Recycled materials are the source
for artist’s imagination
New Albany, Ind.’s Barnett creates ‘funky’ art pieces
(September 2016) – Recycling is something near and dear to Linda Barnett’s heart. So much so that she incorporates it into her artwork to produce dazzling mosaic masterpieces.
Describing her own work as “funky,” Barnett works in mosaic glass and 3D mixed media. She often raids the three recycling bins in her home for inspiration when creating what last year’s Madison Chautauqua judges labeled “funky and imaginative mosaics” in selecting her as the 2015 First Place winner in Fine Art.
She never knows just what type of items she’ll use, saying she also “likes bright colors.” Her artwork contains a lot of seashells, Christmas lights, pencils, car keys, bottle caps, tea cup handles, broken dishes and anything she can keep out of the landfill.
Barnett, 56, worked in advertising as an art director for 20 years. After marrying and having a baby, she didn’t want to put her daughter in daycare. Instead, she decided to start a studio in her home where she could be creative and near her daughter at the same time.
Photo by Emily Ward
Linda Barnett creates whimsical art from recyclables.
“It took me a year to figure it all out,” she said. By trial and error, she learned to cut glass and make grout to bind the mosaic artwork together. “I started with stepping stones, and then wanted to add more 3D qualities.”
Barnett said the Madison Chautauqua has become a tradition for a lot of people. “They’ll stay one night in town, go to the show and walk along the riverfront. There is a good quality of art; a nice mix of things.”
She recalls putting her stepping stones outside in the colder months of the year “to see if they would hold up through the winter.” Her work evolved over time, and she has juried into this year’s Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
Work from her business, Bits and Pieces, can be found in Booth 616. Visitors will find picture frames, wall hangings, garden art and birdhouses. Barnett said she creates a series of wall hangings containing fruit – pears, pumpkins and apples – that are very popular.
“Every artist has pieces they consider their bread and butter,” she said. For Barnett it is her light switch plate covers. She has a lot of repeat customers who purchase the covers.
She can do custom orders as well. “People can send me pictures or wallpaper samples they want me to match.” Many times customers will visit her studio in New Albany, Ind., and look at her pieces, then custom order artwork.
Originally from Ohio, her parents moved to Louisville when she was 17. Fourteen years ago, she moved to New Albany.
Barnett only participates in about eight shows annually. “I’d rather do fewer shows and take my time with my work and have a nice amount of inventory for people to look at.”
This year will mark a decade that she has participated in the Madison Chautauqua. “One of the things people don’t realize is how difficult is to get into a spot and set up at art shows. Madison is very supportive of the show.”
Barnett is last year’s First Place Fine Art winner. She won Second Place in Craft in 2011.
Even though an artist like Barnett may come multiple years to the Madison Chautauqua, he “has to re-jury every year,” said co-coordinator Amy Fischmer. “Our jury walks through, looks at the artists’ pieces and makes sure it is good quality work, and invites them back.”