One of my greatest pleasures in being a parent to Estelle (now 5 years old) is sharing our creativity. When I was pregnant, I remember being concerned that having a child would mean that I would not have the time or energy to be creative anymore - but the opposite has happened. Being a mother has led to my creativity flourishing, in many different ways. In today's and next week's blog posts, I'm going to try to articulate my different observations and feelings on this topic.
As an artist, I've always been motivated to make things as a direct result of what is happening in my life and the environment I'm in - and becoming a parent is no different. When Estelle was a baby, I made a series of 3 prints where I imagined how animals would be interacting with their offspring. I produced this print of two mice hanging a mobile for their baby which is fast asleep in a matchbox. Now when I look at this print, it nearly brings me to tears, as it takes me right back to when Estelle was a very tiny baby. I'm so grateful I have my artwork, as well as photographs, as a record of our experiences - for me, it captures my feelings so much more effectively.
The emotional impact of having Estelle encouraged me to develop my skills more. I instinctively felt compelled to try and capture what she looked like and her milestones through my artwork. I had never wanted to draw people before, but with Estelle, I tried again and again to capture her. Portraiture is definitely not something that I am naturally gifted at, but my love for Estelle and this unwavering drive I had to depict her, meant that I improved over time.
A shared interest also led me to develop another new skill. Estelle gets a lot of joy out of reading pop up books, and loves the element of surprise. Both of us love picking apart the mechanisms to try and find out how they work! Above you can see one of my first pop up cards I made for her, encapsulating her interest in butterflies. This completely unexpected area of creative development has been a real source of pleasure for me, and I love the challenge of making both the maths and design aspects work together in a pop up.
Finally, being a mother to Estelle has inspired me to make things for her, meeting different needs. This includes upcycling furniture for her bedroom, including an old chest upholstered in train tracks fabric, and a boring cabinet livened up with pink hummingbirds and pink paint. Each year, I have designed Halloween themed fabrics to make a costume for her parties and guising. I've also transformed lots of old boxes for storing her numerous toys. It's such a pleasure to make items for Estelle - and the older she gets, the more collaborative these activities become. Hopefully I've been able to describe some of the ways in which becoming a mother has had an influence on my creative life and led me to acquire new skills. Next week I'm going to focus on Estelle's artistic life and how this has changed over time.