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21Country: Spencerville’s “Art Farm” produces a harvest all year long

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SPENCERVILLE, Ind. (WPTA21) - “The Art Farm is our private home and studio, where we work,” Lisa Vetter said.

Behind their colorful home sits the space where they have been creating works of art for many years.

“It’s found object, functional art,” she explained, “it’s made out of found materials, and is primarily functional.”

If you don’t know what that means - just a few moments on their property will make everything clear.

Hanging outside their studio is a large set of chimes, crafted from aluminum baseball bats.

The handles leading to the entrance of their shop, are spoons.

But the creativity applies to anything.

“It’s a lamp, it’s a clock, its a toilet paper holder,” Vetter told us, “It’s a candle stand. It does something - but its fun!”

Her and partner Paul Seifert have working together, mastering their medium, for at least 20 years.

“It started out real simpler, and than it gradually got more and more complex,” Seifert told us.

In addition to creating art, they’ve also been collecting materials that long. 

Dozens of old tins line shelves above their workspace.

Miscellaneous items like chess pieces, bottle caps, even a bowling ball and pins, are scattered around in the full, but orderly shop.

A dismantled croquet set sat nearby while conducting our interview.

“I’ll build something, and then Lisa will come in and change it, and then I’ll come back in and change it,” Seifert explained, “and then all of a sudden… it looks perfect!”

“We don’t always know where we’re going with something, it just sort of evolves,” Vetter added.

One of their most popular items, came out of necessity.

“The toilet paper holder was just an idea from our own use,” she told us, “I’m like, ‘I want a free standing toilet paper holder’ - and of course, why would I go to Bed Bath & Beyond? I’m going to make my own.”

“And people bought them!” Seifert said, “probably the funniest thing that we make.”

Most of the items they repurpose come from garage sales, and thrift/antique stores.

But with this many years into their profession, often times people who know what they want, collect it and bring it to them.

When the pandemic hit, The Art Farm had to adjust.

The primary source of income came from Vetter and Seifert’s travel across the country, selling their work at art fairs during the spring and summer.

They’ve turned a room in their studio, once used for dozens of people to gather in for workshops, into a gallery.

Now they rely on customers to come to their small space by appointment.

In that gallery, surrounded by much of their work, a theme within their art is apparent.

“We have such a throw away society. And there is no ‘away’,” Vetter told us, “When its out of your sight, its going somewhere else… the space on this planet is not infinite.”

Seifert agrees, recalling how his father used to save old motors so when something broke down, he could salvage the parts and fix it himself.

“Going out and buying something because something broke? It doesn’t seem right to me,” he said, “I hope people take away, you can live life simply and you don’t need a lot of things to keep yourself content.”

Vetter hopes people will consider donating “usable” items to thrift store, instead of tossing it out.

“You can repurpose things. You can think creatively. You can think outside the box.”

The Art Farm pop-up gallery also lists other artists’ work for sale, to help support their friends and colleagues during the pandemic.

Tickets are free, and available for their Spring Equinox Pop-Up event March 19-21.

Visits to the Art Farm are also possible via appointment.

That information can be found on their website and facebook page.

Author Profile Photo

Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals is the producer of the ABC21 feature franchise “21Country”. He is constantly on the lookout for ideas that capture the “people, places, things, and history” that makes Northeast Indiana unique. Feel free to reach out: dbeals@wpta21.com.

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