Local veteran makes wreath as therapy for his hands

Local veteran makes wreath as therapy for his hands

Claudia Buccio

David Barter opens a box that contains a wreath full of blue, red and white ribbons and flags. Wreaths might be associated to the holidays, but Barter has a decoration for all tastes.

“We only make one of a kind, so if people see one they like they have to buy it because it won’t be there next time,” Barter said.

Barter is co-owner of “da Bees,” a wreath making business that started two years ago. He was always interested in the world of design, which was why he took a workshop to learn the craft.

“I think people can see that i have a real fondness, that I am enjoying this, that I am putting a lot of me in the wreaths,” he said.

Barter was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, or CIDP, 15 years ago. A disease that affects his nervous system and has no cure.

“My hands were shaking and paralyzed, […] so it’s great therapy because it keeps my hands moving and stuff,” he said.

This Vietnam War veteran started to notice an improvement in his mobility. Something he attributes to the craft of wreath making.

“Before, I had to buy utensils that had gripping rubber handles because I couldn’t hold a fork anymore,” he said.

Barter buys all sorts of ornaments to help him decorate the wreaths, which will depend on his customer’s requests and the designs he has in mind.

“If I don’t like it how it comes out the first time , I tear it apart and do it again.”

You can find Barter selling his wreaths at local arts and crafts fairs, or you can make an appointment via phone (760) 880-7712. These wreaths can cost anywhere between $35 and $170 depending on the size and design.