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visitin': cathi schwalbe-bouzide

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide Corn"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop."  --  Ovid

Friday I had had it.  I was feeling burned out, ready to walk out of the studio and not return. Fortunately, I had made breakfast plans with Cathi Schwalbe-Bouzide, aka the Corn Lady.  Two hours of chitchat and catching up did me a world of good.  Best yet was leaving my studio to visit another's.  

Cathi works out of Lillstreet Art Center.  Though my daughter spent 10 years there as a child studying art, I had never actually been to Cathi's studio.  What a treat!

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide, the girls

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide's men

Everywhere you turned, there were collections to consider, absorb and enjoy.  

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide, Corn Silo Jar

I love this corn silo sculpture.  Why corn as a source of inspiration?  She has given various answers over the years, but my favorite answer is on her website - it is thoroughly Midwestern like she is, new pink 'do and all.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide making her first tea pot.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Cathi Bouzide's corn kernels

Glass Prairie : beaded botanicals

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Shootingstar photo by Larry Sanders

By the harebell's hazure sky,

(Like the hue of thy bright eye;)

That grows in woods, and groves so fair,

Where love I'd meet thee there.

-- John Clare  

from the poem, By a Cottage Near a Wood

My garden is limited.  While I fill it with black-eyed and brown-eyed susans, phlox and tickweed, there is only so much space in a typical Chicago backyard.   Glass Prairie has become my gardening substitute.  With the slide of a bead and a twist of the wire I can fashion my own prairie, filling my studio with flowers.  

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Foamflower photo by Larry Sanders

Foamflower (Tiarella) also known as Sugar Scoop.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer California Poppy photo by Larry Sanders

The California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) also known as Flame Flower and Cup of Gold is the state flower of California.

Photo credits: Larry Sanders

vivaloom : a new knitting loom and board pattern website!


“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”   --  Elizabeth Zimmerman

I am excited to introduce Vivaloom, a new resource for all you loom and board knitters!  Launched this week, it features five patterns designed by me with many more to come and dozens more by other designers noted in the field.

While I've been knitting for 38 years, it's only been within the past seven that I've been using knitting boards and looms.  Why do I love working with them?

  • I can quickly create fully reversible fabrics with ease.
  • Color knitting is simplified.  No more tangled bobbins!
  • When I don't want to bother with double pointed knitting needles, I use a sock loom.
  • It's easy on the wrists and elbows.  Looms and boards are my tools of choice when teaching those with arthritis or when my own body needs a change.
  • Since I started my community piece The Red Thread Project®, I have taught over 2,000 children how to knit using looms and boards.  Most will pick up the basic techniques in under an hour and have the satisfaction of knitting a hat within 3 hours.

Bow Bag 3a

If you haven't given a loom or board a try, it's high time you did.  You will quickly find yourself addicted.  

thinking about art in public spaces

Watch Off Book: Street Art on PBS. See more from PBS.


 What is the next step?  What comes after The Red Thread Project®?  I love the work featured in this video.  It raises the questions of public aesthetic.  Individual vs. Mass.  Engagement.  Scale. Unlike The Red Thread Project® this is art made by an individual for a community rather than with a community, but I find parallels.

What I enjoy with The Red Thread Project® is the lack of control.  I set certain perameters - knit or crocheted hats attached by a long red knit thread - but I have no sense of scale, involvement or even overall color as that is completely determined by those who contribute.  I also like that the work goes back out into the public, consumed by others rather being stored in my studio until the next exhibition.  Through the project I also share a basic skill providing others with what can become endless hours of enjoyment for them too.  That aspect of sharing, a skill, stories, a bond, is what makes the work meaningful to me.

The Red Thread Project® flowed from The Attachment Project which visualized the emotional connections between two people.  I took that simple idea keyed it up a notch to highlight the visible and invisible connections between us all.  But now what?  Am I done?  

In every series of works I create, there comes a point when I  have said all I need to say.  Am I there again?  Still thinking.   

looking for rainbows, seeing possibilities abound

©2011 LIndsay Obermeyer rainbow over a Chicago backyard

"Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."  --  Lyman Frank Baum

Two weeks ago I woke early to find this lovely surprise.   I stared in disbelief and awe.  Rainbows are rare.  Surely it had to be an omen.  A good omen.  Right?

I was preparing to install my work at ArtPrize.  Did it mean I would find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, like a  $250,000 first prize?  One can dream, but alas no.  But then again, maybe I did find my pot of gold, if not a direct monetary one.  

Opportunities are what you make of them.  ArtPrize afforded me an addition to my public art portfolio and gave me direct feedback from others.  This feedback proved encouraging.  For one, many asked if I would be making the flowers available for individual purchase.  They saw my work in their home, a part of their lives.  They just couldn't take on the size and expense of a full installtion. I can't either which is why I designed it for easy storage and shipping.  So when they asked, I had a price in mind and not one person flinched.  Several gave me their cards and asked me to email them when they come available.   

Others asked if I would be selling patterns of the individual flowers.  Yes.  I am already in process of a book proposal based on this very thing, full of details about the flowers themselves in addition to the patterns.  I've loved making them and enjoy the thought of sharing the fun with others.  In the meantime, I'm preparing several patterns for sale in my Etsy shop and am considering kits.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Glass Prairie, ArtPrize, Fifth Third Bank, Grand Rapids
I even had a request to rent the installation for a wedding reception!  I am meeting with the bride-to-be in a week to discuss the possibility.  Now here is a concept I had never considered in my wildest of dreams, but it has me thinking about how I can expand upon it.

Money for art doesn't have to be derived from the direct sale of the work. And I question the model of the arts depending on grants.  A recent survey I took asked if I felt my career was ever impeded due to lack of  grant funding.  Are they kidding?!  While grants can help and provide one with a structure for working out an idea, it doesn't have to be the primary source of income.  In fact, that way of thinking actually limits one.   I've always tailored my ideas to be within what I can do now with sketches worked for grander schemes.  Some of those grander ideas have taken fruition, such as The Red Thread Project®, others remain in my sketchbook, but my career has never been held back due to lack of funding.  Don't get me wrong.  Times have been tough.  I've raised a daughter on my own.  I have piles of medical bills (literally two inches thick when you stack up the envelopes), but I will never let money or someone dictate my career.  Call me stubborn.  

So like the beauty of finding a rainbow at dawn, I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities.  I take the disappointments and look at how I can do better.  I hope for an ease in cash flow, but know its constrains don't limit me, only I can.  For now, I'm going to put on the kettle for more tea and get back in the studio.