YabYum Seven: Lora Barnhiser

LB11. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lora Barnhiser. I’m from a small town in Ohio called Bellville. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows your name.

I am a local Phoenix artist; self-diagnosed with multiple painting personalities. Also, I’m a high school art teacher, wife, hiker, camper, and environmentalist.

2. How did you get your start?

In high school, art class was the only academic area where I didn’t feel like a flop. I stuck with it throughout college. I have been teaching Art for over ten years and creating it my entire life. Until recently, work I made was only for myself or for gifts. However, after a couple of pregnancy losses, my production level increased, most likely as a way to cope. Before I knew it, I had created more art than my studio (a.k.a. spare bedroom) could hold. I began sharing my work online and eventually locally, the first time being at the Phoenix Flea.

I still feel like I’m getting my start, but with lots of very supportive, friendly, local, artsy folks to help me along.

3. What inspires you?

I am most inspired by the challenge of working with what materials land at my feet. The optimist in me sees the lemon and likes to turn it to art. This is a blessing and a curse, as what other people consider “trash” tends to find its way into my studio.
Most recently, I have been working with discarded small pieces of wood. I don’t often change their size or shape as I enjoy the challenge of working with what I’m given. Many of them have knots or other “imperfections” for which their demise was intended. Often, these imperfections serve as my jumping off point. This is especially true for my abstract pieces.LB8
I’ve been lovingly calling the wood pieces “Misfits”.

4. What do you like about AZ?

It doesn’t rain here very often, but when it does, you can bet the sun will shine afterward and a rainbow can be discovered. Corny, but a great analogy of what life can be like if you let it.

5. Where can we see your work?

In Phoenix, I will have a couple of abstract pieces on display at the monOrchid through November. There are a handful of pieces in MADE Art Boutique as well as Moonage Tempe.

In late November/ early December I will be peddling my work at Market at MADE, Phoenix Flea and Phoestivus.

Online you can find my work:


6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I would love to someday be the leader of a movement or organization which serves a positive purpose. Yes, this is vague, but I know that the opportunity will present itself and hope that I will recognize it when it happens.

7. What is your mantra?

I have two:
If you’re doing your best, then that’s all you can ask of yourself.
Laughter is the best policy.


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