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Paper, Figures, Light: The Art of Olivia Lowe

Olivia Lowe described to me how she was inspired to turn old photos into lamps, and I wasn’t surprised to find it happened quite by accident. That’s pretty much where the best art ideas originate – from so many happy accidents. It doesn’t hurt to have a teeny-tiny budget and a lot of old “junk” lying around your studio, either.

Olivia's studio wall

Olivia’s studio wall – full of inspiration!

“I was working mostly with paper – collaging old photos and found objects. I happened to hold some photos up in front of a light, and noticed the image on the other side of the paper together with the one on the front, and said to myself, ‘aaahhhh.'”

DSCN5437

That was the beginning of the luminous 3 dimensional collages that became lampshades, nightlights, garden lights, and all sorts of wonderful pieces. I first saw one of Olivia’s lamps at the home of a friend. When my friend told me where Olivia lived, I realized it was a house in my neighborhood that Scott and I had considered purchasing ourselves at one time. When I walked by the house, I discovered that the creativity I saw in the lamp was reflected from every corner of the property that was now occupied by Olivia and her family. Found objects had become part of the fence, gate, and general decor of the yard. The house had an addition to the top – a sort of large dormer – that was encased in corrugated metal. And, there were garden plants and chickens, so I was pretty sure I would like these people!

A display of Olivia Lowe's garden lights

A display of Olivia Lowe’s garden lights

Over the past couple of years, I have seen Olivia’s handiwork popping up all over Loveland. Since she uses a lot of re-purposed materials (indeed, that’s nearly all she uses), I am excited to feature her and her art in this post. A few weeks ago, Olivia was part of the Loveland Maker’s Faire. I was able to watch her in action, showing her work to clients. This week, we were able to sit down over tea and share our love of collecting and re-purposing items such as fabrics, metal, and paper, especially photos.

“I find photos all over – thrift store, old books, the internet. You have to be careful; photos taken before the 1920s are copyright free. And, I’m taking a lot of my own photos now. I like using only part of an image, fitting that with other images and sort of layering.”

Olivia showing her handiwork at the Loveland Maker's Faire

Olivia showing her handiwork at the Loveland Maker’s Faire

Earlier this year, I blogged about the Loveland Garden Tour. Olivia teamed up with local artist Sharon Anhorn, with whom she has worked on several occasions. Her garden lamps, which hold candles, were popular items, and added a lovely touch to the repousse (metal) pieces of Sharon’s. I loved this garden (and the art) so much that I toured it both at the start of my tour and at the end. The delicate-looking garden lamps were delightfully distributed among the walkways and plants.

Olivia's booth

Olivia has also been an integral part of a new Loveland tradition, the Love and Light show that has graced the Feed and Grain building for the past 2 years. Her lamps seem right at home among the exposed brick walls of the old building.

Olivia's work in the first annual Love and Light show

Olivia’s work in the first annual Love and Light show

Loveland is bursting at the seams with artists, and I love it! In the 12 or so years I’ve been here, I’ve constantly been blessed to be immersed in a sea of creativity and talent. But the nicest part of all this is that these are real people, the kind you like to have for neighbors, like Sharon Anhorn and Abbie Powers and Olivia Lowe. Thanks for joining our community, Olivia!

 

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About Mollie Walker Freeman

I am a fine art painter, & I am studying to be a health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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