Friday, May 2, 2014

First Friday: Artists, Mothers


In light of Mother's Day next weekend I thought it might be fun to hear from some artist moms. As my circle of friends evolves into one saturated in motherhood I have come to know about the real struggle of learning balance and finding time for creativity so it remains a part of that balance.... This month I have reached out to a few moms who are also artists to hear how they have adapted in their life of motherhood. I have asked each of the ladies the same few questions in order for you all to hear different perspectives from these artists. 

My hope for this piece is for any creative moms or soon-to-be moms find helpful incite and encouragement. Another hope I have is for you all to find a connection to the work these moms create. My final hope is for these moms to feel honored this Mother's Day and know that ALL of the work they do is wonderful, beautiful and appreciated. Happy Mother's Day Merideth, Jennifer, Lesley and Carri! Thank you for sharing!



Our first artist, Merideth Holder, created the dishes I use on a daily basis. Her pottery is some of my forever favorite. She is based in Nashville and works from a home studio where her sweet babe can roam free while she creates. She also works at Mid-South Ceramic Supply or the Clay Lady Co-Op and Galleries.

PP: Have you noticed any difference in the way you approach your work after becoming a mother? If so, how? 
MH: I have totally changed the way I approach my work.  Before my son was born, I had expectations of jumping right back in to my work again, but it takes a lot of work to foster creative energy to create good work, and extra energy was not something I had in those early mama days.  I had to take a break from it--a longer break that I expected.  Then, in time, I was ready and excited to get back to my work, but I knew I needed to simplify- simplify my process, my forms, and my surfaces.  In giving myself some working limitations, I felt freedom to explore the options within those boundaries, and that was really great for me. 
PP: Do you find that you are more creative or find creativity in different places when you begin to see the world through your little one? 
MH: I don't necessarily feel more creative, but I do feel a little more freedom in my work.  As a mom, my priorities have changed drastically, and I just don't have time or energy to worry about whether or not the "viewing public" is going to like my work.  The work is something I have to do for myself, and as an example to my son that it is worth while to get your hands dirty, to try day after day, to do good work and to develop the skills we were given.  So in that, I feel freedom to explore my craft  in a way that sustains a desire to keep going and keeping making. 
PP: Does/Do your child/children have any interest in being involved in what you do? If so, how are they involved?  
MH: YES. As a one year old, Anders thinks that my clay spinning on the wheel and my big spoon stirring up buckets of glaze are the most exciting things in the world.  He LOVES to "help" mama.  I just have to make sure he doesn't want to taste them!


Merideth and her sweet boy, Anders. 
I've always had a deep love for the handmade tradition, as I come from a long line of woodworkers, seamstresses, and painters, but after taking ceramics in my sophomore year of college, I knew I had found my medium. I graduated with a degree in Ceramics from Union University in 2008.  Shortly thereafter I moved back to the Nasvhille area, and I am currently pusuing a career as a studio potter as well as working and teaching pottery classes at MidSouth Ceramics in Nashville.  I feel blessed to have my daily work be a work that I love to explore so much.
Come visit my studio at the Clay Lady Co-Op and Galleries I am a part of at 1416 Lebanon Pk., Nashville, TN to see my work and the work of my fellow potters in person!


Jennifer Brickey is an artist I have been recently introduced to by our other First Friday Artist, Beth Meadows. Not only is Jennifer a mother of two and artist, she is also an art instructor at Pellissippi State here in Knoxville. I love the vibrant color and fluid movement and her work. I look forward to learning more about her. Find her website here and facebook here. She is also on Twitter, @JenniferBrickey.  


PP:Have you noticed any difference in the way you approach your work after becoming a mother? If so, how? 
JB: After I had Scarlett (my first child) everyone asked me that... and I was quick to say "of course not." But, it was different, the approach was different. I think that I started to take myself less seriously. I started to take my work less seriously. The work was slow, because it is a juggling act, and not just the time. It is a juggling act between the roles. Being a painter takes a certain amount of selfishness. I had to give a lot of that up to be a mother, and it was difficult at first, but not any more. I have learned to juggle, I have learned to multitask with the best of them. 
PP: Do you find that you are more creative or find creativity in different places when you begin to see the world through your little one? 
JB:Their world is honest, free from biases or prejudice. They see what they see and say what they say, there is no sugar coating it. They are my best critics for that. I love to take them to shows and for them to tell me what they like and don't like. They are specific, that is good.. to be honest, specific, and open to possibilities all at the same time.  
PP: Do you have any tips for other artist mothers on how to balance life as an artist with a little one(s)? 
JB: Be flexible. Have a sense of humor. There are no long studio days anymore.... be ok with that. I feel like as long as I am still painting, and getting to spend time with my two little loves of my life, then I am good.

Jennifer with Scarlett and Benjamin.
Jennifer Brickey grew up in Waterford, Michigan and Maryville, Tennessee. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and her Masters of Fine Arts in Studio Art (Painting and Drawing) from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Growing up in the suburbs has continued to be constant theme in her work. "I am intrigued by the effects of a personal environment. 

As much as I don’t want to admit that my current work is seemingly autobiographical, I am challenged by the various connections between my life and work" She uses drawing and painting as a vehicle for these explorations. "From intervals of disarray to obsessively tidy, my compositions are a direct metaphor for my own experience with nesting. Like the Rubik's cube, I am enthralled by an indescribable method of organization and placement. I compulsively rearrange and modify each composition in effort to find a complex system of interrelated parts and colors that is overly harmonious as well as nondescript."



Lesley Eaton has been featured in a Paper Pearl gift guide before so you may recognize some of her work.  Lesley hand-paints paper that she then makes into masterful collages. Lesley is also a children's book illustrator. Her work is incredibly detailed and I love how happy each piece makes me. Find Lesley's website here or her Etsy store here

PP: Have you noticed any difference in the way you approach your work after becoming a mother? If so, how?                                                                       
LE: Yes! My work can be very meticulous and time intensive, but during this season time in my studio is so limited and valuable. I’m definitely learning to approach my work a little bit differently, focusing on what I enjoy, scaling down some pieces, and also trying to develop a new rh­ythm. I relish in the creative process and being able to let things unfold unaware of time, but that’s not always practical when I have to get home to relieve the babysitter. I’m learning how important it is to just get started, even if that means just a little sketching or paper painting during my studio time. The final product may be a long time coming, but it really is more about the process. 
PP: Do you find that you are more creative or find creativity in different places when you begin to see the world through your little one? 
LE: I’m so excited about exploring the world with my boys! My oldest is only two, so we’re starting to see him observe and respond to his surroundings more and more each day. I’ve always found a lot of inspiration in nature, so I know that time spent outside with them will continue to fuel that creativity. Anticipating bug collections and pocket treasures may have subconsciously inspired my bug series.

I also studied children’s illustration, so of course we spend lots of time reading books. I appreciate sturdy board books more than I ever thought I would! I’m looking forward to when the boys really start to respond to images with their imagination. We’re still in the recognition phase, but it is interesting to see what images and colors they respond to at such a young age.  
PP: Do you have any tips for other artist mothers on how to balance life as an artist with a little one(s)? 
LE: I just try to focus on the big picture and constantly remind myself that this is just a season. I know time in my studio will not always be so limited, and for now it’s important for me to just keep creating, even if it’s in little snippets here and there. 

Lesley and her sweet boys, Abe and Henry.
After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Art History from Auburn University, Lesley's love of story telling and the imagination led her to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. 
Lesley's style incorporates painted paper collage, which reflects her passion for exploring the beauty of juxtaposition. 

The chaos of the tears, spatters, paint strokes, and exciting textures of painted paper combines with the crisp hard edges of cut paper in engaging compositions. A bright and vivid palette reflects the nature of her stories, which speak of the importance of imagination in ha hopeful and fanciful context. Her work is bod and quiet, scary and hopeful, realistic and fantastical, chaotic and peaceful, always filled with the beauty of chaos and order, as is the process of creating. 


Carri Jobe is a veteran First Friday artist. She is a mother of one sweet boy with another on the way! I love her work. These are new pieces to you Paper Pearlers. I am so happy to share them. I love the smokey blues she is incorporating these days. You can find Carri's website here

PP: Do you find that you are more creative or find creativity in different places when you begin to see the world through your little one? 
CJ: I'm probably less uptight now, which helps me explore new possibilities in art making. I've always been interested in finding creative inspiration in the things that directly surround me, so that hasn't changed much.  
PP: Does/Do your child/children have any interest in being involved in what you do? If so, how are they involved? 
CJ: Russell (my son) loves to paint. I try to let him do this at least a couple a times a week. I'm encouraged that he liked it before he ever saw me paint. It seemed natural to him. I think as he gets older, it would be fun to work on some projects together. 
PP: Do you have any tips for other artist mothers on how to balance life as an artist with a little one(s)? 
CJ: Currently, I'm okay with my art practice slowing down a bit. I think a long-view is helpful so I don't get stressed out about production levels. I would encourage any artist to keep up their own work while caring for little ones, but not to be concerned if it doesn't look the same for a few years. To me, it's worth it to spend time with my children. There will be more work time later on. 


Vintage Carri and Russell in 17th Street Studio.
Carri Jobe is an artist living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has practiced painting, drawing and stitching for 18 years and is currently exploring these mediums through a restricted set of formal concerns. Her work primarily deals with color and texture and the visual impact these fused elements create. She has exhibited at the Chelsea Music Festival (New York City), the Alba de Leon Gallery (Sao Paulo, Brazil), C-Art Space (San Antonio, Texas), and Fluorescent Gallery (Knoxville, Tennessee) among others.

Carri grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She attended the University of Tennessee and received her BFA in 2004. After college, she spent four years in San Antonio, Texas where she painted, exhibited art and became involved in the Texas art community. She then moved to Brooklyn, New York where she coordinated art handling & installation projects, and continued to paint and started her stitching work. She and her husband, artist Brian R. Jobe, moved back to Knoxville in 2009 to spend more time on their own  art practices and to be a part of the city’s art community. Carri is a co-founder of the 17th Street Studios in the Fort Sanders neighborhood.
-Alison

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