This week we have Mary Burrows on the blog . With her husband, she runs mb art studios: a small, family run business that believes in the beauty of handmade and keeping it simple. Their work is influenced by a love for aesthetics, simplicity and words that can encourage and move us to live a…
“She saw me say who I was.” Featured Artist: Zsudayka Nzinga
Zsudayka Nzinga is a mixed media artist and designer from Denver, CO. Her portrait work features acrylic, paper, fabric, oil bars, charcoal and pigment. Nzinga fuses traditional art forms passed through the Diaspora to create work which speaks to the power of history and how visual art aides in defining culture and identity. Her subjects…
“While reading, weeding the garden, or making dinner, I’m also solving the painting.” Featured Artist: Crystalle Lacoutoure
Crystalle Lacouture is an artist based in Boston and North Adams, MA. She received her BS in Painting/Printmaking from Skidmore College in 2000. During the decade she lived in NYC, Crystalle was a longtime assistant to activist artists Nancy Spero and Leon Golub, worked at the Lower East Side Printshop, and at the Academic Arts…
“Before kids, the mood would need to be perfect—good lighting, clean desk, nice drink. Basically, I’d romance the creative process.” Featured Artist: Jessica Besser-Rosenberg
“Do I still have a two-minute set on giving my doctor a poop sample? Sure. But I also write about working to combat gun violence (I swear to god it’s funny) and about raising my children interfaith. “
Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor
“or women who care deeply about their other roles and identities, keeping that snake at bay—only swallowing up to the toe or knee, say—is crucial to mental health and well-being.”
“I have to try to be very quiet while I work. It’s challenging, but also meditative somehow.” Featured Artist: Anthea Ben-Naim
“I don’t have particular rituals other than (perhaps not for the better) that I often snack on something. It’s a time for intellectual, creative, and physical indulgence, so I always look forward to it.”
Emily and Me in Isolation
Memorizing poems is a practice that’s nourishing, meaningful, and entirely unproductive from an economic standpoint.
“There are a lot of pros to being a single mom.” Featured Artist: Lin Sun
Could you use a laugh? I know I could. Thank goodness we have Lin Sun on the blog this week. Lin Sun is a self-described Cambodian Single-Mom Comedian. She has performed at famous comedy clubs in Los Angeles such as “The World Famous Comedy Store – Hollywood” and “The Laugh Factory Hollywood.” In less than…
“Get out of my kitchen”–A Covid retreat to domesticity
And, in a shitty way, by retreating to the domestic, in a not-so-feminist claiming of womanly expertise, I buy myself a little free time
“when she goes to bed I do a lot of my work, which has included making 13 Halloween costumes” Featured Artist: Rebecca de Carteret
“Here in Vegas there are a lot of artist mothers, so I am not alone.” This week, choreographer and dancer Rebecca de Carteret is on the blog.
Too late! Whittling goals in a time of crisis
one of us wrote the words “too late” across the calendar. From that point on, only essentials could take place.
“I find great solace in the rhythm of making stitches” Featured Artist: Kristen Ashbaugh
“Throughout my life, my ability to throw myself into a creative outlet has been so important to me. I learned this from my mother who taught me to sew, knit, and crochet”
Garbage Work, Not Garbage Person
With some regularity, a wounded writer appears, whether in my office or in these online spaces. Although the contexts vary, the type of wounding is remarkably similar: some gatekeeper has taken it upon him or herself to judge the writer unfit. This judgment often takes the form of unsolicited advice about a change in career.
“I do have a joke about how soon it will take for my son to need therapy. I mean, I’m a comedian. Poor Kid.” Featured Artist: Lia Berman
“At the time I did not feel like anything was easy and I wanted to know if anybody else was struggling.”
My new mantra comes from MadTV
“Producing knowledge and producing little lives at the same time was the ultimate creative practice.” Featured Artist: Ai Mizuta
“I also play the violin to get in touch with something that is beyond my own existence across time and space: the music created by great composers and the music played by many, many people before us”
Making at the End of the World
A world that is hostile—because it is too hot, or too racist, or too authoritarian, too misogynist, or too neglectful of your community’s health crisis—is a world that is at least indifferent if not antagonistic to your making.
“stigma can also be internalized, such as when I doubt my own impulses to integrate my experiences as a mother in my work” Featured Artist: Susana Ruiz
What’s been the best surprise about having a creative life in motherhood?
The media landscape expands! As a media artist, my world has become so much bigger and infinitely more interesting since motherhood. I go through my children’s cultural preoccupations and eccentricities with them and I, too, grow. My Little Pony this month? Okay. Red Dead Redemption non-stop for the entire weekend? Okay. Kendrick Lamar last week and Public Enemy this week? Okay. Unboxing Toys videos on YouTube? Fine.
The Water of Attention
Without attention, the projects behave badly, turning a little weird. Job application, I think, why did you get so ponderous and stale? You, book proposal, what are these funny little sentences? And, as they curdle, I start to resent them: uggh, why are you still kicking around? Isn’t it time for you to graduate or get a job or something?
“The best surprise about having a creative life in motherhood is when your children start creating and you get to be part of their creations.” Featured Artist: Tracey Ellert
“I recently started working more with my children. I wrote a story and I have asked my son to illustrate it, and I also asked both children if they had any edits or ideas. ”
Yeah, but did you puke? (why I take classes)
Riffing on Portlandia, we’ve decided that any charcoal disaster can be solved by “putting a pear on it.” My drawings are full of pears that exist nowhere in the original still life.
“I completely took over the kitchen table for years since I had no other space to work.” Featured Artist: Cid Longoria
if I was out all day shopping for beads, or up late at a show I would often be asked quite sarcastically, “do you even know where you kids are?”
For Your New Year: The Outbox
I suspect that lots of writers engage in a similarly optimistic to-do list shuffle, bumping failed or failed-for now projects from calendar to calendar
Not a Bowls Mom
“there’s something comforting about a bowls mom”
“it’s important for me to drag the kids to openings and galleries. It’s healthy for kids to be flexible, to do things they might think are boring.” Featured Artist: Ali Smith
“The previous generation of female artists were often told they couldn’t have kids if they wanted to be successful and I thought that was ridiculous”
Out of sight….
Hard to do something when you don’t have the supplies or even know where they are.
“It’s challenging to be consistent about practicing and honing my craft while making sure everyone is alive” Featured Artist: Olga Perez Flora
I used to be all tied up in “Did I get enough rest,” “Am I hydrated?” “I need to stay quiet today!” and now it’s all, “Do I have any clean underwear?”
It’s hard to wake up earlier in the morning to write when small people are already demanding breakfast at 5am.
“the very act of making things is important and they deserve that.” Featured Artist and Teacher: Reena Spansail
This week is a little different. Instead of my regular post, I have an interview with the lovely Reena Spansail. She teaches art to both high school students and to groups of women through Nevada Art Museum’s “Girls Night Out” classes. Additionally, Reena is a wonderful artist in her own right. Here, she reflects on…
“I often ask my daughter what color I should use on something or ask her what she thinks about one of my painting ideas.” Featured Artist: Emily Reid
This week we’re featuring painter Emily Reid. Emily studied art in Florence, SC, Bozeman, MT, and Sydney, Australia. Her work features a strong sense of color, and a connection to animals and our natural world. Emily says that she also hopes to help connect humans to their animal spirits and to their creative spirit through my art…
Being a Woman In Public
Inspired by one wonderful thing and one awful thing, this week’s post is in two parts. When I left for a recent trip, I had a plan for what this blog post would be. I was headed off to spend a week and a half in Italy, first going to a silent film festival to…
“I have a tendency to overcomplicate my prose, and feeling a bit depleted forces simplification.” Featured artist: Amy Hammer
This week we’re featuring author Amy Hammer. Amy writes books that help readers celebrate and cultivate glorious flavors and meaningful lives. Through her website, she shares stories and recipes that bring both health and pleasure. Her previous work, the cookbook Happy Belly, is a celebration of food and a work of advocacy for the Down syndrome community….
This is a follow up to the post a couple weeks ago about what a sad thing it is that growing up means winnowing one’s avenues for artistic expression. As I said there, even as I love all the arts, I am really a words person. But even within that category, I have a narrower…
“the confidence that comes with motherhood is really beneficial. After facing down a strong-willed two-year-old, no one is intimidating.” Featured Artist: Kari Barber
This week we’re featuring Kari Barber, award-winning documentary filmmaker, professor of Journalism, and mother of four. Her most recent film Struggle and Hope had its world premiere at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes and has won a number of awards. The film documents the battle of the residents and descendants of Oklahoma’s historically…
Artistic Promiscuity (Against Paragone)
I encountered the word paragone this week while reading for my academic writing. As Brian Glavey explains it in his book The Wallflower Avant-Garde, paragone is a Renaissance term used to describe “the battle between the various arts.” In the Renaissance, the debate took place mostly between painters and sculptors who argued on behalf of…
“She challenges me in ways that are actually rather fruitful, infuriating too, but ultimately very interesting.” Featured Artist: Cari Cunningham
Cari Cunningham is an Associate Professor of Dance at University of Nevada, Reno where she was a key player in the implementation of a Dance major in 2017. Her choreographic works have been performed in Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Mexico, and in New York City at City Center “On the 6th Floor,” The Ailey School,…
Laundry is a Gas! (finding time)
So, I know that self-help is a neoliberal trap that makes the individual responsible for all things, often ignoring or disavowing the structures that profoundly constrain the choices any person can make (I’m looking at you, Rachel Hollis). BUT, I love it and consume a bunch of the stuff anyway. And, if I’m honest, sometimes…
Postpartum Aesthetic Depression
I don’t like cartoons. When people tell me that I have to see The Incredibles or Toy Story or Inside Out, I have to reveal my Grinch nature. I don’t like animated films, I’ll tell them. Oh, but this one is really good, they’ll say. Good good or good for a cartoon? I ask. Oh,…
“Some people meditate. Others do sport. I need to make.” Featured Artist: Fiona Reid
This week I am so pleased to share our first profile. Fiona Reid is a ceramicist and mother working in Edinburgh. For people who don’t know your medium well, could you explain what your art is like? I make functional ceramics for use in the home. I’m inspired by the colours of our coastline and…