Seeking Inspiration…

As some of  you may know, I had a new addition to my family this spring. We welcomed a baby boy in to our lives, Henry James was born April 22nd. Although this was a planned event, I could have never prepared for the way having a baby can turn your life upside down. My philosophy as an artist and a teacher has always been that your art and your life should remain seamless. In the case of art and craft, the best work is spawned from life’s events – marriages, babies, new jobs, new homes, friends, groups, pets, gender, family, home, who we are – our identity. I have seen and admired so many artists – both men and women – who use their lives as inspiration for the creative work they do.

As I searched my brain for a topic for my post-postpartum-returning blog post I stumbled upon this …

also a great article about this film:

The film discusses this very topic – how women artists are viewed in the eyes of the art community when it comes to marriage and family…and boy did it speak to me…in fact, just watching the trailer, my eyes teared up and I was so grateful for the women who share this struggle, to know I am not the only one…

Motherhood and art, the act of creation, are so synonymous. If you are interested in checking out more about this topic, look for contemporary artists such as Mary Kelly and Heather Gray, and books such as Mother Reader ; or search for blogs such as this one: regarding art and motherhood.

Since my time is short and valuable, I found some quick and easy tools to use to gather inspiration and hopefully get the creative juices flowing. Generally, I choose projects I can carry in my diaper bag or purse and can work on at nap time or after Henry goes to bed. When I return to work I am hoping to spend my lunch break, well, eating of course, and perhaps putting a couple of stitches into some fabric here and there or developing some prints in the darkroom – or maybe even doing a bit of drawing. I know it will not be easy, it already isn’t – but I hope these tools will help me gather inspiration.

I picked up this book: The Crafter’s Devotional – 365 Days of Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit.

by Barbara R. Call

I am not usually into these types of books, but Borders was going out of business and I was digging through the shelves when I found this; and at this moment of my life, it spoke to me. For instance, on Days 111 & 112 she discusses the color of auras and days 146 & 147 she goes over embroidery techniques. It couldn’t be more diverse a selection. It is a total of 308 pages including everything from Birthstones and Birth flowers to Collage Portraits….

The Devotional is filled with daily inspiration for breaking what the author calls “crafter’s block”, although the author claims not to include any “fine art” in the book – I think the line is so blurred at this point in history that it doesn’t matter…. it works for everyone.

The book is set up like this:

Monday – Journaling

Tuesday –  Recycle, Reuses, Revive

Wednesday – Collection Stash and materials

Thursday – Personal history

Friday – Non craft inspiration

Saturday and Sunday – collaborate, gather and experiment

Seems simple enough – not begging for hours in the studio…we will see how it goes and I will keep you posted.

My other quick fix was to join Pinterest – a virtual bulletin board for all things you love. There is so much inspiration here you will be astounded. There is also a Pinterest iPhone App – convenient for moms, and all people on the go!

In addition to all of this, I am grateful for the Handmade Philly community. It has kept me thinking about creativity with the Photo Discourse Project.  I am sure there are more of us out there — new, and seasoned mothers seeking inspiration, or people who have been pulled away from their creative pursuits for other reasons. It would be great  to discuss the ways we can use our new roles in life to be creative and express all that life has in store for us. All comments are welcomed, I hope this will start a discussion!

MaryJo Rosania-Harvie is an artist, teacher and future master of the one minute diaper change. She lives in New Hope, PA.

8 Responses to “Seeking Inspiration…”

  1. JenMcCleary

    That looks like a really interesting and important movie. I don’t have children or really want them, and I know a part of my thought about that comes from an instinctive feeling that I’d be totally miserable without the freedom and time to focus on my creative efforts. It’s hard enough trying to balance everything in life and still find time for my own projects and I can’t imagine throwing children into the mix too. I have the highest respect for women who manage it. I feel like either way it’s hard for women- if you don’t have children and focus on your own work instead, some might call that selfish. If you do have children and still manage to find time for your own work, some might call that selfish too, being a bad mother, etc. Which is totally ridiculous of course, so I’m glad this movie exists to bring up these issues.

    So Pinterest is worth doing? I started to sign up for it, but then freaked out about having yet another online “thing” to keep track of. Sometimes it all seems like too much. But it definitely looks interesting.

  2. ruth

    Great post MaryJo! I find that most of the time I spend on creative endeavors is during the week, as I commute to and from work, or while I’m on my lunch break. So all projects must be portable and should be able to be put down after maybe 15 minutes…and of course nothing too messy will work…(though I am the lunatic who collages, sews, embroiders, crochets, etc. on the train/ bus…so messy, I know is quite open to interpretation…welcome back to blogging and I hope you are enjoying your time with Henry! ❤

  3. JenMcCleary

    Also, congratulations on the new addition to your family! 🙂

  4. mariee

    welcome to the mama/artist life. The first years are hard because little ones take so much attention. But artist’s kids are the most interesting ones I know, because you can’t help but include your kids in what you do. When they’re toddlers, set them up with their own craft activity along side you, take them to galleries and museums, sketch while they play on the jungle gym. It’s not selfish to still want to create because it’s part of who you are, and to be the best you- and the best mom- you need that in your life. My trick- studio time is for about 2 hours every night after bedtime.
    And it gets easier when the kids get older =)

  5. MaryJo

    Thank you everyone! It was great to
    Get that all off my chest. Jen – Pinterest is like
    An online notebook. Not for everyone, but definitely interesting. The app makes it simpler to use…

  6. MaryJo

    And Henry is the best thing I ever made!!

  7. Joyce Mercer

    Great post and congratulations! As the mother of a 26 year old and an 11 year old I can say it gets easier. My 11 year old daughter is a creative force in her own rigth and I enjoy the time we spend together because of it.

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