Barbara Robertson Carper is an accomplished quilter and professional educator. She began sewing as a child, happily making doll clothes by hand or on her mother’s portable Singer sewing machine. Before she was 5 years old, Barbara learned to embroider and in first grade, she was asked to exhibit samples of her work on a class bulletin board. In high school, she made her first full-size quilt top, cross stitched on a stamped Paragon pattern.
A forty year career in education followed Barbara’s college and graduate work. In addition to teaching on the high school and college levels, Barbara traveled extensively, often organizing
and leading students on trips throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. During those years Barbara dabbled in various forms of needlework–needlepoint, crochet, knitting, flag making, and quilting.
In 2006, she met and fell in love with Bill Carper, a retired businessman who lives in Charles City, VA. They married in 2008, and Barbara moved to an idyllic spot on the historic James River, not far from Williamsburg. While her husband refers to their location as nirvana, she calls it the boondocks, noting that there are few neighbors and that the closest grocery is 25 minutes away. The nearest quilt shop, well….
A friend who attended The Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Academy for many years suggested that Barbara enroll in the academy in order to meet local needlewomen. There, she was introduced to appliqué and Baltimore album quilts. Barbara describes her first days at the Academy as intimidating, but the teachers she met quickly put her at ease, and the friends she made welcomed her to their weekly Glory Bee. “If those ladies had been bank robbers, I would have been one too. Fortunately, they were appliquérs.” Barbara continues to sew with them every Friday. In 2012 she returned to the Academy as a classroom helper. Teacher Evelyn Crovo-Hall became her mentor and friend, introducing her to prepared edge appliqué. In 2017, Barbara joined the faculty of Barbara Blanton’s Academy of Appliqué in Historic Williamsburg.
Barbara has been a member of the Richmond Quilters’ Guild since 1998 and a member of the Embroiders’ Guild of America since 2016.