Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week, time for CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law*. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Deerfield mom of two and artist founder of rethinkreframe, a mixed-media studio in Deerfield! Bari’s artwork encourages us to see things differently: “At the heart of my practice are modern abstract fine art pieces, heavily favoring works on paper, and living canvas wearable art pieces, using re(dis)covered denim for my jewelry and many of my clothing pieces.” We think Bari’s art is playful, genuine and sophisticated wrapped up in her brilliance of bright colors and abstract symphony of shapes and textures! Welcome, Bari!
Hi Bari! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hi! I’m Bari Wieselman Schulman — I’m originally from Chicago’s North Shore, and via Rochester (NY), Chicago, Cambridge (MA), Antwerp (Belgium), and Madrid, i now live in Deerfield with my family (with one foot always in Madrid).
Grad school brought me back to Chicago (I received my doctorate from the University of Chicago) with my now-husband, James, in tow, and family and friends brought us back to the North Shore.
Bari & James (in Antwerp on the roof of the MAS (museum) near where we lived)
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
We have two creative curious divergent thinkers, ages 15 and 12.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
That is a difficult question to answer — not because my mind doesn’t fill immediately with many things, of course, but because it’s hard to put the feelings into words. I’ll say it’s the mix of amazement and love I feel at watching and experiencing how they think, feel, and act — whether it’s their outside-the-box ideas, insightful connections, hilarious wit, or vehement passion for projects, people, and situations they care about, I’m constantly in awe of their depth of thinking and feeling and the exceptional people they continue to become.
… That, and the unexpected kisses, hugs, and snuggles.
If you have any podcasts or apps that help inspire you, calm you, help you run your business or organize your life, what are your faves?
I mean, without Google Workspace, I’d be back to pen and paper (though I will always be a dedicated user of sticky notes and Sharpie ultra fine points), and while there are many stellar podcasts that I peek in on from time to time, I never seem to become a regular. I use my iPhone camera constantly to record my work and Photoshop to make the images display-ready for my site. I live in an incredibly noisy house (think: talking, singing, cooking, video games, power tools, a treadmill, etc, often at the same time), so, of course, Spotify (with and without airpods) to drown out the constant hum of activity. I like quiet when I’m working on the business side of the studio or reading, and music when I’m creating.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I studied linguistic gestures (along with spoken language) — the spontaneous type we produce while speaking — in English, Spanish, and bilingual English-Spanish speakers.
What are your favorite local places to spend time with the family on the North Shore?
Hah! So, we’re big food people and trips to the grocery store have always been seen as family adventures vs. a chore — Trader Joe’s, Fresh Farm, and Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, in particular, are our favorites. We are also, not surprisingly, big fans of our local farmers market. Other favorite local places are the Deerfield Public Library, Once Upon a Grill, and Tacos el Norte in Highwood (though we usually order in)…and, we desperately miss Menchie’s and Frost Gelato.
You are a mompreneur! Please introduce your beautiful art and style creations from rethinkreframe.
I’m the artist founder of rethinkreframe, my mixed-media studio in Deerfield — art + style + ideas.
I believe that exceptional art, both in our spaces and our wardrobes, is an essential and meaningful element — it’s emotional, sensory, personal, evocative, transformative…
At the heart of my practice are modern abstract fine art pieces, heavily favoring works on paper, and living canvas wearable art pieces, using re(dis)covered denim for my jewelry and many of my clothing pieces.
My vivid & intense works are a study in color, contrast, texture, and form. As statement pieces, they tend to spark conversation and the desire for self-expression, exploration, and experimentation within each of us.
Five pieces from Bari’s new Minis Collection #1.
Bari, as an artist, do you have any influencers and/or mentors?
Over the last few years, I’ve come to discover many incredible artists and creators around the world who I learn from and admire from afar; their work serves as both a source of beautiful things to enjoy and sparks for my own creative process.
I’ve always felt very drawn to the mesmerizing colorplay of Mark Rothko, the diversity of Picasso, the ingenuity of Alexander Calder, and more recently, the trailblazing experimentation of Helen Frankenthaler.
From where do you pull your inspiration?
colors, places & spaces in the world that are meaningful to me, the style world and space design, experimentation with process, my husband and kids…
What advice can you give other mamas out there who are looking to start their own small business?
Just start! Dip a toe in or dive in headfirst, but do something that pushes you forward and creates some kind of change, because action breeds more action. As an analytical + creative mashup, I always have a million ideas in my head and at the same time, tend to dive deep on everything, which can sometimes slow me down. I try to take my own advice 🙂
You mentioned that you studied linguistic gestures. How did you ultimately become involved in art? When did that begin?
I’ve always been a creative person, tending toward painting, writing, and performing from an early age, though I have always liked to play with different media and forms of expression. My work today, and my studio, are how I wrap my arms around the skills, experiences, and ideas that are most important to me. For me, the journey that has involved everything from exploring a wide range of activities as a child to studying language development to working in the design world to living abroad with my family and all of the associated experiences are what drives my creative process and fuels a constant hunger to keep experimenting.
As a mom of two young children, when do you find time to paint and create?
Oooh, yeah, so, sometimes I manage to carve out a big bit of time during the day or on the weekend so that I can be grounded and really immerse, or perhaps push several things forward at once. Much of the time, it’s a lot messier than that, even with both kids back in school.
Often, I jump into something quickly on my way between doing one thing and the next (that’s usually the business side of the studio or family activities), and very often, as a night owl, I’ll work for a bit at midnight or 1am. Also lately, I find I’m visualizing new ideas as a way to fall asleep.
One of the biggest challenges for me is remembering to stay grounded in whatever I’m doing at the moment.
Bici (work on wood) behind re(dis)covered denim West Loop earrings.
You’re speaking my language! What’s on the horizon for your business? Future aspirations, plans…
My biggest focus right now is on awareness & growth — letting the world know about my work and bringing more and more of it into people’s lives and homes for them to experience and enjoy.
I love connecting with my people… Please follow me on Instagram (@rethinkreframe) and Pinterest and reach out via DM’s to ask any questions!
Bari wearing one of her living canvas art pieces, the Crush #1 shirt.
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About Our Meet a Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here!