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 …

http://www.whodoesshethinksheis.net/

also a great article about this film: http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/2010/05/17/female_filmmakers

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.

Blizzard Buys: winter blues & whites to reflect our 71.5 inches!

Over the last week, Philadelphia has been hit with more snow than it has received in at least 100 years. Some are happy about it. Others are not. But either way, many of us find a bit of extra time on our hands to peruse Etsy for wonderful local purchases. The following selection highlights local crafters, used by clicking on the “Shop Local” option on the left side of the main Etsy home page.  To shop for items from Handmade Philly members, simply use the search “Philly Team”. The important point is that we all support buying local, and often you can contact local sellers about drop-offs and pick-ups to reduce shipping costs. As the proprietress of Lilith’s Apothecary, I can tell you that I do this all the time!

Blue Ballon pot by Allisonsceramics.etsy.com

Blue Balloon Pot by Allisonsceramics.etsy.com

Allison Ostertag, an Etsian with several shops showcasing her multiple talents, showcases these lovely blue ceramic balloon pots, or vases, in her Allison’s Ceramics Etsy store.  As an ikebana practitioner, I’d love the aesthetic of these pots, not to mention the luminous blue tones that seem to suit the wintery mood.

hand-crocheted hat on a baby

Handmade hat by Irish Hooks and Yarn

A beautiful photograph can bring a handcrafted item to new heights. Add a gorgeous little baby into the mix, and one almost forgets that the hat is for sale. It’s adorable. It’s soft and sweet. And it’s handmade by local artisan and proprietress of Irish Hooks and Yarn, an Etsy endeavor that caters to those who seek out hand-crocheted hats, sweaters, and booties for children.

Mobile by PoppyandBean.etsy.com

Mobile by PoppyandBean.etsy.com

Poppy and Bean is a new Etsy shop that deserves some attention. Specializing in handmade lovelies for the home, this shop includes such beautiful fabric-art pieces as this ethereal mobile. Mobiles are not just for children, mind! I have a mobile in my own bedroom which adds another ~ shall we say, airy ~ dimension to the room. I think Calder would agree. This piece would look beautiful in many a Philadelphia home!

The Gathering by Moonlight Photography on etsy

I have a special place in my heart for pigeons. Why? I’m not sure, but they seem somehow an integral part of this landscape.  In any case, this haunting photograph jumped out at me when encountering Moonlight Photography, as did many other photographs in this Etsian’s shop. The proprietress features many highly professional images that are almost meditative in their still-life quality. Rather than finding oneself privy to a scene of human life in action, one finds a focus on rare moments of beauty, mystery, or tranquility.

Blue Glass Vase from the Wallflower company

Blue Glass Vase from the theWallflowercompany.etsy.com

The Wallflower Company, a one-of-a-kind glassworks is chock full of gorgeous handmade glass pieces made by proprietors Genevieve and Sam. Looking for an amazing wedding, engagement, or even Valentine’s gift? Check out beautiful glass vases such as this one in cobalt blue. Who doesn’t love blue glass? For those of you familiar with my shop, you might know I’m a bit biased 🙂