Center News

The Art of Heather Eiden

Join us for a stroll through a neighborhood of artistic creation! Milwaukee-based artist Heather Eiden displays her exhibit titled Trees and Their Houses, which is comprised of a body of artwork called House Tiles. The show also includes mosaics, mural paintings, prints, trivets, plates, and sculpture. The exhibit is on display in our Mezzanine Art Gallery, located on the second floor of Schlitz Audubon’s Visitor Center, through August 31.   

Witness a form of art in which life meets creative expression in dazzling line and color. Heather’s work is influenced by Antonio Gaudi’s mosaiced architecture, Frida Kahlo’s boundless expression, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s affinity with nature. See these influences represented in her renderings of daily life portrayed in the tiles and mosaics of people’s homes and poignant trees.  

Relationships Between Shape and Texture 

House Tiles features an ebb and flow of buildings and nature carved out of clay, uncovering relationships between shape and texture. The artwork is designed to engage the community, as has much of Heather’s work in murals and community art projects in school settings have done.  

These folksy designs invite visitors to imagine walking through parts of Milwaukee to see local resident’s houses, such as Mark’s Home and Kristina’s Home. Visitors to the gallery will also see iconic residences, like the David Barnett Gallery, which is viewed as both a brightly colored tile and a print, and the Villa Terrace.   

The earth tones of the houses and landscapes are often complimented by dashes of bright red, yellow, or other dazzling blends, balancing the rustic look with a sophisticated array of colors and patterns. House Tiles attempt to balance organic and geometric rhythms of lines made with carving tools. The lines create distinct forms and reveal structures that are layered within the earthy color palette.    

Schlitz Audubon is represented by a large colorful mosaic made of glass and tile pieces showing the building, trees, and garden in an abstract manner. There is also a House Tile of the Center, alongside a print of the same design. Continue your journey through the neighborhood to see Cece’s Home, which is a combined mosaic and tile piece, and a rendering of two local businesses depicted within one tile titled Art on Clay and Barber’s Building.  

The Evolution of Heather’s Artwork   

This collection of tiles is an evolution of artwork Heather calls Everyday Icons and Story Tiles, which were previous iterations of her fine art ceramic tile work. Visitors to our Art Gallery will see examples of Story Tiles, which feature pages of an illustrated book carved from the clay, set within a longer base, also formed from clay. These pages tell a story and are pleasing to see with distinct details and cartoon-like design. Heather said she uses strong black outline in her work like a cartoon, and likes that cartoon images can be found throughout the history of art. In her work, Heather said she’s trying to capture how a line might take a walk and become a story. She said she loves working with clay to feel connected with the earth, and that nature can’t be separated from clay as clay is part of the earth itself.  

Heather’s education includes a degree from the fine arts department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and an art education degree from Concordia University in Mequon. She also studied architectural tile making at Anderson Ranch Art School in Snowmass, Colorado. 

Meet artist Heather Eiden on Thursday, June 27 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm at her free opening reception in our Mezzanine Art Gallery. Wine and light refreshments will be served. Art will be available for sale, with a portion of all purchases donated to Schlitz Audubon.