearson) Troyer said...

This is so wonderful. God has truly blessed her with a gift. And the best thing is that she is sharing her gift. Kudos.

Kristin - The Goat said...

It is so amazing what people come up with to help others. What a fabulous idea!!!

I think it's funny that Bart was looking for his relatives in the library when he met them in the parkinglot! LOL

Holly said...

Wow! I am so impressed! This is the best thing I've seen all week, and I love knowing that the blind will be able to see this art too.

Nancy said...


korie said...

wow that is incredible

Lone Butterfly said...

This is incredible and beautiful! I am going to look into how I can help!

Unknown said...

That is beautiful and amazing!