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.

Design Curator: Uniqueness

Pablo Picasso once said, “Bad artists copy, good artists steal.”  When a legendary artist spouts a maxim it’s best for us to listen and try to understand. Does Picasso want us to be criminals? I think not. He just wants us to be unique. When I think of the bad artists who copy my mind goes to Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary created by the British street artist Banksy.

Banksy keeps his identity hidden while making graffiti more acceptable to the public. From his own intricate stencils, he designs humorous and thought-provoking work–containing political and social commentary–that appears on walls, bridges and streets throughout the world’s cities. Banksy’s stencil art showcases his worldview, which may contain sentiments that are anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-establishment, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism or anti-authoritarianism. His subjects often include rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children and the elderly. He has even gone as far as building physical prop pieces–placed in public places–to communicate a message.

So, when Banksy created his documentary there was an inherent message, which begged the question: what makes someone an artist? The Banksy film chronicles the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant living in L.A.  Guetta was portrayed as being camera obsessed. He filmed every mundane life activity and eventually filmed street artists in the middle of their work. Guetta built his connections all the way to Shepard Fairey who eventually connected Guetta with Banksy.

It wasn’t long before Banksy and Fairey discovered Guetta’s lack of talents. As a way to keep Guetta occupied Banksy told Guetta to make his own art show. Consequently, Guetta began to call himself Mr. Brainwash and paid other artists to make copies of art works with minor additions. To Banksy and Fairey’s surprise Guetta’s art show  was a huge success, selling millions of dollars worth of art in the first week of the show.

Guetta falls into the category of the ‘bad artist’ in Picasso’s maxim. If Guetta was a good artist he would have taken the inspiration he received ( I don’t even think he was inspired) from other art works and translated it into something unique and new; not a clone, but a glorious phoenix rising from the ashes. Why copy when you can steal? Make something your own. Make it unique.

Elizabeth Wann ~ Writer and Designer