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.
I am a textile artist, lawyer, and historian whose work explores how the margins between things that are separate erode, shift, and change over time.

My work examines how cultures define themselves and one another as they compete for shared natural resources, a theme I examined through research of Native american and Anglo-European resource use in the Pacific Northwest, Land Divided by Law (Quid Pro Books, 2014) and in a book of fiction, The Illuminatrix (Quid Pro Books, 2012).  

My deconstructed and reconstructed textiles and drawings further explore intersections at the edges of surfaces, both created and found.  

What we create illuminates who we are.

Barbara Leibhardt Wester
Summer Work
Solitude, 18 x 24", charcoal, graphite, found construction film fragments on stretched canvas, May 2017.
Spring Work
The Dark Starry Night, in Honor of Fermi Lab's 50th Anniversary, 34 x 44," currently on display as part of Fermi Lab's "50 Years of Science and Art Employee Art Show 2017," through May 22, 2017, at Fermi Lab.
March 2017
Pilgrimage/The Genuine Heart of Sadness will be heading for Sacred Threads 2017 exhibit in Herndon, Virginia in July.  

Sacred Threads is "a biennial exhibition that was established to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or an expression of their spiritual journey."  More about the upcoming exhibit is here.

February 2017
Detail, Seeing Red, which appears in ARC's Seeing Red Exhibit. See Textiles tab for view of the entire textile.
December - Work on View
This month I'm pairing up with photographer Steve Geer, in a show at Sip Coffee House in Chicago, which brings together 10 pieces of our work (5 of each) focusing on images of the city, both representational and abstract. Textile pieces on view include City, Snow (2013), City in my Mind (2015), The Life of the City is Underground (2016), Grant Park Summer (2016) and City, Fragment (2016).  See these pieces in the Textiles tab at right.  Steve's work is at
Transfigurations I
Repurposed found papers, rolled and glued, approximately 18" x infinite, October 2016, below, serving as cat toy.
City in My Mind II
In progress, detail.  Cotton on cotton batik fabrics, machine stitched, approximately 31 x 48."
Transluscent textile of cotton-on-cotton fabric, machine stitched, approximately 28 x 60," August 2016
Drifting, Grief II
42 x 46," batik and potato starch dyed cotton textiles, machine stitched.  June 2016
Dark Horses Travels to Threads: A Sampling of the Fiber Arts at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, in Dowell, Maryland
A juried exhibit of contemporary fiber art, Threads: A Sampling of Fiber Art will run from March 18, 2016 through July 24, 2016.  Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is located at 13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, MD.

More about the exhibit from Annmarie's website:

This exhibit assembles a vibrant and diverse selection of works that reflect the best of contemporary fiber and textile art, from works that embrace innovative materials, forms, and processes, to those that celebrate the history of this art form.  Juried by internationally recognized expert, Renate Maile-Moskowitz, THREADS will thrill guests with its colors, textures, and designs. 

Juror:  Renate Maile-Moskowitz, International Fiberart Pedagogue, Historian, Consultant, Artist

Contributing Artist(s): 
Susan Aaron-Taylor, Lynda Andrews-Barry, Jill Ault, Gabrielle Aydnwylde, Sue Banning, Susan Berger, Marie Bergstedt, Frid Branham, Blair Cahill, Monica Chulewicz, Peggy Cox, Carrie Dickason, Barb Butler, Karen Donde, Kathie Roig, Eileen Doughty, Lynn Doyal, Arnika Eskeland, Liz Fay, Carrie Lee Gissiner, Clara Graves, Judith Gunter, Marcia Haffmans, Jean judd, Elaine Katz, Allison Korb, Kathryn Kosto, Mickey Kunkle, George Laufert, Pamela MacGregor, Tamryn McDermott, Jacquline Mehring, Lenore Mills, David Mooney, Olivia Morrow, Chirs Motley, Dominie Nash, Hannah O’Brien, Tea Okropiridze, J.Luray Schaffner, Jenny Schu, Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, Deborah Silver, Adrienne Sloane, Ashley Smith, Peeta Tinay, Steve Totin, Betty Usdan Zwickler, Amy Veach, Michael Weaver, Barbara Weber, Doerte Weber, Barbara Wester, Shea Wilkinson, Peggy Wyman.

for more information:
Speaking Surface Languages
Studying Black, I, February 2016

"Make the surface speak its own surface language," Jean Dubuffet wrote.  The pieces in this study comprise surface rubbings in charcoal, graphite, and pastels of asphalt, bark, discarded paper:  in the smallest things we may look for -- and find -- the infinite.