Department Chair &
Professor of Art
B.S., University of Michigan, 1977
B.F.A., Eastern Michigan University, 1982
M.F.A., Eastern Michigan University, 1988
M.A., Wayne State University, 1999
Of her work, Bushey states, "My work is an exploration of what is hidden and what is revealed,”whether in a visual, emotional or historical sense. Working with layers, both physically and visually, allows me to explore this complexity. I celebrate the beauty of the natural world. The majesty and power of Lake Superior intrigues and nourishes me. Another of my current interests is the emerald ash borer: a non-native species that is destroying the beautiful ash trees that surround our homes and full the forests of our state. The larvae of this bug, in destroying the trees, leave a path marked under the bark that is quite beautiful. The tension between this beauty and its destructive end fascinates me.
I dye most of my own fabrics in order to have total control over my work. The balance between craftsmanship and artistry has been a concern of the artist since the Renaissance. Working in a craft medium allows me to celebrate a tradition of fine craftsmanship that I greatly admire. I hope that my work rises above mere craft to the level of communication we can justifiably call art."
Barbara Bushey came to Hillsdale College in 2001 after numerous part-time teaching positions across southeastern Michigan, most recently Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and the College for Creative Studies. She earned a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Michigan, and bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees from Eastern Michigan University. After teaching her way from London to Cairo as part of EMU’s European Cultural History Tour, she returned to school to obtain a master of arts degree in art history from Wayne State University.
Bushey teaches a plethora of art history courses as well as the basic design class. She will not commit to a favorite artist or favorite time period no matter how hard you press for a choice. She also has taught a variety of honors seminars, covering topics from images of the Annunciation to the history and use of maps.
Bushey has been working in textiles for over 25 years. Her work has appeared three times in Quilt National, as well as many juried shows throughout the country and overseas. Her work is in the permanent collections of The White House, Washington D.C., the University of Wyoming, and Hillsdale College, as well as many private collections. The work has been published in Art/Quilt Magazine and the Surface Design Journal. Bushey serves on the board of FiberArts Network. She has also contributed reviews of fiber shows to Fiber Art Now magazine, as well as written a number of catalog essays.
Bushey is delighted to teach studio classes as well as art history. Making art makes more sense when you have knowledge of the past, and studying the art of the past is richer when you are a maker yourself.