give us land, lots of land

When Elizabeth Bunsen and I were hanging her latest work we wondered what it would be like to project different images onto her eco-dyed scarves.  I couldn’t wait to work on this idea and began making collages with her textiles and my photographs in Adobe Illustrator.

Our “prairie stories” collaboration is starting to take shape as Elizabeth and I continue to discuss memories, identity and the geography that has most shaped who we are as adults.  It’s no wonder we have a short hand about our childhoods.  Elizabeth grew up in Lodgepole, Nebraska (population 319 as of 2013) and I grew up in Burke, South Dakota (population 601 as of 2013). Also both of our grandfathers were bankers.  We both have twenty year old sons. And our art and process can provide deep sorry and remarkable joy at the same time.

We’re artists and our storytelling is in the visual realm.  Our conversations have been wonderfully insightful, however, if we were only sharing our ideas in a written form, I believe it would feel like we’re only telling you half of the story…or perhaps even less than half.

To me these layered memories feel like I’m looking through the curtains of one of the many farmhouses of relatives and friends I visited as a kid.  These memories are readily accessible but also a little hazy like the yellow tint of an old faded Polaroid photo.

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge abandoned farmhouse

lillibridge bunsen prairie stories layered images curtains

The words will come as our ideas evolve, right now the images are coming first.  We’d love to hear your ideas about how the interior geography of your youth has shaped who you are today, your choices and what direction you would like move into.

Elizabeth and I are gaining some understanding of how big of a role it’s played in our own identities…give us land lots of land.

sunflowers elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge    lisa lillibridge and elizabeth bunsen cornfield behind the curtain  elizabeth bunsen lisa lillibridge behind the curtain field

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge rodeo in south dakota

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge memories of childhood


What’s the object in your life that connects you most to who you are?


My boots that are the equivalent of my “blankie”.  They are comfort.  They are the ideal footwear when my back hurts.  I do have to admit that I feel a little more bad ass on the days I wear them. I love my cowboy boots.  I wish I could tell you that I was a real rodeo girl in growing up in South Dakota, but I was not.  I had a horse named Honeybear.  I rode in a few 4H rodeos and I have the awards for participation in a box in my basement but that is about the extent of my “rodeo days”.  Sorry friends, I know for your own amusement you have made me a real rodeo queen—I can easily live with your exaggerated stories.  They loom large in my own head too.  I do however, know some real rodeo queens if that helps your narrative in any way.

I think it’s important to have those objects in our lives that connect us to a certain part of ourselves.  My boots keep me tied to my South Dakota roots.  They make me feel more grounded and connected to the prairie—my interior geography.  Today they are necessary in my life and I knew the minute I woke up that this would be a cowboy boots sort of day.  Do you have something you wear or carry with you like a talisman?  I would love to hear about what that object is for you.  Please post a comment or send me a photo ( I think others would be interested too.