Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Create With Me

Stampington and Company's,Create With Me, has hit the newsstands with their winter issue. Its focus is on "artistic adventures with children" and features parent/child collaborations. As with all of their publications, the layout is gorgeous and the articles are inspiring. You can read more about it here. I was invited to share my thoughts on mothering, creativity and blogging. My photography was used throughout, and so you may recognize a picture or two.
create w me

first spread

I grew up
To the above I'd like to add:
The food we make, the games we play, the clothes we sew, the rooms we lovingly rearrange... they all become our installations and art pieces.
second spread

third spread
 I wrote this article many months ago and haven't thought much about my words since. Seeing them again felt like a little gift... as if I wrote them to myself for just this moment. It's a time of new beginnings and I seem to have a sharpened awareness of where I've been and how I want to move forward as an artist and mother.

The intersection of mothering and making things fascinates me. How we incorporate creativity into daily life and share it with our children looks different for each family...  my goodness, it looks different around here each day! But I do believe that one of the most important things we canoffer our family and our self is to unplug, tune in and be present. This gets harder as technology snakes itself into more and more crevices of our homes and the world around us. Smart phones and tablets seem to be sprouting from limbs... and I am no innocent bystander. Not that they don't offer incredible options as tools and resources, but I find myself longing for the simple ways of tech-free parenting. I wrote a little about those early days and my introduction to the blogging world in the Create With Me article. You can read more on flickr here and here.

As a fellow creative and blogger/blog reader, do you ever think about these things too? How do we balance our personal needs for creativity with mothering? Our desire to inspire and engage creatively with our children are often interconnected with our own artistic drive. And I often wonder what the impact of all of this technology (whether it be a blog or even instagram) will  have on our collective creative consciousness down the road? I'd love to hear your thoughts...
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  1. Oh Maya, this is exactly why I began making art *with* my kids--which then turned into a blog, where I could document what we did and maybe share ideas with others. Blogging is a very natural way for me to document, I guess. I wasn't managing to create by myself, so I simply shifted gears until I could--I created alongside my kids. After about six months of that, I realized for whatever reason (my youngest was a little older, or maybe modeling the habit) I was able to find more time to create on my own, and I started a separate blog for my own creations. I do think technology is a double-edged sword, and I am resisting getting a phone that can access email & the Internet, for my own good. :) When I'm out of the house, I'm offline.

    (And did you notice? My kids and I are right after you in the magazine...our field trip to deCordova. It was so fun to read your words and see your pictures, then flip the page and be surprised for a second--oh, that's us! I'm honored to be in the same magazine as you, Maya!)

  2. Amy- Yes, so many of us are drawn to the beautiful process of documenting our days through blogging. That double-edged sword just keeps me on my toes and helps me to never forget to stay aware. As far as a phone... I think you're the "smart" one! I love mine, but certainly glance at it more than I'd like.
    And of course, I saw your trip in Create With Me. Congratulations! Doesn't it make sense that we'd be neighbors?

  3. Oh this is a topic fresh on my mind! Since I was a young girl I dreamed about becoming a mother who led a creative rich life with her children. I married a very creative man and to no one's surprise our children both have very strong creative sides.
    What I find most difficult is making time for me to be creative ALONE. For me this is imperative to lead a balanced 'creative life'. When I create with my children I am satisfying my teaching/nurturing side, when I create for me I am cleansing my soul. Two totally different creative experiences that I feel are equally important to someone creative.
    Technology is a wonderful tool to inspire and showcase creations but I like to keep it separate from the creating process as much as possible. I believe that creativity can only come from within.
    I must find that magazine, it looks great!
    ~ joey ~

  4. Joey-
    "When I create with my children I am satisfying my teaching/nurturing side, when I create for me I am cleansing my soul. Two totally different creative experiences that I feel are equally important to someone creative."

    Love how you expressed this so much!

  5. I love this. I find that I feel whole when sharing creativity with my children. I didn't grow up around much creativity and I smile just thinking about all my kids are exposed to. I don't feel like the technology is an issue...I find that the housework suffers. Eventually things get too cluttered and the whole family starts to fall apart, crafting supplies need to be put away, reorganized and purged. Of course then it starts over again...

  6. Oh yes, Angie! The dreaded housecleaning gets me every time!

  7. love this post and anxious to check out the magazine. i think about this balance a lot. for me, things tend to naturally balance themselves in the inward/outward pull of working alone(blogging) and crafting with or alongside my littles. for me, art is a way to slow down and reconnect and communicate with my kids (3 and 6). my most recent post is exactly about such a moment: www.mamaforpeace.blogspot.com.

    thanks for sharing. i am so often inspired by your peaceful, generous spirit!

  8. I really like the idea of your house as an expression of creativity. I remember being ill as a child and lying staring endlessly at the panes of glass in my window and playing games in my head with their irregularities ( v old glass). It was dull. I resolved to always have a house that I could look round and never be bored should I be ill again. I remember and loved my Granny's and aunt's houses with their unexpected treasures and stories. I also realise that I use my house as a diary - most things have a history and meaning. Wherever possible I like things to be beautiful and interesting. I hope my children, still very young will grow up finding it cosy, secure and full of ideas and stories.

  9. I love that introduction to your article. Just what I needed to read after a tedious but necessary day of housework. However, our first two completed projects of 2012 have been by my twin eight year olds, both determined to make a present for their friend's birthday. The hours I spent individually sewing with them were so special and reminded me I should do it more often. With four children and a husband often travelling, balance is a constant struggle though and the technology, while opening up new avenues and communities, intrudes on the peace I remember from my own creative upbringing.

  10. Dear Maya. I love your blog and your pinterest page too - lovely farmhouse pictures. I found you through soulemama site, then to squam and then to you, in case you wondered. I have a huge favour to ask, as I can't wait on this waiting list for much longer. Could you please send me an invite to pinterest to tagw2010@gmail.com Don't worry if you'd rather not, but I would so appreciate it. Tiffany (from my adopted home in Vancouver, BC) :)

  11. I am really looking forward to picking up a copy of this-as my little man has been talking so much about art projects and creating and I feel that I could really use some encouragement on the being present-pulling away from technology bit. We experience such joy when we create together. I just seem to get sucked into a vortex of the online world and then all of the daily responsibilities as well. My mom was a single parent too and sadly she spent much more time keeping our home neat than creating and playing. She did value art though and was very creative in her garden, with photography and she supported my artistic nature by making it a priority to send me to art class on Saturday mornings. Lovely blog post.

  12. Whew, these are such good, big questions, Maya. I read your post earlier today and didn't have a chance to properly sit down and think about my response, but it's been sitting with me all day. I, too, am fascinated by the push and pull of being a present parent with connecting to the greater creative world of parenting (and my own creative pursuits). Lately I've found myself glued to my iphone at moments when I should probably be more present with my kids -- mini-computers can give us the feeling of parenting while simultaneously nourishing our growing adult minds. When I go to the park it seems that all the parents who aren't talking to other parents are on their phones! To be honest, I love this outlet. It got me through hours of nursing while keeping my creative spirit alive. But I also have to be mindful of leaving a mark on my children's consciousness. My whole objective with my blog is to share inspiration about how to raise creative children, and I think I'm doing a good job at that, but I also think a lot about walking the talk. Fascinating stuff!

    I love your introduction in the article, and I think my messy little house might feel a lot like the home you grew up in :) Thanks for getting me thinking!

  13. This is a constant topic for me as well. Before I became pregnant with my first child I was really involved with developing my own film and photographs. I loved to paint as well. But pregnancy and toxic chemicals don't mix. So I had to put those things aside for something a little easier on the body like sewing, digital photography. Sometimes I do feel I've lost a bit of my really creative self as most of the things I do/make now are fully functional. But I have also come to realize with little ones that that is the way your art has to be, functional. With children are not so philosophical about creating they just do it for the process. So for now I put all of my creative energy into my domestic arts. My blog is like my gallery space. One day my girls will be old enough that they won't needed me every moment of the day and then the more "artistic" forms of self expression can come back into my life.

    I've never heard of this magazine before. I'm totally going to check it out! Thanks!

  14. My children are older now and I wish that the blog world had been around when they were younger as I was seriously in need of inspiration then - working as a lawyer meant that there was just time to survive and not much more. Now I no longer work for health reasons (burn out) and the beauty, kindness and gentleness of blogs like yours has helped me find myself a little bit again. We have no mobile/cell reception where we live so the only gadgetry is the television and the laptop (apart from my chilrens ipods). Sometimes this is a pain but usually I am thankful that I am not distracted in my day by texts etc. There is only the normal land-line.

  15. I love your article Maya. I agree and love your words about creating handmade spaces and artistic corners to honor our artistic drive. I wrote a blog post a while ago called the art of motherhood, which was my working out being an artist and being a mom. Technology is such a wonderful thing, but can be double edged. My husband is in the military, so right now while we are apart I'm loving all the technology. Skyping, texting him a video or photo straight from my phone... its seriously a blessing. But you are right, its important to shut down the screens and live in the now, for that is where true beauty takes place.

    Such a wonderful post, I have to check out this magazine!

  16. These are just the thoughtful and articulate responses I would expect from you lovely friends! Thank you for taking the time to ponder this with me. I've read through each of your comments at least twice already! xxx,

  17. When your creativity is how you also contribute financially to the family the challenge is exponential! Some days you just need to be alone, but the kidlets won't let you. And some days they need to be a part of it, of what you do. Even if that means it takes longer or it is an epic game of red light/green light at the sewing machine.
    I take small comfort in the fact that creativity is indeed a part of their lives. I've got many friends from the school for who it isn't. We may not have great success in terms of end results, or balance, but it is always there.

  18. Do you know of any resources (blogs, books...) for being creative with tweens and teens? We have grown older and I need new thoughts. Thanks!

  19. I struggle with mess. I am not naturally a clean person, but I'm not super-messy either. I get overwhelmed when there's too much stuff in my house, and I've found that motherhood has meant letting go of some of those expectations. And I'm not talking about the kind of mess that involves lovely wooden toys and nature tracked in from the yard. I'm talking about plastic playmobil bits and rescue heroes. They're not beautiful or peaceful to me, but my son loves them. And so I make these compromises with space, and I have learned to create in a less-than-idyllic setting. And my creativity has benefited in some ways. I appreciate pattern and color more now than I used to. I'm more inclined to be okay with not finishing a project. I guess I'm saying I've learned patience and acquired new vision, and this has had its own particular impact on my creative self.

  20. Frivoltea- As they get older, children's interests become more fine tuned. I find the library to be a great resource for finding books on specific crafts. My 13 year old enjoyed DIY kids
    Klutz books always try to stay current with tween/teen crafty trends.

  21. Rachel- love your thoughts on creative evolution and learning to be flexible about aesthetics.

  22. Hello Maya, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with all of us! I thought you might be interested in my grandmothers blog actually. this is a topic that has always been dear to her heart and some times hot on her "fingers". She is a writer, knitter, decopouger, weaver, and painter. And a mother! she is very pationate about both and the home arts. She has always talked of how a mother needs a creative outlet of her own as to be sane. She raised 5 children! her blog is
    thank you again

  23. Hi Maya- as an artist one of the things that really worried me going into parenthood was losing myself & my art into the abyss of being a mum. I watch my own mother even today as a grandmother - putting her painting on hold for everyone else! I am blessed to live in a hugely creative city-Vancouver BC-and be surrounded by a community of artist who encourage and support each other. I have been delighted to discover the abyss of motherhood is sweet & the creativity is overflowing! Having kids has rekindled my spirit & helped me shake off my "serious artist" restraints-I feel more free than ever before! Thank you for talking about this!