Family-themed art is a look into one's living room; it depicts celebration, crises, and the quiet moments of familial interactions.
Crafting: The Ultimate Recharge
On June 7th, 2019 I got the phone call no parent wants. My daughter had a mass removed, a cyst, "nothing to worry about" the doctor told us over and over again, about 3 weeks earlier. "I have good news in bad news. The bad news is your daughter has cancer, the good news is it is treatable. Any questions?"
Painting to Inspire
My good scissors slice through watercolor paper, the initiation of putting together my babies' first art project. The items spread out on the table are cobbled together from years of art supplies. Some from my college days as a visual art student, a decade and more in my rear view. A few are from assisting my parents in building stock in their craftshow driven business. Most of my craft supplies come from my volunteer days with grief camp, a counselor of six and seven year olds who's main commonality was the death of someone dear to their hearts. Felt balls, pipe cleaners, foam letters, tiny, colorful clothespins.
A Birthday Heirloom
My grandmother abhorred sewing. To this day she brags that the only sewing she ever did was as a nurse stitching up patients. My mother, Ann, learned to sew from her grandmother, my namesake, Grace. I don’t know who taught Grace to sew, but if her sewing machine could speak, it would have tales to weave of the miles of fabric she pieced together to create magnificent quilts that she shared with her family, friends, and the community. Her love of quilting was a legacy that she knew she needed to pass on.
A Simple Escape
Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money, and any money we did have often went to essentials like groceries and bills. So when Halloween came around, or when I had a class presentation that required some kind of costume, I was often left to my own devices and had to get creative. I remember when I was about ten or eleven years old I had to give a presentation about one of the Greek Goddesses of Greek Mythology and was absolutely mortified at the thought of going to school without a costume, so I took an old long white bedsheet and took a pair of scissors and cut the sheet in half. I then proceeded to wrap myself in the sheet trying to imitate the look of a toga and took some safety pins and tried to secure the look. I then decided that I wanted to accessorize my look by adding blue and pink fabric to the sheets, this proved to be tricky since I didn't have a sewing machine and would have had no idea where to start even if I did have one, so I did what any ten or eleven-year-old kid would do and decided that tying the blue scarf around my waist and using the pink one as a shawl was the best option. I went to school the day of the presentation, proud of myself and what I had accomplished, and while the other store-bought costumes my classmates wore looked better than the one I had put together, I was still happy with what I had come up with. After that, I decided that I wanted to learn how to create and recreate costumes so I took a few sewing classes and learned that I had a real passion for it.
Mother, we meet again
Mother, we meet again When I think of my mother, I immediately think of multiple women. Not that my mother hasn’t been enough, of course she has. But rather, I think of the idea of a mother – the guide, the nurturer, the comforter, to be a role numerous women have taken the title of over the years. The “mother” is thought of historically as someone who gives you life. Someone who brings you into this world. Personally, I think of “mother” as the person or persons who gives me reasons to still believe in life, at whatever frightful or fearless state I am in. She is collectively all the women who keep our fires burning, long after we take our first breath. She is the one who adds fuel to our fires when cruelty chokes us of our warmth.
From Craft nobody to Crafting Champion
I was a nobody when it came to crafts or making things by hand. I didn't know how to make anything; and so, I concentrated on how to climb the corporate ladder of success as an HR practitioner and never bothered about handmade items until about nine (9) years ago after I gave birth to my only daughter.
We are the weaver, we are the web
Fiber, clay, metal, wood, glass. These are the “materials of craft,” written in the order with which I am familiar, though metal and wood would probably tie for third place. I have always used my hands to create things; my parents made certain of it. Making things out of a collection of various objects has always been one of my favorite pastimes.
There is a wall in my daughter's bedroom that is dedicated to the alphabet, but there are no letters. Instead, over the last two years embroidery hoops ranging in size from 4" to 12" have been added one by one to the wall. For the letter 'A', my daughter wanted an astronaut embroidered in pinks and blues. The letter 'B' were blue butterflies on a field of newsprint.
I can proudly say that I have been hijacking my mom’s orange handled scissors since I was eight years old. She kept them hung up high where we children couldn't reach them and they would stare down at me from the wall they hung on, glistening with all their sharpness. She kept it with the other things that stayed out of our reach, like the tiny pen shaped screwdriver, bills that needed attention, and other things we weren’t allowed to touch. She made it known to us that these were her good scissors and we couldn’t use them without her permission. Whenever we did activities, we got the blunt tipped, rounded scissors that could barely cut paper, they were a bright blue, fashioned in plastic and had to be held at a certain angle for any sort of cutting power. When we got older, we were allowed to use an old pair of semi rusted black handled metal cutting shears. And then finally, one summer, we got permission to use those orange handled scissors.
Buried, Forgotten, Remembered
I grew up attending elegant symphonies, wearing my nicest Spanish dress with the black lace, meeting the orchestra members after the show. I awkwardly shake their hands and admire how black their dresses are compared to my faded Spanish lace. They’re playing my great-great-grandfathers music—a famous composer from Switzerland. As a Jew, he fled his country during the war and came to the United States. Agate Beach, Oregon in fact. I was raised not too far from where my great-great-grandfather wrote some of his most prolific pieces. I spent my most formative years in a house filled with photos taken by my great-aunt, a close friend of Frida Kahlo who took many of the most personal snapshots of Kahlo in existence. Another great-aunt, who my mother was named after, was one of the founders of the Lute Society of America in the 70’s. During a violin class, it is noted she told Albert Einstein off for not being able to count to the rhythm properly.
Love for the generations
It started out innocently enough. What could possibly go awry on a road trip? Looking back, it all began with that one simple question from a friend -- “I want to check out this cool fabric store. Want to come with me?” And down the rabbit hole I went. From that one trip, a good friendship became a great one. More stores, more fabrics, more thread and notions, bobbins and patterns. The choices are never-ending. And the colours. There is so much inspiration to be found in each store. And every designer challenges us to bring out the best in our attempts at duplicating the perfection displayed around the globe.
Creating Fun for the Whole Family
Kids love to play. Usually, rainy days curtail that fun quite a bit since we’re relegated to staying indoors. Not anymore! With this fun craft, I’ve created hours of fun for both myself and the kids. So, what’s this magical thing I did? Glad you asked.