556 South 3rd Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215, United States
About the Artist/Site
A retired grade school and part-time art teacher, Lindsey Alexander has turned sections of her home and backyard into modern-day “grottos” memorializing personal family histories. She uses diary and hand-written letter transfers onto ceramic tile, shards of fine china, collected mementos, jewels, sequins, beads, eggshells, handmade ceramics, found objects, and donated personal items from friends and family, as well as salvaged chunks of walls and floors from previous, now demolished family homes. She has also incorporated bake-in-the-kitchen waterslide decal transfers of childhood fabrics, her mother’s clothes, her father’s musical scores, and remnants of wallpapers from her former homes into her work. Just off the back porch, a strip of the backyard is covered with broken pieces of residual materials from both her childhood home (where her parents raised five daughters, and lived for 50 years), and their previous home, where Lindsey and her husband Steve lived for 21 years while raising their two daughters.
Alexander brought along site-specific yard sculptures and years of accumulated working materials when she and Steve moved into their impeccably-preserved 1913 Arts & Crafts home in the downtown German Village neighborhood of Columbus in 2000. Her art environment building began anew: a mosaic embedded in the ground along the public sidewalk in front spells out a quintessential exchange between her father and mother: “He: Let’s stay here forever. She: Okay. When the kids go, we can stay. He: No! I mean US... HERE... FOREVER…”
A mosaic covering the wall above the kitchen counter re-assembles the childhood family home over the stove and re-states part of her father’s sentiment: “STAY HERE FOREVER.” Physical remnants enhance the emotional connection to past times and places: for example, Steve’s army shirt and letters home from Vietnam are incorporated into two wall-hung artworks prominently displayed on the first floor. After her mother’s death in 2002, her treasured powder blue Estée Lauder perfume bottle collection— surrounded by ceramic imprints from her letters and private diaries— became the centerpiece of a new mosaic in the upstairs master bath. Lindsey recalls:
Those perfume bottles, that my mother always wanted me to artistically “do something with,” were an inspiration to finally fulfill her wish. With the daunting thought of filling the large bathroom with mosaic, I seized on something my best friend, author D.G. Fulford, had written in her book One Memory at a Time, after she visited my mother’s new apartment with me and discovered the rows of beautiful blue perfume bottles collected over decades. That passage was read at my mother’s funeral. Its words now cover the shower walls in ceramic tiles, and phrases from it are scattered in mosaic throughout the room.
“I’m one of five sisters, with two daughters and two granddaughters,” Alexander continued, “so the mother/daughter theme is carried throughout that space.” Another element, a handmade chandelier of real hollow eggshells, hangs over the master bath as if to symbolize the fragile nature of life and times—like the fleeting scent of her mother’s perfume, now vanished.
Sabato Rodia’s Watts Towers and Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden have provided lasting inspiration since the 1980s for Alexander, and through published and online resources, she has found numerous other art environments which have also influenced her work.
Although she opened her home to the public for Hearth, a six week site-specific art exhibition showcasing the response of sixteen artists to areas of their choice within Alexander’s home, in general the decorated interior is not available for public viewing except by previous arrangement. The artist may be reached at “Lindsey Alexander” on Facebook, Instagram @lindseyjilla, and under the hashtag, #brokenheARTedmosaic
Map & Site Information
556 South 3rd Street
Columbus, Ohio, 43215 us
Latitude/Longitude: 39.9510943 / -82.9953648