Posts Tagged: art

Q&A with Artist Lauren Bonney

marinade grillingIntroduction by Aryn Henning Nichols
Interview by Inspire(d) Intern Martha Hall
All art by Lauren Bonney

As we’re heading out of summer and into fall (we just sent the Fall Inspire(d) Magazine to the printers today!), we want to thank the amazing illustrator and artist, Lauren Bonney, who contributed so hugely to the summer Inspire(d). Her beautiful food illustrations (see right) on the cover and throughout the Roots of Food section made the whole layout shine – we just loved it!

Lauren-profilepicLauren is well-known in Decorah for her cool designs for Nordic Fest – she’s designed the logo and buttons the past several years – but her speciality is what she calls her “geek” art. She’s likely to reference science fiction or Norse mythology in some clever way in her art or in conversation. Her work lately has been a softer, though, as she and her husband, rural Decorah farmer John Kraus, prep for the arrival of their first child. (Yay!)


Lauren also designs logos, of course, and custom invitations for weddings, parties, and more. Check out her illustrations, block prints, experiments in fabric, and more at her website or Etsy shop, Odd Egg Out.


Summer Inspire(d) intern Martha Hall caught up with Lauren to ask her a few questions about fall and art and inspiration and more – it was fun to get a glimpse into our friend’s fun mind. Read on to do the same!

1. What is inspiring you right now?

Hmmm… the answer to that definitely changes depending on the projects I’m approaching for the day. I’ve recently discovered the work of the artists at Bumpkin Tattoo in Slovakia and I’m loving the use of color and line that they work with, like a “next generation” Story People. I’ve also reaffirmed my deep and abiding love of the animation of Tomm Moore and the animators at Cartoon Saloon after watching their segment in Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” I’ve been listening to Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer’s album “Child Ballads” and singing the songs to myself as I work. The songs on the album have been around for about 300 years, which makes me feel very connected to the past. It’s nice when you end up spending hours in front of a computer to feel a sense of history.


2. What are some of your favorite things to do in the Driftless Region in the fall?

Every year my family gathers apples and presses cider and it has been really great to join in that tradition. I’m definitely not a hot weather person so I spend a lot more time outside in the fall and I like organizing picnics and bonfires once the weather cools down. My husband and I had our first date at the Driftless Area Art Festival, so that holds a special place in my heart, as well.

3. What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

Probably my husband, John. Possibly a segment from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

4. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Someone patient, funny, driven, and an excellent leader. It would have to be someone I could talk to regularly without going crazy and someone who challenged me to take more risks. I know a lot of people who could fit that description, but as far as someone famous goes, I’d opt for my favorite power couple – Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Fictional mentor? Rupert Giles.

GnomeNisseCulture5. What was the last book you enjoyed reading?

Non-fiction:Grand Forks” by Marilyn Hagerty. This simple collection of decades of restaurant reviews left me feeling happy and wanting to chat with my grandma over a cup of coffee.
Fiction: The audio book of “Ready Player One” by Ernst Cline and read by Wil Wheaton. I like to listen to audiobooks while I cook and do chores around the house. I’m very over franchises and series of books and I appreciated the stand-alone nature of the story.

Don’t forget to click over to Lauren’s website and Etsy shop to see more!

Live Generously: Bebe Keith

Bebe KeithIf you blink, you might find that Lanesboro Community Theater dynamo, Bebe Keith, has disappeared. When the Community Theater’s Silent Movies in the Park After Dark or the “Over the Back Fence” variety show are in production, she’s everywhere at once. Don’t worry, though, she’ll turn up soon, maybe in costume – the veteran actor played Mary Poppins in summer 2015 – but more often with script or cell phone in hand, as a director or plain old worker bee.
“I just love performing,” says the former kindergarten and first grade teacher and 25-year veteran actor. She and husband Pete moved from the Twin Cities to Lanesboro in 2006, when Bebe started working full-time as a glass mosaic artist and author. Her work has been commissioned by the Mayo Clinic, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Children’s Hospital in Boston.

“My schedule now is a little more flexible, working as an artist,” she says – the better to get on the horn and throw together two original skits, for example, when a guest artist for “Over the Back Fence” cancels at the last minute. She’s one of nine local volunteers who organize the monthly live radio show, and is also the host of the regional PBS/KSMQ arts and culture show “Off 90.”

Plus, Bebe has moved into mentoring local rookie directors, both for the annual downtown Lanesboro silent films exhibition in September, and the 2016 winter production of six short plays by David Ives. The dozens of hours volunteering to plan for, fund-raise, paint sets, or cue staging for each project don’t even cross her mind, she says.

“It’s my way of having fun, letting go, and socializing with people across my community, all mixed in one. I feel so happy participating – and seeing so many other people participating for the firstLanesboro Arts time, whether they’re in the audience or behind the camera,” she says. “Yes, it takes time and work, but a feel-good activity that everyone enjoys? Totally worth it.”– by Kristine Jepsen

Read More “Live Generously”

October 2015 Calendar

It’s fall! Whew – where is the time going? Get a head start on your fun-planning with this handy-dandy October 2015 calendar (and you can download the pdf here). Enjoy! XO, Inspire(d)


Check out these great fall activities!  In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

13. October 2-3: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s 40th Birthday Bash! Get inspired by Rev. William Barber, Jim Hightower and other big-name thinkers/doers. Oct 2-3, Des Moines,

14. October 2-4: 18th Annual Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour. 55 Artists at 42 locations – all within 35 miles of Decorah! Most Artists ever – Free! Daily 10-5.

15. October 3: WitchFest at The Rustic Corner. Put on a pointy hat and enjoy a day of shopping in Charles City. Go to for details!

16. October 4: Farm fest at Prairie’s Edge Farm! Join us for hay rides, critters, cider pressing and more at Prairie’s Edge Farm. Meat and more for sale. 10am-4pm. 1206 150th Street Castalia

17. October 5-9: Scenes of the Driftless: A Community Art Exhibit at ArtHaus, Open to all to submit for free, Dropoff Oct 5-9, Reception October 9 from 6-8pm, On display through Nov 20,

18. October 9-11: New Albin Library quilt show. Over 200 quilted items on display. Antique section, vendors, demonstrations, and more. New Albin Community Center. $5 Admission. More info 563-544-4325

19. October 21: Witchy Wednesday Wine Down – 4pm to 8pm at The Rustic Corner, Charles City. Get uncorked with a Halloween flair! More info at

20. October 23: Dubious Cowgirls duo at High Court Pub in Lanesboro, MN with food and drink specials to kickoff Lanesboro Girls Day Out weekend.

21. October 24: Girls Day Out Lanesboro, MN featuring the band Drinkwine with Friends. Shop all day, dance the night away! Like us on facebook: Girls Day Out Lanesboro.

22. October 24: OboeBass! Concert. Award-winning Vecchione/Erdahl classical duo: Engaging audiences with folksong, jazz, tango and literary inspirations. St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, MN. $15/$12.

23. October 30: Cringe Night presented by ArtHaus, Hosted by June Melby. Friday, October 30 at 508 W Water St. Doors open at 6:30pm, event starts at 7pm. $5