About Me
Wendy Barnes

Wendy A. Barnes: Graphic Designer, E-Commerce Manager, Digital Media

I’m a heartland gal. I was raised in beautiful Missouri on the fringe of the historic river town, Kimmswick. “Fringe” because the house that my parents built was less than a 1/2 mile west of the Mississippi river in the town of Imperial—and a quick walk downhill to Kimmswick. For the record, I was born in Richmond Heights, MO. I went to grade school at St. Joseph’s (in Kimmswick) where my father also attended grade school. There were seventeen in my 8th grade graduating class. From St. Joe’s I went to St. Pius X High School in Festus, and shortly after I graduated from Pius I started my career at Liguori Publications.

I won’t bore you with all of the details of my childhood and all of that blah, blah, blah. But I do have an awesome family—seven siblings. Staying true to how we were raised and probably our genetics, we’re a mix of artists, writers, musicians, philosophers, scientists, entrepreneurs, tech gurus, handywomen, handymen, hunters, gatherers, athletes, mommies, daddies, animal lovers and chefs. We’ve been through a lot together, including a substantial amount of loss and tragedy. Thanks to my parents and the values they passed on to us, we’ve cultivated our relationships with each other as friends and comrades—and I believe that’s had a lot to do with our ability to navigate the course somewhat gracefully together.

After a couple of grade school art shows resulted in ribbons, I had a taste of fame so at about the age of 12 I decided that I was going to be an artist. My “studio” was an antique roll-top desk in the basement of our house away from the chaos. I sat at that behemoth after homework and on weekends and drew portraits and cartoons of my cousins, friends, classmates, siblings, parents, and neighbors (sometimes this was a malicious exercise). That’s where my career as a designer really began. Throughout my kidhood and teenagerdom I dabbled in artsy, craftsy, designery, creative projects. I even learned how to sew and boldy altered the patterns suit my personal style. I shudder to think of those outfits.

I’ve always been attracted to artists and artist types. Sometimes I find them, sometimes they find me. I give the first nod to my high school art teacher, ‘Sister KShe’ as she was affectionately known because she let us play KShe 95 in the art studio when we were working on our projects. Her professed name was Borgia—Sister Borgia Fehlig. She was cool and collected–she was smart (of course) and witty. She was a natural artist and designer who also happened to be a devoted Ursuline nun. One of her many gifts was infusing her love and appreciation of art and design in her students. She was extremely patient and knew how to nurture and develop raw talent and confidence. She made me feel that I could create anything and taught us the art of critique. Sister Borgia’s love of her work made everything about art, creativity and its relation to design important to me. Her own works can be seen at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. She was also a prolific water colorist and sculptor. We remained friends until she died in 1999 in a tragic car accident at the age of 81 in DeSoto, Missouri. Here’s a photo of her circa 1980 in the art studio at St. Pius.

Now my career at Liguori Publications. I could compare myself to Alice going down the rabbit hole where in a magical setting I encounter the most diverse and colorful creative personalities that anyone could hope to know. My work at Liguori started in the copier room as an attendant to the Xerox machines and small mailroom equipment such as folders, collators and paper joggers. Because I’d shown an interest in art, after about a year or so, I was asked if I would be interested in working in the paste up department and of course I said yes. I spent several years working in that department taking layouts rendered in markers and putting together boards with sheets of type and hot wax. Amberlith, Rubylith, Zipatone, Letraset, The “Stat” machine, the typographer, razor blades, Exacto knives, and pica rulers were my tools. I loved sitting at the drawing table wielding my t-square and triangle to assemble the paste ups. We set headline type letter by letter using the typographer and developing the film.

Jim Corbett was the Art Director for Liguori when I started in the paste up department. He wore a suit and tie to work every day. His peers at Liguori called him “Gentlemen Jim”. He was a not only gifted illustrator and layout artist, but was excellent at hand lettering and type. He learned his trade as a sign maker in the military. He was a mentor to anyone interested in art and design.

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