Let It Bead
Ranging from a $700 pair of bead-bedecked socks to an average $30,000 for lawn mowers and laundry baskets to her (not yet priced) 528-square-foot Back Yard (replete with beaded charcoal grill and 1 million blades of beaded grass), Lou's creations have attracted such collectors as actor Leonard Nimoy, who calls her work "extraordinary." It's also rich in meaning. Kitchen suggests that a woman's work is never done. Back Yard, says Lou, implies that suburbia is never as "permanently perfect" as her own clichéd version.
Lou's own upbringing in suburban Minneapolis was shattered in 1974 when her father, Peter Lou, and her mother, Marie Jordan, divorced. Five years later, Jordan, a poet, moved Liza and her sister Christa, now 31, to San Diego; Liza attended the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1994, Lou separated from childhood sweetheart Eric Smith after four years of marriage. She now lives modestly in an L.A. Topanga Canyon studio apartment and dates sculptor Timothy Eames, 48. Says Lou: "I feel really lucky."
She should also feel proud. Says Susan Bay, a board member of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art and Nimoy's wife: "Her work touches on the soul and how we live our lives."