“I knew more how I wanted it to feel.
I have fully trusted my intuition.”

Meet the Creator of the Commissioned Lantern for the Lismore Lantern Parade, Pam Rindo

When Pam Rindo took on the project of creating a commissioned lantern for the 2017 New Year’s Eve “Light Up Eau Claire Lismore Lantern Parade,” she saw it as a big step in her career as an Eau Claire maker. “Being able to take what I’ve learned and put it into one big thing, I feel like it’s a new beginning,” said Rindo. That “big thing” has a name - Lumière Claire -  and a big personality too, as parade-goers will see Dec. 31 when the parade kicks off at 11:00 p.m. at the corner of Barstow Street and Grand Ave. Rindo’s lantern is presented by the American Phoenix company of Eau Claire.

Leading up to the big reveal of Lumière Claire, Rindo shared more of her story, with her Banbury Place studio serving as the perfect setting for an insight-filled Q/A.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

Rindo: I’m kind of an odd duck, but I’m kind of a funny odd duck. I’m quirky, there’s no doubt about it.

For someone who’s never experienced your art, how might you explain it to them?

Rindo: I like to show them why I do what I do versus explaining it in words. It’s always interesting. Some people have no idea what to make of this. They say, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s so much going on and there’s so much color and what in the world is this? What are these sculptures?’ And then some people have tons of other questions. ‘Now how did you do this? How was this assembled and why did you do it this way?’

[With my art], I have a tendency to be quite empathetic and intuitive. I think that’s the thing with this sculpture. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do with it and how I wanted it to go together and how I wanted it to look, but I knew more how I wanted it to feel. I have fully trusted my intuition. When I think it’s wrong, I don’t do it, when I think it’s right, I go with it.  I’m finding out I know what I’m doing a whole lot more than I thought I did.

Why Eau Claire?

Rindo: This is the third time we’ve lived here. We’ve always followed my husband’s jobs, but we’ve also gone where we thought was best for our kids to grow up.

I was brought up in small-town Eau Claire and it still has a small-town feel to it. It represents a lot of the good things that small towns bring, as well as having some of the benefits that large cities offer. It’s the best of both worlds.

I’ve always wanted to be somewhere like Banbury. It was when I got here that it just felt so right.

There’s not just ‘Midwest nice’ here, or even ‘Wisconsin nice.’ There’s ‘Eau Claire nice’ and it’s different.

Were you met with encouragement when you decided to open a studio in Banbury Place and when you took on the commissioned lantern project?

Rindo: Taking this on was a big step for me, not even the project but coming to Banbury Place. My suitemate, Gail, even said when she was looking at the lantern, ‘Did you ever think when you first came here and you were sitting behind the sewing machine and not saying much to anybody that you’d be doing this?’ And I said in my heart I did, but when I got here, I thought, oh gosh, what did I do? What did I take on?

My daughters have been encouraging me for a long time and they’ve been telling me ‘You’re so much stronger and so much smarter than you think, so just go for it.’

And there are others who have fallen back on the ‘What is she, nuts?’ And I had no argument with them. All I can do is prove that I can.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself or about Lumière Claire?

Rindo: A lot of people who have turned up to take a peek and see what’s happening have been pleasantly surprised, or at least surprised. I’m questioning myself along the way but in a good way. While everybody may not understand exactly what I’m doing, I do have it pretty well figured out. I think this is only the beginning.