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Virtuosa Fabrics are Here!

Virtuosa Fabrics are Here!

I'm excited to report that my latest collection of fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics is now in stores!

Virtuosa Fabrics by Bari J. for Art Gallery FabricsVirtuosa is a line dedicated to my background in theatre, so I thought I'd tell you a little about that.

As a child, I didn't feel like there was much I was good at until I discovered theatre. Lucky for me our town had a wonderful children's theatre. I was in musicals all the way through high school. Then once in college, I started as a theatre major. 

You should know that my mom is an artist, and I believed that I could not draw and was not at all artistic (despite evidence to the contrary that I only see in hind sight). Mom can literally draw anything she sees and was given a scholarship to the art institute. And looking at my own art, it couldn't possibly compare, so I wrote that off as "I don't have the talent".

Virtuosa Fabrics by Bari J. for Art Gallery Fabrics

In my junior year of college, I outright panicked and quit theatre. Suffice to say, I again believed my "no talent" story, again despite evidence to the contrary. I didn't think I could take the constant rejection with a career in theatre.

I graduated college with a bachelor's of science two years late. I was a social sciences major with an emphasis in women's studies and psychology, and I was already working full time in advertising. I was a copy writer, and I had developed some graphic design skills. I learned that I had what I'd say is a good eye for design.

Sometimes I mourn that I quit theatre. Early on, I joined local theatre productions and continued voice lessons, but at some point, fear took hold and I literally stopped singing. I'll sometimes sing in the car or the shower, but most often I don't want anyone to hear me. 

I realize that sounds rather sad, and maybe one day I will go back to theatre, but for now, I just love a good musical or play and enjoy being a patron.

Virtuosa is my art song to the actress I didn't become... the young girl filled with love for theatre and all of it's wonders. It's full of passionate, dramatic florals, quiet moments and most of all, the color and joy of theatre.

Virtuosa Fabrics by Bari J. for Art Gallery FabricsThe irony that I ended up an artist where you also have to take rejection constantly isn't lost on me. I found a true passion and "talent" for what I do. But what I found out is that we all have gifts, some lucky few are gifted with innate ability from the start. And others of us find it along the way through practice, patience and persistence.

All of this makes me wonder this: if the options we are given as young children are open ended, and presented without judgment, would we gravitate to our truest callings early on? Or maybe the journey and the mistakes and experiences along the way leads us to where we ought to be. For, without every single experience along the way, I would not be where I am now.

I know that if I had continued theatre, I would have eventually made it. I'd have practiced, been patient and would have auditioned until I dropped. I know that about myself. I have immense grit. But as author Elizabeth Gilbert says in "Big Magic", that wasn't the "shit sandwich" I could choke down. Meaning, every career choice comes with the bad as well as the good. Even the yucky part of being an artist is a much tastier choice indeed.

That said, there's an ounce of the bitter sweet in this colorful collection of fabrics. I hope you enjoy sewing with it as much as I enjoyed designing it. 

Here's to following the path to see where it leads!

Shop for Virtuosa HERE.

(note: a full lookbook for the collection is forthcoming!)

 Virtuosa Fabrics by Bari J. for Art Gallery Fabrics

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  • Nancy

    You are so special as are all your fabrics, paintings wallpaper etc. Theatre may have lost a potential star, the quilt industry gained a ‘Real Star’!

  • Elizabeth

    I recently returned from an 11 day journey from Morocco. Your vibrantly colored fabrics took me back to this color rich country immediately. So beautiful.

  • Marlene Lano

    Hi Bari, I love the vibrant color in your new designs – a beautiful collection. I enjoyed your heartfelt story of your inspiration and creative journey. Thank you for sharing your journey and beautiful work.

  • Linda Barutha

    Hi Bari, I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderfully written post. So much truth! And, I LOVE the new fabric line! Congratulations! I’m just starting a new quilt along with Melanie so now I know what fabric I’m going to purchase for it:) Oh, and I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to Melanie a couple years ago!

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