Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Robbie Barmer really didn’t know why she was ever given a sewing machine, except to keep her occupied making Barbie doll clothes. When she was about 10 or 12 she started riding Tennessee walking horses. Her most memorable childhood experience is winning first place riding in horse shows. Needless to say, the sewing machine went into the closet, only ever taken out again to make cushions for outdoor furniture.
In 1973 Robbie reached a turning point in her life when she became employed by McRae’s, (now Belk), department store as a visual merchandiser. Working in the home and children’s areas, Robbie did everything: made props, dressed forms, dressing beds, and displayed china. After a rewarding thirty-three year career with McRae’s, Robbie retired.
It was about seven years ago when her nephew was born that she created her first baby bib. When Robbie saw one of her new nephew’s bibs she thought, “I can do that, and maybe even better.” And so it began. After that came more baby items including more bibs, burp clothes, taggie blankets, pacifier holders, quilts, stuffed toys, “storybook” wooden hangers and adorable wooden toys. All of Robbie’s baby items are unique, 100% handmade, and collectible. What might be even more spectacular about her designs are that all her bibs and burps have handmade piping, something rarely done these days as it is very time consuming, but very much worth it. Of all her items, the stuffed toys are her favorite. “They are so cute and cuddly,” she shares.
“In one piece of fabric there are many possibilities,” she explains, “It’s really fun to see how fabrics go together.” It’s her love for unique and whimsical fabrics along with her husband and family that continue to inspire her. When Robbie isn’t creating art from fabric, she enjoys making praline candy, gardening and decorating and she says, to hopefully “Make at least one person happy every day.”
By Rachel Deer
About the Mississippi Craft Show
Mississippi Craft Show – August. The state’s only 100% Mississippi Handmade art and craft show. Featuring handworks from Mississippi craftsmen. www.mscraftshow.com
Handmade USA Show – March. The same quality handworks you expect at the August show from Mississippi craftsmen and also from across the region. All 100% handmade in the USA. www.handmadeusashow.com