I have found a handful of places in my travels that pull me in and it can’t quite be explained. Which is exactly why I love it when it happens. I can honestly say that the state of Kansas has produced such an occurrence multiple times. Red Barn Studio Museum had this affect and the energy pull went deeper at the very sight of just one single piece of furniture. We are going into the home, workplace, inspiring studio, and, now, museum of Kansas artist, Lester Raymer.
*We had the pleasure of getting a complimentary guided tour of Red Barn Studio. The views expressed are always our own. Let’s gallivant!
Main Street Lindsborg is one of the best of its kind that you’re going to find in Kansas and the Midwest. Plenty of shops, great restaurants, friendly locals, and all of it packed into what they call Little Sweden. Then there’s Red Barn Studio that shows you the mind of an amazing artist and takes you out of Lindsborg for a little while. If you love re-purposed works, then you have found what could be one of the most interesting museums you can ever see.
Painting, carvings, carpentry, glass blowing, basket weaving, toy making, unbelievable works of metal ranging from aluminum, cast iron, tin and more… there’s nothing he wouldn’t challenge himself with.
You can see the passion of Lester Raymer at every turn in this one of kind studio. What is truly felt is the love he had for his wife, Ramona. So many of his works were made for her and inspired by the connection they had with each other. Her husband had endless talents and the enduring devotion to his soulmate was one of his greatest. Some artists have conveyed their feelings for a loved one in just one iconic piece. Raymer never stopped creating works that had his feelings for Ramona attached to them.
Countless hours were spent here with Lester Raymer creating countless pieces of art. What you see in the picture above has been largely untouched since his death in 1991. It lured me in throughout the entire tour. I kept going back to it and when it wasn’t in sight, I was thinking about it. This is the energy field I referenced above and I kept hoping I’d see a glimpse of Raymer himself before we left. The bottle of wood glue half gone and probably still useful. Many tools arranged like a woodworking surgeon. Was the newspaper there for as a barrier or was it going to be used for something else or both? What received the last squirt of glue from Raymer? The last chalk drawing, the last piece of wood tapped from a chisel? What was given the last bit of ultimate approval of completion by its creator, Lester Raymer? What was the last tool to be set down and making the last sound from the bench by him? I will just need to come back and imagine the answer to all these questions again. This work bench is honestly my favorite one of Raymer’s pieces. The time poured into this very spot is as priceless as the artwork that you see in his studio and his works around the world in museums and private collections.
Always take in the historic magnitude where you’re at whenever you’re traveling. There are passionate collectors, educators, and fellow artists that love the life and art of Lester Raymer. Many of them may never get the opportunity to see the barn that he turned into a constant and evolving piece of art on its own. Stand by his work bench and let your imagination twist into the Lindsborg afternoon like his did day after day.
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