Carrie Barber, the artisan of CSS, is a 39yr old mother of 2 and has been happily married to Curtis Barber for 15 years. Originally born and raised in Vancouver, BC her family packed up and moved to Chestermere, AB in July 2010. Curtis & Carrie's oldest son has Autism Spectrum Disorder and their youngest son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder & Oppositional Defiance Disorder. The labels aren't important; it's the level of specialized services (that are exceptional in AB - the best in Canada) care and support that the boys (and the family unit) receive in school and at home. Moving provinces has been a huge adjustment for the family but a worthwhile adventure as well.
Creativity and having an outlet to be imaginative has been a stress release for Carrie for most of her life. As a young child Carrie loved to draw, collage, sing and dance... Anyway she could find to express herself and have fun. Growing up Carrie learned many artistic and useful things from her Parents and Grandparents. Some of the invaluable skills included learning to tend a garden, the art of photography, cooking traditional family favorites, baking breads-cookies-pastries-pies, etc., knitting, crocheting, sewing, and to make jams and preserves.
Carrie has musical talents and can play many musical instruments. She has sang with a competitive Sweet Adelines Chorus in Vancouver and won various contests and awards. Carrie's made beautiful furniture pieces, metal sculpture and has a passion for hot rods and classic cars. Carrie has always excelled at artistic endeavors and is a Red Seal Chef, specializing in pastries.
Unfortunately, a serious car accident took Carrie from the professional kitchens and left her disabled for the rest of her life at age 26. She has good days and bad days with the permanent injuries and chronic pain. Most would never know she is hurt, this part of her life is very guarded and she only allows those closest to see that side of her. In spite of it all, she has continued to create things...because she needs to, to keep moving forward.
Carrie has a particular love for paper arts; she is a published scrapbooker, makes cards, and prior to moving to AB taught at scrapbook shops in and around Vancouver. Art journaling and mixed media canvas are newer crafts that Carrie really enjoys. She even dabbles in making her own unique jewelery.
The glass work is a newer outlet for Carrie. She took a class from a local artisan in Okotoaks, AB in February 2012 and started making pieces for herself, it was never really meant to be a business. A friend took a couple pieces of her glass work and entered them into the Chestermere Country Fair in Sept 2012 without Carrie knowing. When Carrie attended the fair with her sons she couldn't believe that her pieces were in the competition, with 1st place ribbons and handfuls of cards and notes asking to buy and create custom pieces. Suddenly, she was in business!
Working with glass is something that Carrie has always wanted to do. Cold fused glass works well for Carrie because is it a much quicker process than traditional glass fusion with a kiln. The variety of materials that Carrie uses makes her very unique and stands apart from other cold fusion artists. Creative Spark Studio has successfully done a number of small community craft shows through the Christmas season in 2012, the Fall & Christmas season of 2013. CSS was thrilled to be a last minute addition to the 2014 Calgary Spring "Festival of Crafts" at the Big Four Building, Stampede Park. CSS participated at 2 nationally produced craft shows Fall 2014 - "Fall into Christmas" in Lethbridge, AB and "Festival of Crafts" in Calgary, AB. For the Spring of 2015 CSS was at the Butterdome show in Edmonton, AB and returned to "Festival of Crafts" in Calgary.
For those unaware, our tiny studio suffered a set back when a freak storm caused flooding and then 3 days later a enormous water leak plagued our home/studio July 2015. The repairs took a lengthy amount of time and we are finally back up in operation for the Fall/Winter season 2016.
Creative Spark Studio hand makes glass art through a cold fusion process. Any of our flat 5mm glass pieces are all hand cut from large sheets and then hand sanded. Carrie takes the base glass and creates a design layout with a variety of glass stones, pebbles, feathers, bark, leaves, buttons, etc. We can use a wider variety of materials because our fusing process is chemical and doesn't require firing in a kiln. Once the layout is completed we mix our industrial 2 part resin and pour it onto the piece; then briefly fire with a propane torch. Depending on the temperature outside and the decorative items used the resin cures anywhere from 1-4 weeks. Voila! A piece of art! It's important to us that our pieces are unique, often practical but also affordable. We want our art to be something that the average person can affordably purchase and enjoy.