Cindy Cochran Creates

Han Vance on American Art, Family and Literature, with Photos by LVictory: My mom always wanted me to meet her artsy cousin, and I finally got to meet her in person in Marietta, Ga., recently, after we were regularly conversing social media friends across the country for a half-decade or so. I was far from disappointed. She’s a great lady.

Of course, that makes her my cousin too, down the line, but it was a surprise to find out, via their mutual interest in genealogy, it had been discovered that she was likewise a distant cousin of my stepfather. The family name Cozad being mutual between them, where their family trees touched. Wait does that mean? No. It was on cousin Cindy’s other family side; Mom was Cindy’s cousin on Cindy’s father’s side. That would have really been something special if my stepdad and mom were long-kissing cousins. I guess they would have said, too late to do anything about it now, cuz. …Let’s just go on to bed.

This was the view from my grandmother’s yard.

She was a bit stern. I didn’t find her warm enough, for my always-lived-in-the-South grandma’s boy, of the other grandma – my Nanny – perception, but she deeply loved her family and made the best sugar cookies. I found out much later she’d suffered tremendous loss and was in eternal grief. Cindy I found charming and full of heart and tenderness, although I know her to be tough, especially when she is fighting injustices, as she does for so-called American Indians, the native peoples of America. Here I am writing you from what was Cherokee land, my good-bit Catawba wife asleep a room over.

Nebraska people are salt of the earth folks. That was true of my grandmother Hanich.

My grandpa, her husband, was senile and struggling to make much sense part of the time when I last knew him. But he was a sweetheart of an old man, who I used to walk with to get ice cream. I once woke crying years after he was dead and gone, because I’d been too harsh on him, in insisting we walk the right way home. I woke up saying aloud. “He didn’t know any better.” Nanny said I didn’t know any better either back then, the next night when I told her about it.

GM Crabill was probably the single most fabled settler of western Nebraska, and I knew about him some from Mom, but I learned a lot more about the great white man and former frontier wildness of the area where his daughter, my grandmother on my mom’s side lived, while reading the short, concise and vividly clear book Cindy Cochran wrote, “Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo No Longer Roam.” Title itself is brilliant, and the empathy and insightful energy of my cousin spill out onto the page in places, as she writes of her homeland and her Grampa Crabill – his homestead and the world he built. He dug the Castle Rock Canal, adding irrigation to the area, as example.

We aim to walk it, as he did many times. 40 miles or so: Yep. My mom’s grandfather, like mine on the other side, was a big deal to a certain set of folks. I could go on, instead here admiring the lovely broken glass mosaics Cochran creates. I recall this view, too, There’s Castle Rock, Table Rock, Steamboat Rock, Coyote Rock – which some folks called Alcohol Mountain.

Further to the right, across your radio dial you’ll note Roundtop Rock, these each a part of the Wildcat Hill Range, along the Oregon Trail. From grandma’s house, they were just off in my sightline behind a field of corn. How Nebraska.

My mom’s 2nd cousin, therefore my 3rd, Cochran is a visual artist of distinction for these broken glass mosaics. A resident of Main Street Torrington, Wyoming, approximately seven miles from the Nebraska border, she has shown at the Scotts Bluff, Nebraska-based Western Nebraska Arts Center, at a gallery show with multimedia artist Charla Herbert, in a perfect style pairing, Both were products of the same general topographical view, which was imbued.

Cochran attended Chadron State College before studying physical therapy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha. She has also participated in Glass Art Show at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.

She was first drawn to broken glass mosaic work via intro to the similar work by Amy Sedaris, a deceased sister of the stupendous writer David Sedaris. Always “the keeper of the family’s [old or even olde] stuff,” she went from smashing and upcycling pottery dishes, to working in more vibrant glass. “Old windows, old doors, people donate glass.”