Barry Bradley’s expertise in fine craft, through a diverse array of medium, has been developing for over 40 years. His move to the Texas Hill Country from Houston 16 years ago strengthened his desire to work exclusively with Native Texas woods and challenge color combinations through testing patina on various woods and metal. Through experimentation and the desire to conquer challenges, Barry’s ideas and designs quickly developed into a fine craft.
Barry states “My mind is constantly working through new ideas. My sketch book is never far away and I am always working out my next art piece on paper prior to gathering materials and setting the tools up in my work space. The joy begins when rummaging through my vast collection of wood for the perfect pieces”.
Once the raw material is identified, Barry allows it to reveal its unique characteristics and true colors, which helps guide him to a finished piece. Many times, his ideas and plans will take an entirely new direction and create even more excitement while he works through the challenges of change and a creative mind. Barry’s latest focus includes works that incorporate metal, copper and/or stone into his sculpture and furniture designs. Barry enjoys creating the unexpected in furnishings and sculpture. Once a piece is completed and on display, his hopes are to provide the viewer with the desire to experience his work in a tactile manner along with invoking an emotional query and on occasion, amusement.
Barry’s career as a Building Trades and wood working teacher spanned 29 years until retirement in 2010. Prior to and in preparation of his retirement, he and his wife opened an art gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas in 2005 with the objective of promoting Barry’s art along with the art of other regional artists. While a high school teacher, not only did Barry teach his students how to build small cottages from the ground up but, he also provided them with the knowledge and hands-on skills to create fine furnishings and canoes. With his students and their projects, Barry would attend an annual state competition where his students always received the top awards. For many years, other Trades teachers from across the state would openly reveal their anticipation of Barry’s retirement so that their students may also win the top awards.
“It was inspirational for me to have one of my students looking over my shoulder while I sketched out a design. Great joy came from a well-completed project and my student’s exhibit of pride. I feel that if my creativity inspired future generations to continue in the craft, I have been successful” says Barry.
Barry’s art has been featured in several magazines including Niche, Woodworkers West and Western Art Collector. His recent awards include: Bastrop Fine Arts Competition – First Place – September 2013, Texas Society of Sculptors’ “My Texas” Show – First Place – May 2013, Texas Furniture Makers Show – Judge’s Special Award – November 2012, Texas Furniture Makers Show – People’s Choice Award – 2014, Texas Furniture Maker’s Show – Best Art Style – 2014.