« August 2010 | Main | October 2010 »

rosie leventon and books


I love this installation.  It's my house.  A tower of books.  You probably know it.  The house with books in every room.  Books on the stairs.  Books piled on the kitchen counter.  I have books on nearly every genre.  I haven't read them all which is why I have so many.  I will get to them one day.  

A friend once told me he had over 6,000 titles in his collection, mostly on philosophy which makes sense given he teaches the subject.  But one day, I walked into the Mother Ship.  This antiquarian book dealer had over 50,000 books in his home!  I was in awe, especially with the section on fashion and textiles.  Since that day, my daughter has ceased complaining about my own stash.  I think she's afraid she'll jinx it and we will end up with just as many books in our humble abode.  

As a book contains a secret between it's covers, so do secrets lay behind the towering stone,brick steel, and glass facades of our city streets.  Rosie Leventon's sculpture "somewhere a door slammed...." explores this concept.  

As she writes:

References to archeology and ancient cultures run right through my work, also looking through and behind the surface.  I aim to provide a link between the present and contemporary life and the distant past.

Take a peek behind inside, beyond to surface. 


To learn more about Rosie Leventon's work, click here and here.

chameleon florals


This is a magical stop animation showing a love for all forms of textiles - knitting, embroidery, surface design, fabric manipulation etc.  Get a cup of tea (or wine if you choose) and relax into the beauty.

Thank you to kirstenhome for posting it on You Tube.  I'm not sure if she made it or just posted it, but lovely. 

my box!

©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer my box

"As picture teaches the colouring, so sculpture the anatomy of form." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My first welded sculpture.  It's not pretty, but it floats.  Yeah, my little steel baby is welded well enough to float in water.  I want to dance a jig, but it's probably not a good idea when handling a 5400 degree torch.  

Welding is magic.  I started classes just two weeks ago and already I am mesmerized by the process.  I also love the fact that my 105 lb weakling self can manipulate something as strong as steel.

The desire to learn the process began when I entered a public art competition.  (My design partner and I didn't get the job, though we did make it to the finalists stage.)  Our project combined laser cut stainless steel, welding and mosaics.  We researched everything and knew who to contact to shop out the jobs we couldn't do.  

All summer I kept thinking about the welding part.  Surely I could learn to do it.  Right?!  Then a flood of ideas poured into my sketchbook,  I had to take a class.

My classes are at the Evanston Art Center.  If you haven't been there, check it out.  It's an old mansion on Lake Michigan next to a historic lighthouse.  Beautiful.  My class is in the conservatory, a lovely, late-Victorian confection of glass and steel.  A fitting place to learn, don't you think?

spray-on clothing?!


Throughout high school my daughter preferred her clothing to be skintight. Little was left to the imagination, as my Gam so quaintly would say.  I joked that she spray flocked herself.  Thank goodness she hadn't come across this technology.  It's an amazing invention, but may become the bane of parents throughout the world.  

an artist manifesto?!


©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer gouache"An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one."

 -  Charles Horton Cooley

There is a great discussion regarding an artist manifesto occurring on LinkedIn started by Karen Atkinson of GYST.  It got me thinking of my own manifesto.  What I've learned over the years comes partly through the School of Hard Knocks as well as from reading, talking with others, and taking a few business classes.  I don't know if they are rights, but they are the basic terms of how I do business.

Contracts:  I expect a contract spelling out the terms between myself and the gallery owner, curator, magazine editor, education director, whomever.  These terms may include copyright, insurance, payment schedule, installation dates and requirements, collector discounts, etc.  If the other party doesn't have a contract available (unbelievable, but still happens), then I will submit one for their review.  I won't work with another party without a contract. 

Price:  I determine the wholesale price of my work.  The gallery does not.  I don't determine the retail price unless asked or when selling at an art fair.  When asked to give a retail price, I double my wholesale price which is the same price I sell my work at an art fair.  My wholesale prices may go up over time, including with older work, to reflect the advances in my career and increases in the cost of living.

Insurance:  I expect to receive a copy of the certificate of insurance from the gallery, library, museum, coffee shop etc. detailing to what extent my work is being covered.  If they don't have insurance coverage and I decide to proceed with the exhibition, I will provide them with a copy of my certificate of insurance.  If I am doing a temporary, site specific installation, and don't care about the end condition of my work, I spell this out in the contract.

Insurance Part 2:  I expect the gallery, museum, library, building owner etc. to cover general liability.  This point is becoming increasingly more important to me as I participate in more pop-up galleries in vacant store fronts.  If someone comes to view the work, trips and ends up in the emergency room, I don't want them coming to me for expense reimbursement.

Teaching:  I expect as a teaching artist to receive compensation commiserate with that of other teaching professionals.  I am not a babysitter.  I am an art educator sharing my experience as an artist with others.   I am also not the provider of materials.  I do my fair share of scrounging and bin diving, but if I must purchase new brushes for that outreach program as none are available, then I need to buy them and expect reimbursement.  Again, terms for this teaching arrangement are spelled out in the contract - including supply budget and the ownership of intellectual property (lesson plans).  

These are my highlights.  I appreciate receiving the name of the collector when my work is sold, but I don't expect the contact information.  This speaks to a point on professional integrity.  Too many artists get this information and then sell directly to the collectors, underpricing the galleries representing them.  This type of behavior makes it difficult for everyone and is the primary reason many galleries don't provide contact information, let alone the name of the collector.

I do donate work to certain charities.  Unfortunately, the amount we can deduct on our taxes is determined by the IRS.  I write yearly to my congressional representatives requesting that I receive the same donation tax write off as a collector and every year I receive a polite thank you note for my letter.  Until the system changes, I only donate to charities that give me half of the selling price or to those close to my heart. 

I would like to see a royalty compensation for the resale of my work if I still hold the copyright to it.   Why should a collector who bought an early piece of my work be able to turn around 20 years later and sell it for much more than they paid for it and I receive nothing in return?  They wouldn't necessarily receive a higher amount if I didn't work my tushy off to develop and expand my career.  

What is in your manifesto?  What do you consider an important right as an artist?  What is on your wish list?  

a soldier's secret

©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer Rockey

"It is as a soldier you make love and as a lover that you make war."  --  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The fun of cleaning and sorting is sifting through the layers of memorabilia and reminiscing.  Tucked in my office was a box I packed with bits of this and that from my mother's desk.  I had forgotten about it.  Such a treasure trove of family momentoes!  My favorite is this identity card, circa World War I.  Look at the top of Uncle Rocky's photo.  

When you pull out the tap, this is what you find.   ©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer Rocky's Secret

It's hard to imagine Uncle Rocky as a soldier, let alone a lover.  He was just Uncle Rocky, an old man who loved to tell stories of the past. There is something very sweet and poignant about this sanitized bit of naughtiness.  (She is nude! Shock!) Was she a girlfriend?  A pinup girl?  There isn't a name or message on the back, but he obviously treasured it.  It's been safely kept for nearly a century.  


©2006 Lindsay Obermeyer femur make 2
"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."  --  Don Marquis

I've been cleaning.  Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  The positive side to having had 4" of sewage backup into my basement is that I have no choice.  I can't procrastinate.  If I procrastinate, I have no office and no studio.  Cleaning isn't an option, especially as the contractor is finally here to work.   

You can only imagine the stuff I've accumulated over the years.  I still had floppies lurking in every corner of my office.  In my defense, the IRS required I hang onto them for seven years.  Okay, so I sold my yarn store 10 years ago.  I consider myself cautious.  Anyway, today I shipped them off to a recycling center in California that will erase the data and package them for reuse.  Who buys them?  I don't know, but at least these towers of plastic aren't in my house and won't end up in a landfill.  

Now I'm tackling the stack of unlabeled CD's.  I found one buried in the pile that Sam B, a former studio assistant, sent.

©2006 Lindsay Obermeyer femurmake1

It shows the progress of my piece Femur, which is now part of the collection at the Jewish Health Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Obermeyer a
I'm not only labeling the unknown CD's, I'm organizing them in a file box.  Watch out Martha Stewart!  Lindsay is in a cleaning, sorting, tossing, donating kind of mood!

joy of sox winner

DSC_0062"A book is a gift you can open again and again." -- Garrison Keillor

Earlier this summer, I offered a drawing to win a copy of The Joy of Sox in honor of the new Lark Crafts needle arts blog.  The book features two of my sock patterns, including the one pictured below.


The drawing was very sophisticated.  I simply asked readers to leave a comment.  I gathered the names, wrote them on slips of paper and added them to a kitchen mixing bowl.  I closed my eyes and drew a name from the bowl.  High tech stuff, I know.  Well, with such a busy summer, I forgot to post the winner.  Congratulations to Chris Allen-Wickler!  If you haven't seen her work, you must.