The Detroit-based artist Lisa Rigstad is best known for her intimate small paintings that present a sensitive, fragile, pensive space. But mostly she describes tackling her life and work with fearlessness. A life-threatening diagnosis more than 13 years ago changed everything she says. “My work became more spiritual. A lot of it has to do with searching for some answers,” she said. “I’m bolder with my art – before I painted safe little landscapes that everyone liked.” Breast cancer has been both the best and worst thing that has happened in her life, Rigstad says. Today she counts herself as a lucky survivor but still she devotes herself to raising money on Crowdrise for causes and people who find themselves in less fortunate circumstances.
Her current paintings employ a special technique of gelatin, marble dust, oil paint, and wax medium applied on wood and have been shown in galleries and exhibitions around the country. On the days when she is not in the studio painting, she rides her Harley Davidson motorcycle, spends time on the lakes of Michigan boating, and taking care of her dogs. She also works full-time as a department assistant at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. In a word, this women, artist, friend, and teacher works hard at everything she does. “Illness makes you realize that your life can be cut short, so I don’t waste time.”
Check out Lisa’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Dartford Denim Shirt, Southold Jacket, & Women’s Original-Fit Jasper Jeans
Ginny specializes in functional domestic pottery, essentially pieces meant for the home with a specific purpose. The idea that memories and home can stir up an interesting conversation for everyone drives her work. No matter what thoughts or recollections you bring into your home and kitchen, there is something about using items that are made by hand. It’s another connection, another conversation to be had. There is such a story to be told in a piece of handmade pottery. You can feel the grooves, the intent, and the beauty in such a way that inspires you. See more of Ginny’s work here.
check out this great throwing outfit: Carhartt Women’s Sandstone Mock-Neck Sherpa Lined Vest, Linwood Chambray Shirt, & Original-Fit Canvas Crawford Dungaree
When April Wagner started blowing glass she never looked back. It was hot and we don’t mean just chic. Glass blowing has been all the rage since the Romans began pushing air through the end of a hollow tube. And the technique has evolved a whole lot under the talented hands and gaze of April, who is interested in beautiful forms, color, and line. She is often quoted saying that she is “having a love affair with the material.” Since she was a little girl growing up in Northern Michigan, April has always had been passionate about making things with her hands. Glass is hot, sensual, and not easy to work with. It can be clear or colorful and if one is not careful, it can really burn you. But in the end the experience of making forms out of glass is a deeply personal one. She has built a thriving studio practice with a growing list of clients around the world. In her quiet studio on the outskirts of Detroit, April has learned the art of when to control the glass and when to let it go. She has a student’s mind and everyday the material leads her on a new journey with a new and sometimes unpredictable outcome. There is just no straight line in making art or blowing glass. The process is one of discovery.
Check out what the women are wearing: Women’s Norfolk Henley, Women’s Original-Fit Canvas Crawford Dungaree / Longsleeve Signature T-Shirt, Women’s Straight-Fit Slim Jean, Women’s Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt
Jen is a tremendously talented artist. Growing up a ballerina, she learned the natural flow of the human body. You can see how her understanding translates into her sculptures. Jen has a knack for replicating life and movement through finely honed skills with power tools, her bare hands, and age old tools of the trade. The bust she’s working on in the photos above is modeled after her husband. It looks just like him!
To see more of Jen’s work, check out her blog and her website.
If I had to think of one word to describe Carrie’s work, it would be haunting. Not in the terrifying sense of the word. It’s the kind of work that sticks with you, like a dream glued to the back of your eyelids. Much of her work revolves around the idea of a memory. I really connect with that description. Carrie’s pieces feel like a faint whisper of something you stored in the back corner of your mind.
Carrie is a printmaker, painter, and glassworker— all in one. Bullseye Glass Company in Portland currently represents her. I got to tag along one day at Shatter Glass Group in Chicago as she put the finishing touches on a piece she’d been working on.
It’s refreshing that Carrie doesn’t take a standoffish approach to her art. She explains that she loves “the tactile aspects of glass— how it encourages people to touch it. The quality of the material is interesting because it suggests glass’s more functional history— as every day objects that are meant to be touched and held and used.”
Check out Carrie’s work here.