Multi-award winning leather plaiter and whipmaker, Chris Barr, has turned the trade into a work of art.

Story & photos by Kerry Wehlburg

For Chris Barr, an artist from the Arcadia Valley, Qld, traditional bush art is a real passion. He has taken his trade of leather plaiting and whipmaking beyond a craft to an art form, with his finely crafted pieces winning him awards both in Australia and the US.
Chris’ four entries into the 2004 Sydney Royal Easter Show all won a first place and he also received four standard of excellence awards. Furthermore, he has won awards at Australia’s largest whip plaiting competition, the Northern NSW Whip Cracking and Plaiting Championships, and in 2005 Chris’ bosal won the Best of Show first place in the braiding section of the prestigious Trappings of Texas Cowboy Gear and Art exhibit at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas. This exhibition represents the best contemporary cowboy gear makers and western artists and is by invitation only. Chris is the first Australian to be invited to exhibit in the braiding section – to win it was an added honour.

This story excerpt is from Issue #45

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2006