For Irma artist, it’s all about the process
Irma artist Louise Schotz will open the doors of her Outback Studio to the public Dec. 13-15. From 8 a.m.-noon Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Schotz will be holding a Holiday Open House and offering her works for sale. Outback Studio, located about a quarter-mile west of Hwy. 51 on Cty. J, is normally only open by appointment.
Since retiring from her career as a chemistry teacher at Merrill High School, Schotz has gotten in touch with her artistic side, first with quilting and later adding jewelry making to her pursuits. She has recently added textured paintings to her repertoire.
Her latest passion is making art from copper pipe and wire.
“Right now copper is my very favorite thing,” she said.
Louise is also fond of incorporating found objects into her art.
“People see a piece of junk and say, ‘Let’s give that to Louise!’” she jokes. “It’s more fun to use something that has been somewhere else first.”
Among her myriad projects, Schotz makes necklaces from pieces of copper pipe, earrings from bottlecaps and creates art from worn out bicycle parts.
Schotz started quilting in the late 1980s. After making a quilt for every bed in the family, she took her quilting skills in a more artistic direction.
“I decided I wanted to make quilts as art,” she said. She now primarily makes decorative quilts from a variety of materials.
Making metal jewelry is a more recently-discovered passion for Louise.
In recent years, Schotz has cut back on teaching art classes and making commissioned pieces, preferring to follow her own whims in her art studio.
She never starts a piece with an end result in mind. She simply starts fiddling with whatever material or object that inspires her and lets it decide what it wants to be.
“It’s so much fun to do stuff like this, and then have somebody buy it,” she said. “That just keeps me going.
“I do what I do, not to get the end product, for me it’s about the process,” she added.
As Louise explains, her current pursuit of art isn’t that much different from her career in science.
“There’s a different between ‘using’ science and ‘doing’ science,” she said. “If you ‘do’ science, you don’t really know (what the outcome of an experiment will be).”
Toward the end of her teaching career, Louise partnered with then-MHS art teacher Kathy Wegner to teach a class that brought art and science together.
“We worked with different materials,” Louise said. “I would introduce the kids to stuff and then they would do an art project with it.”
Outback Studio (literally located “out back” of the Schotz’s Irma home) was built 18 years ago, after Louise’s art had overtaken two of the bedrooms in their house.
Schotz travels all over the country and the world, taking art classes and bringing inspiration back to her Outback Studio.