Emmy Heiser turns restaurant side work into artwork
It began as a typical serving shift for Emmy Heiser at Weasel’s of Waupaca. As she prepped her salad station like she did every day, Heiser noticed the colorful stains left behind by the cabbage, carrots and tomatoes she chopped. She decided to take a picture of the cutting board with her Android mobile phone.
“This mundane chore had created a thing of beauty,” Heiser says. “Photographing the boards became the highlight of my day. Depending on what was prepped and what salads were made, the result was always different.”
Heiser began photographing the cutting boards daily, editing the images with software on her desktop computer. The stains changed by the day and with the seasons. The ripe summer tomatoes leave the most vibrant stains, says Heiser, who describes herself as a creative type, dabbling in various art forms. She enjoys the process of creating things, whether it’s a photograph, collage or fiber art.
“A lot of times, I am inspired by the materials I have available to work with and do not begin with a plan,” the 32-year-old says. “In the case of the Cutting Board Series, I simply noticed something I hadn’t ever taken the time to really see.”
Heiser began working at Weasel’s in 2014 after taking a leave of absence from a job of 12 years to pursue a dream she shared with her father – opening a family business to feature their many creative hobbies. They purchased a 125-year-old building in Waupaca and began renovating the space. In July the following year, Heiser and her family opened Union Street Emporium, an arts and crafts gallery that showcases the works of local artists.
“As part of my first display on our new public platform, I compiled a week’s worth of my favorite cutting board photos that became Cutting Board Series #1,” Heiser says. She recently released a second series in the collection with intentions to release a new series each year. The response from the community has been strong, which Heiser attributes to the organic, and somewhat unexpected, nature of the art.
“Art is everywhere,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be all framed up to be art or to be beautiful.”