Laura Harris of Melonhead Gallery, was first “introduced” to me by Carol Shelkin. An email from Carol, read, click and… POW! I was literally blown away. That hasn’t happened to me, to that extent, in a long time. Her work is magnificent. To be perfectly honest I grapple for the words that describe how I feel when I view her work, and that is all in a photo on my trusty ol’ computer, so I can’t imagine what it would be like in person. She is in my mind a Mythmaker, to borrow a term from the righteous James Hubbell.
Born in Wisconsin she is the daughter of late Midwest sculptor/painter, Walter Lenz. Laura has been working in mixed media, including fiber art, acrylic art and mosaic art for over 25 years. More recently, Laura has concentrated on mosaic portrait art. Using a preferred direct method of application, her choice in tesserae include venetian and dichroic glass, 24 Kt. Italian gold smalti, porcelain, ceramic tile, mirror, stone and salvaged or recycled materials.
Laura’s career was not always limited to the field of art. She worked as a speech-language pathologist for over 15 years and was recognized in 1998 as one of the top 5 teachers in Wisconsin for her efforts in the field of Assistive Technology and voted New Berlin Public School Teacher of the Year in 2001.
Laura got into mosaics in 1985 after having to quit teaching due to her worsening Multiple Sclerosis. She has risen above her physical limitations, as her artwork shows, but also in her attitude towards her MS: “I can’t feel all of my cuts so I guess there is a silver lining in everything, you just have to look for it.”
Her father has played a vital role in her life as she states: “I have been involved in art my whole life. My dad was an artist and a strong influence. I remember even as a young kid that my dad banned coloring books, he felt they were too restrictive and didn’t challenge the imagination. He also died from complications of MS in 2006.”
“Today, the world can appear fragmented and its people disconnected, mosaics allow me to fuse the pieces together to create something cohesive and beautiful , what I wish the world could be.” –Laura Harris
The lovely Laura in the Cave of the Mounds on a family holiday, before exhibiting in Madison’s Art on the Square.