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Mosaic detail by Heather Eiden

Heather Eiden: Artist in Residence at Spirit Lake Preserve

February 24, 2022  |  Topics: featured artist

The Natural Realm presents Heather Eiden, who is among 11 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.

Artist Statement by Heather Eiden

I am determined to give an experience of direct observation to my audience as a form of meditation. During our recent external lockdown, I have experienced internal freedom. Our backyard turned into an art laboratory. Working with nature, willow branches became a new sculptural material for me. I believe that nature heals with color and form.

story tiles
Story Tiles. Earthenware.

Story Tiles, a series of carved clay tiles, is a body of work that keeps expanding into new platforms for narratives. I consider my job as an artist to be to conduct experiments using art materials as a manipulation of phenomena, like a child at play.

Untitled. Acrylic painting.

I practice “slow looking” to bring the view into my field of vision. I have been taught that all art embraces drawing. To see from both macro and micro perspectives gives the practice of drawing variety within an overarching theme of nature.

Alicia’s World. Mosaic.

My most recent work explores mosaic as a metaphor for putting together the pieces of a fractured life. As a picture emerges so does a story.

Ophelia. Mosaic.

My first exposure with installation—seeing Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party—set me on a path to honoring significant women through our history and in the present.

House and Garden Tile. Earthenware.

I sketch, paint and carve forms found in landscapes that attract me. I am intrigued with the idea that when we learn about a plant it becomes our friend. I am looking for what is symbolic and patterned in botany and the human body alike.

Heather and friend at the preserve
The artist and a friend in a woodland at Spirit Lake Preserve. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

I have chosen to work at Spirit Lake. It is a natural sanctuary for birds and other wildlife and inspires mindful reflection. I plan to sketch the day as the light changes like the Impressionists did. Reflections on water will inspire a series of earthenware tiles and mosaics. Reflection has been a theme in my still-evolving mosaic art. I am also interested in drawing the surroundings from the water using the floating raft on Spirit Lake.


Spirit Lake. Tapestry.
Untitled. Earthenware sculpture.
Untitled. Mosaic.
Spirit Lake Woodland. Black and white photograph.
House Tile. Earthenware.
Three House Tiles. Earthenware.
House Tile. Earthenware.
Star Dust. Acrylic painting.
Children with earthenware sculptures.
Fish Passage. Mosaic.


As an art educator, I have extensive experience designing and implementing art curriculums using a wide spectrum of art materials, along with a vast array of different experiential exercises and projects, all of which are designed to develop a sense of competency and accomplishment for students across all levels of ability and aptitude. Informed by my own practice as a visual artist, my approach to teaching art is to give mechanical instruction, to guide students to explore multiple perspectives and simultaneously learn to observe holistically. Ultimately, the goal is for them to discover their own unique authentic self-expression. Developing in this way helps art students to strengthen their self-confidence and it encourages them to carry these life skills into all academic and life endeavors. I grew up around art and creative people; hold advanced degrees in fine art and art education; and have a lifelong practice of integrating artistic expression, attention to detail, and problem-solving into all aspects of my professional and personal life.

Right: Heather Eiden at Spirit Lake Preserve. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

This residency is sponsored by Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.

This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2019-2020 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted. Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.