National and International “Found In Our Water”

Our concern for the quality of our water should be a national and international dialogue. I seek collaborators to stage exhibitions, panel discussions, student workshops, school visits and adult events around the country.

May 2014Bridges, B A A W  Exhibition

KFAI interview

The Found In Our Water series emerged at the annual NorthEast Minneapolis spring show. Barbara lives in the Northeast Arts  District where over 1000 artists have studios and show their work.  Barbara presented her water quality installation first at a WARM (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota) critique. Twenty-five mentors and proteges shared their reflections using the Liz Lerman critique model. Barbara’s WARM mentor, Jill Waterhouse, facilitated.
WARM Videos and pictures   Warm Critique Notes


Here you will view authentic voices and pictures taken with cell phones, professional and unprofessional cameras and videographers and uncut videos from the Art-A-Whirl event.  Please enjoy the dynamic sound of people at an art show looking, making, and learning.
NEMAA, Art-A-Whirl Minneapolis 2014    ArtMaking     Art-A-Whirl Selfies        Visitors      Chair Signing      Pictures   Results of Survey

Gary,  Indiana  Lake Michigan, May 29, 2014
Gary 2Lake Michigan has the longest fresh water shoreline in the nation.  Lake Superior claims the largest surface and Lake Baikal, in Russia, is the deepest and oldest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake by volume.  Unfortunately, all these lakes have at least one thing in common. Don’t eat the fish!!

Click here to read about my recent visit to lake Michigan and what I

“Found in Our Water”.



TOTIS 1   Mother of all Treasures of The Inland Sea Series

6′ T  X 8 ‘ W Mixed Media, rescued wood, rope, shells, wood,  metal, condoms, plastic, glass


T 1 res ob 6 main I am an artist who uses fabricated components in a variety of media and rescued power objects to make art for the purpose of provoking discussions and reflection on a wide variety of social topics.  The topic of this series is re-cycle, re-purpose and “pay attention to what you discard in our water!” The different objects were collected  on the beaches of Lake Superior.  According to The Minnesota Department of Health,  you should not eat trout or salmon from Lake Superior more than once a week-pregnant or nursing=NEVER.  The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reports Lake Superior still needs to be restocked yearly to stabilize fish populations.  Superior is the largest body of fresh water on the PLANET!! More Before

Bridges, B Totis 1 Main ImageDouble Click to enlarge images

Totis 1 was created from objects connected to Minnesota waters. There is something viscerally satisfying about engineering the discarded objects I find in/on our waterways into a cohesive object which tells a story.  Do my Maine seacoast roots inform my passion?   You decide.

Totis 1  Details


Totis2 Full Image2Minnesota

Totis 2 (Treasures of the Inland Sea) is a tribute and an alert to our beloved Lake Superior as seen from the beach under the lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. There is an unusual eddy there which creates some of the most strikingly appealing water sculpted wood I have found anywhere in the world. Lake Superior IS the Inland Sea. One of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, this amazing water has a trout and salmon alert. EPA Report


 Wood dump Duluth


See More Totis

Wood Dump  Duluth, Minnesota


Bridges, B Totis 4

Totis 4   (Treasures of the Inland Sea)8” W X 12” H X 36” D Mixed media, contaminated trout, lake Superior   wood, brads, beads, metalTotis 4 is a tribute and an alert to our beloved Lake Superior as seen from the beach under the lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. There is an unusual eddy there which creates some of the most strikingly appealing water sculpted wood I have found anywhere in the world. Lake Superior IS the Inland Sea. One of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, this amazing water has a trout and salmon alert.It is not recommended you eat these fish from the largest body of freshwater ON THE PLANET. Ponder That!

More Totis 4


T to the Air FullCuba

My visit to Cuba in 2002 was very enlightening.  I was conducting research for a unit on the objects created  during  the “Especial Tiempo”, the Special Time, after the Soviet Union’s economic collapse.  I met ( on the sly) with dissident artists who had staged a traveling extra-national  exhibit which had been shut down by Castro’s regime.

This work, Take to the Air,  was created using found objects from a 1 hour beach walk.  The Cubans do not collect beach glass. There are no industrial regulations in Cuba.  If the pollution continues, the sea creatures will have to “take to the air” to survive.  See Lesson Plan. Creatures Cultures  Lesson Plan Unit-2-2012
Click Here to view more on Take to the Air


Mighty Miss MainMinnesota

10,000 Lakes and 1 Mighty Miss

In the artwork “10,000 Lakes and 1 Mighty Miss” I employed a methodology I call “recordari”, from the Latin “to remember, call to mind (re-restore and cor, genitive, cordis heart, understood by the ancients as the seat of judgment and memory” I would like to identify “10,000 Lakes and 1 Mighty Miss” and artworks like it, as representing our “lived experience” in visual form. I suggest we are practicing “recordari”. as “10,000 Lakes and 1 Mighty Miss” takes you on a journey which explores and records all the waterways I have visited in Minnesota.

My adventuring was particularly soulful since I am a Maine native and a Franco-American. I have called Minnesota home for 17 years.  Maine claims Paul Bunyan as their native son. Imagine how curious I was to view the Paul Bunyan sculpture residing in Bemidji, where the university I have worked at for a decade is located!

When at my beach home in Maine, I am a daily searcher for treasures brought in by the tide.  I currently live 1500 miles from any ocean but I still go to the water, like the lemming I was born to be : )  I was shocked and delighted to find that the 10,000 lakes and the Mighty Miss also throw their treasures onto their beaches.   I collected.  I sorted.  I made art.  This chair is a record of my relationship with the water in Minnesota.  It is sealed with the boat epoxy I learned to use in Maine as I mended boats.  This chair is indestructible, just the people of Maine and Minnesota.  More


Bridges, B, TOTIS3  (Treasures of the Inland Sea 3)Minnesota

TOTIS3 (treasures from The Inland sea 3) with Tropical Friend

4″ X 4″ X 16″ Rescued Objects, Bronze Patina  2010

Living in Minnesota, I am 1500 miles from the nearest ocean. We Mainers call ourselves the “Salt People.” I found my own sea here on Lake Superior.  This work is honored with a bronze patina to age the wood and shells. It could have been found in Atlantis.  Perhaps it was.


7 MainerMainer-with Love

22″ W X 2 2″ W X 48″ T  Mixed Media  Canvas, rescued chair, shells, rope, buoy, hand hooked pillow

The creation of Mainer was a five year labor of love. The oil painting of  the Heritage Schooner was inspired by the needlepoint chair backs I have enjoyed viewing at the Searsport Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine. The pillow was a wool hooked rug pillow created  by a Castine, Maine rug maker and the buoy came from my lobster people family in Stockton Springs.  The lobster claws are from three pound lobsters I buy, dry and clean using ant helpers.  When “cured”, I seal them in boat epoxy.  The large rope comes from local boat yards and found on the beaches I walk from Kittery to Eastport.

Sit on this chair and you will hear the oceans.   More Mainer



Fort Morgan 1


Fort Morgan 1 2013

14″ W X 24″ T X 4 ” D  Mixed  Media Canvas, bolts, lobster claws, mussel shells, rescued rope, bait bag, brads

My son, Morgan’s fort has withstood the test of  sea, wind, snow, ice and rain for 25 years.  It is currently serving as a beach shack to inspire reverie on a hot summer day and protection from biting insects on a misty moonlit night.

This small painting records the beach and Fort Morgan and a three pound lobster feast.

.fort morgan detail



Twins man

Twins Man 2014

8″ W X 10″T X 4 ” D  Mixed media, Rescued wood, plastic twins hat found on Lake Superior

How much “hand” must appear in any given art work to meet the base line criteria for  candidacy as a named “art” object.

If nature is the perfect designer, perhaps it is hubris to interfere?