Hometown: Livonia, MI
Discipline: Mixed Media
Growing up, Barbara Downey was always surrounded by art. Her house was filled with dozens of books on all the great masters. She remembers the thrill of Sunday afternoon trips to the Detroit Museum of art, when she would find an original she had only seen in one of the volumes at home.
While brainstorming with another artist friend, she remembered reading about an original American folk art form popularized in Baltimore. Local artists would paint on screen doors and windows. People can’t see past the design, which gives those inside some privacy while allowing the doors and windows to remain open. Barbara decided to try this technique with a landscape design on one of her own windows – she has been painting on screen ever since.
Barbara’s husband, David Downey, creates the frames for their earring holders. They start by utting and constructing different sizes of frames and stands. They insert pre-treated fiberglass screens to create the canvas that is painted. Earrings hang in the screen, and jewelry holders have either a row of hooks or a dowel rod for hanging other jewelry. Barbara has painted over 50,000 earring holders since 1996, and is constantly scanning the leading fashion, design, and decor sites for new and trendy ideas.