An Interview with Eva Schildhause


The city’s coolest ice-cream cone started out as a summer daydream.

Hyattsville resident Eva Schildhause created a sculpture of a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone which caught our eye last month.

In an email interview with the Hyattsville Wire, Schildhause talked about how she made the piece and what she thinks of the local arts scene.

What inspired the ice cream cone?

I was struggling to feel relaxed and happy in making and enjoying my artwork due to worries about how others would view it, so I decided to try to focus only on making art for myself and my enjoyment. In daydreaming about projects I would enjoy, one day at work, I suddenly had a vision of a giant ice cream cone in my front yard. It was a whimsical, silly idea — just what I love. But beyond the therapy of making art for myself, I was more enamored of the idea of a passersby on Jefferson Street having some momentary creative or cheerful experience in catching a glimpse of the Cone. I loved the idea of the Cone having the power to inject even the smallest silly thought in the mind of someone passing by, and perhaps even pull someone’s mind of a bad place for a few minutes, or make a child set off on their own creative adventure in their mind.

How did you make it?

I started by assembling a frame made of chicken wire. I then taped on a layer of newspaper onto the chicken-wire frame. Then, I set the frame on a steady surface and applied several layers of plaster of Paris. A week or so later, I flipped it over and plastered the other side. Plaster of Paris is very fragile, and it did crack in a few places, which I patched up with silicone caulk. I shaved down some areas of the plaster to give it some shape, then applied acrylic paint. Plaster of Paris is also not weatherproof at all, so I applied several layers of polyurethane so it could stay outdoors. It took me a couple of months to complete.

Your website shows everything from embroidery to acrylics. What mediums do you prefer to work in?

I just create what comes to me as I try to find myself as an artist/crafter – ceramics, watercolor, acrylic, embroidery, costume-making, even ice cream truck painting!

What’s your day job? Have you studied art?

I am a compliance specialist at an employee benefits brokerage firm. I did not study art beyond a a couple of courses in college (oh how I regret it!), however I grew up in a very creative household. My mother is an art professor, painter, designer, illustrator and letterpress printer! She owns a letterpress printing business in Florida — Highway Press.

Why did you move to Hyattsville? What do you think of the local arts scene?

My fiance and I bought a home here in Hyattsville a year ago because of the city’s many wonderful characteristics — affordability, character, diversity, walkability, proximity to DC, and the awesome people! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to participate very much with the Hyattsville Community Arts Alliance, but I really appreciate that Hyattsville is home to so many artists, and that I am exposed to locally-made artworks almost everywhere I look.

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