Artist finds inspiration in her own backyard

When Teri Zeidel and her husband moved to Hinsdale from Canada, she said she thought it would be a fun place to live for a few years. Twenty-three years later, Zeidel said it's still a fun place to be, and a great place to call home.

Hinsdale is one of two places that hold a special place for Zeidel. The other is Nelson, a small town near Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada, where Zeidel grew up and where she returns multiple times a year to visit family and enjoy the beauty and small-town charm that she once took for granted.

Both places feel like home, Zeidel said, and both inspire the work that she will showcase during her debut art exhibit on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at The Community House. From 6 to 9 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a drink, chat and take in her collection of woodblock prints, collagraphs, collages and eco prints.

"I do like to throw a party," said Zeidel, who hopes to create a fun and relaxing place for guests to not only view, but even critique her work.

"I'm hoping for lots of feedback," she said.

A lifelong artist and a graduate of the College of Emily Carr Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Zeidel said she's ready to re-enter the art world after raising her two children, now 19 and 22.

"I'm jumping in with both feet," she said.

Zeidel said her art has always been inspired by nature and once featured landscapes and animals. She now focuses her artistic eye on two things that she described as obsessions - the "Dr. Suess-like" evergreens of her native Canada, and the flowers she grows in her own garden.

"My garden really inspires me," Zeidel said.

Her corner lot boasts a collection of plants carefully curated to attract native creatures such as monarchs, black swallowtails, dragonflies and bees. The plants that grow outside her home serve as more than just inspiration for her art. They are the medium.

Zeidel's eco prints are created by boiling leaves and flowers onto watercolor paper. The result is a watercolor-like design with a palette created by nature.

"Everything you see is the natural dyes," Zeidel said. "I'm a medium to the flower, showing what it can do."

While tending to her garden, gathering objects for her art and even while creating the images that her garden produces, Zeidel said she often is stopped by onlookers with questions. She's eager to answer, especially when it comes to questions about her chosen plants and the roles they play in promoting a healthy environment.

"People are really, really interested in that, I find," said Zeidel, who calls herself an avid naturalist and a teacher at heart. She began teaching art right after college. After moving to Hinsdale, she worked as a teacher's assistant at Madison School.

The arrival of winter forces her artmaking back indoors. She doesn't mind.

"I love winter," said Zeidel, who is a skier and a Blackhawks hockey fan. She said she has plenty of images and inspiration to keep creating in the months before her garden blooms once more.

When summer comes around again, she will be back in her garden, but she might also find her way to a few art shows as she continues her journey toward life as a full-time artist.

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean