Robb's IILG Membership Card
by Billy 2-Shews
Robb's Last Class
courtesy of George Mooers
To the many friends of Robb Barr:
I am so sad to tell you that Robb passed away peacefully in his sleep
Saturday night. He had not been too well lately and we both had thought he
would still have more time. It was devastating news. He left behind many
wonderful memories and many friends worldwide. I know he would want his
friends to remember the good times you had together and all the jokes he
told. Treasure the memories you have of him, as he was an Original!
know he would want you to remember him and all the good times.
- Ann Waters
I am really saddened by the loss of this great artist,
being, and friend. I will always remember his classes, his wit, and how he
helped everyone. He will be missed, but we are all better because of him.
- Carol Byers
I am honored to have been able to meet Robb, and his passing
- Holly Moore
Although I never had the honor of meeting the man face to face
the IILG in a way I had met him, and considered him a friend and mentor
through the power of the Internet I was able to chat and learn from him. I
was also looking forward to driving up to Bismarck this summer to get a
chance to meet him and share in a few good laughs. May we all live our life
good enough to go out like Robb peacefully in our sleep.
- Duey Peters
Robb was the one who taught me how to work with leather.
Without him I
guess I wouldn't even know that this art exists. I remember how surprised
he was to meet me at the leather trade show in Sheridan 3 years ago. And
how surprised I was that he remembered me and where I'm from. We had so
much fun at the dinner! Robb was a funny entertainer. There was live
country music. I love country, but this artist was boring to tears.
Suddenly - people almost seemed asleep - there came a loud "yeehaw"
an open window. Everybody turned the head but didn't see who it was. Well,
a few knew and laughed out loud... Guess whose voice it was...He was great
and I'll never forget him.
- Sandra Egli
This is such a big loss to the leather world. He was an
instructor, very funny, and always willing to share his knowledge. We will
all miss him.
- Jan Herrbach
The death of Rob Barr will most certainly be a great loss to
us all, and to
the leather carving profession. I know that I will miss seeing his work.
Robb will be sadly missed by so many. He was one of natures
I, with all that knew him, will remember Robb with great respect and
- Peter Main
We never know what tomorrow will bring. I am sadly reminded
how true this
is by hearing of Robb's passing. I never met him, but I had planned to
just put it off too long. I thought there would be time. Always thinking
maybe next month...About a year ago my wife ordered Robb's pattern book
from Hidecrafter. She received a phone call back from them a little later
saying that Robb was in the store filming some new videos and would she
like him to autograph the book. Well, he signed it. He also wrote a message
along with it inviting me to visit him sometime when I was in Bismarck.
Bismarck is only 150 miles from where I live, so it wouldnt have been a
long drive. I just put it off. I figured there would always be time. I
guess even in his passing, he has taught me something. There may not always
be tomorrow. I do think he will also go down as one of the GREAT ones. He
will live on in the articles, pattern books and sheets, and videos that he
left us. Not only did he have tremendous talent, he did so much to pass on
his knowledge to others. He will continue to teach us with all that he has
left behind. Any one who has any interest in leather carving (especially
figure carving) owes it to themselves to see his videos. I only have a
couple, but will continue to get more. I hope more of you that got the
chance to call him "friend" will share some of your experiences with
- Clay Banyai
When Bob Wills, the fiddlin' leader of the Texas Playboys,
another very well-known and talented fiddler said, "Every fiddle player in
the world has just moved up a notch!" Well, that's the way I feel about all
the rest of us leather carvers.
I was one of the fortunate and privileged people who could call Robb a
friend. In 1989, the Capitol City Carvers hosted the International Show.
When I read the announcement in the Journal, I knew I wanted to go. But I
knew nothing of guilds and shows - I just knew a little bit about leather
tooling and wanted to know more. Being only 200 miles from Bismarck, I
contacted the guild president, a fellow named Robb Barr and arranged to
drive over and attend one of their meetings. Who was the big, friendly guy
who met me at the door and made me feel like I'd been a member of the group
for a long time? Robb. And he never changed in all these years.
For a 'world-class' leather artist, he never made you feel inferior. I've
taken 3 or 4 classes from him and asked for his help and advice on many
other occasions, and he always made me feel like I could do whatever it was
I was trying to do. His willingness to help and to share 'his' techniques
and skills has made me proud to be a leather tooler - and a better one
because of his help, teaching, advice, and the goals that his work has set
I could probably go on, but I'll quit now. I'm just proud to say that Robb
was my friend, and he will be missed.
- Leon Sevier
I too had the privilege of meeting Robb Barr in Brisbane in
2000 at the
Conference there. I was one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to
attend one of his classes, was taken as many were with his talent, his
manner of patiently passing on his knowledge, and above all his sense of
Before the Conference I was asked if I could bring Robb back home to Coffs
Harbor as he had a friend in the area he wanted to visit. (Now we have a
little Honda Accord and all week I was worried that the poor guy would end
up with a permanent crick in the neck from being squeezed into such a small
vehicle for the 6 hour trip). After a great week at the Conference sadly we
had to pack all our stuff and make the trip home.
Much to my relief Robb had about half an inch to spare for head room, now
width wise we just made it as I'm more than a bit on the wide side. (As we
were leaving there were even photos taken of us 3 squeezed into the poor
old Honda) To Robb this was an adventure and took it all in his stride, and
off we went down the highway. We stopped along the way to visit with my dad
and my stepmother Gwen. We spent more time than expected chatting away,
with Robb telling joke after joke, and catching up on news. Dad asked us if
we'd like to stay the night, we all agreed that was a great idea as we were
all having such a good time and were pretty tired. The next morning after
more laughing and chatting we were back on the road and finally made it
back to Coffs.
During the time he was with us and Dave Mangino, we all had so much fun
showing him the sights of this area, that when he returned to Australia for
the last Conference he came back to Coffs and we were able to do it all
again. What impressed me the most is that nothing bothered him (the squeezy
car, the too short bed, the darling Granddaughter that at first meeting
Robb wouldn't leave my side when she saw this giant of a man walk through
the door and wouldn't stop crying, of course the next day she was walking
hand in hand with him) and above all his love of life, and the people he
met along the way, as well as his love of nature and his wish to see and
touch it all.
During this week there have been many a tear shed for the loss of a friend,
I also thank God that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know
this special man.
- Georgie Miller, Coffs Harbor Australia
I met Robb Barr many years ago during a workshop. Robb was like the
silent giant that didn't say much, but after he showed you something, you never
forgot it. It was an honor to have met Robb Barr, and I feel privileged to
own one of the last of his BIG books of the Designs by Robb Barr, that were
carried by The Leather Factory. I was so hoping to have gotten it
autographed this year at the IFOLG show. I just know that Robb looks down
on us all with a big smile that only he could smile, whenever we pick up the old
swivel knife. He will be so sadly missed by everyone in the leather arts
industry, and I will never forget this very great man.
Tammy "White Feather" Canfield
I had occasion to talk with Robb at several of the IFoLG shows, and I
always admired his work. In Texas, in 1997, I was lucky enough to sit next
to him during the awards banquet. I remember laughing and having a great
time enjoying his dry sense of humor and quick wit. We didn't talk about
leather much, and it was an evening I will never forget. Through his work,
he will always be remembered, and because of his grace and charm, he gave
many of us sweet memories. Now that you're walking on the other side,
friend, I hope you have all your dogs back.
- Johanna Alger
In Robb's memory, I would like to share this short story about Robb.
Several years ago, I attended a show at which Robb was demonstrating his
technique on finishing. As part of this, he would apply Hi Liter and rub it
off with toilet paper. A couple of times during this demo, he had someone
run to the bathroom and pick up some toilet paper. As always, he finished
his demo successfully and everyone picked up good information.
Before the next show, I made Robb a toilet paper holder with tear off
capabilities and capable of being carried on his belt. At the banquet, I
presented this to him. Everyone, with Robb at the forefront, had a good
laugh over this. I never forgot about this because of his friendship and
good humor. And he periodically reminded me about this. God Bless you Robb,
your friendship, good humor, and desire to help others will be missed.
- Carl Breidenich
I learned with sorrow that
Robb passed away and I know I will miss a friend. Although I have never
met him I enjoyed several of his Video and I learned a lot from him. He helped
me build up my confidence in giving wild life pictures a real life. I also
hope one of these days I will have the opportunity to visit USA and attend one
or more of the Shows and meet fellow crafters. I am one of the few from far
away Africa in Tanzania in Moshi town at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
May his soul remain in eternal
Robb, May You have Friends, Students, and a Leather Store near You. Oh! and
say Hello to Al for Us..
I want to thank you for "Remembering" Robb Barr. He was a dear and cherished cousin of mine. I babysat he and his two sisters one summer when he was about 9 years old. Even then he was gifted artistically.
I miss him terribly and am so grateful that he made a mark on this world. He was a true Barr in wit and artistic ability. He was a precious, precious soul and we all miss him! He would be proud and honored in your remembrances. Thank you for being so kind with loving memories.
Eileen Barr Luebke
(received November 6, 2006)