About The Artist
Tara Barney grew up on an acreage ten miles west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Communications from Southeast Technical Institute. Afterwards, she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where she completed coursework in jewelry, metalsmithing, drawing and design at Colorado State University. Over the years, Tara has trained several artisans in metalsmithing and beadwork techniques.
Tara’s jewelry has been exhibited at the Center for Western Studies, The Horse Barn Arts Center, the 30th Annual Artists of the Plains Show and the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Tell me about your creative process and why you work in your chosen media. I started making jewelry by happenstance when I bought two doves from a class mate to keep in my apartment in college. I envisioned gentle cooing in the background but what I got was two birds that hated each other! Definitely, not a good pair. They fought a lot in the short time they were with me, so I cleaned up a lot of feathers. It seemed like a waste to throw them away. One day a friend gave me some beads and I slipped them on the stem of a feather which led to a trip to a bead show to find some earring hooks. The rest is history! I still have one of the feather earrings in a box to remind me of what first inspired me to make jewelry. I would say my creative process is observing what is readily available around me and thinking about a way to wear it or turn it into art!
What is your favorite or most inspirational place in South Dakota? Our home and surroundings contain my favorite places. We are nestled in a forest close to the Big Sioux River. All I have to do is look out the window or take a walk by the river to be inspired.
What’s integral to the work of an artist? For me it is important and necessary to work with my hands while I am creating. In addition, I maintain my sensitivity and my empathy for people by spending peaceful time learning about God’s teachings through Jesus. Sensitivity and empathy are integral in assessing the wants and needs of my students so I can help them grow as artists.
What themes do you pursue and why? My themes are based on organic concepts rooted in South Dakota culture. If you would like to know why, come visit with me about a particular piece at one of my openings, shows or demonstrations!
What role does the artist have in society? I believe everyone has the ability to be artistic. People need art to express their feelings, record their culture, create nourishment, and design everything from ergonomic devices to homes, cars, cups, quilts and objects we use in everyday life. Art and science are linked and so we use the problem solving, imagination and inspirations for making art to explore the universe, find cures, preserve nature and much more!
Do you admire any artists? I admire the late Marian Henjum, a South Dakota artist. I learned more in her six week drawing course than I learned in a semester at college! We had an illness and chronic pain in common. In the time I knew her, I was inspired by her tenacity and sense of humor. She had a way of making me feel like a long-time friend even though we knew each other for a short while.