ART & MOTHERHOOD

 
Photograph by  Katie Addo

 

Creativity often takes root, even blossoms, during childhood. On a different hand, having a child can allow a mother to see the world through their child's eyes - a child's joy in discovery and palpable awe at a brand new world often triggering or reawakening a mother's own creative spirit. In celebration of Mother's Day, we spoke with some of our own LES Collection Artist/Mother hybrids to hear how motherhood has influenced their practice, and how they've chosen to share their work with their "kids".

 

 

LAUREN SANDS, Painter and Founder of LES Collection

Before founding LES Collection, I had a lot more time for my own art, specifically painting. Now, I run the day-to-day at LES, and I have very little time for this. The only time I have to make physical art is actually with my children. That means using their art supplies like crayons, magic markers, colored pencils, glitter, tissue paper, etc. It has forced me to get really creative in a totally different way than when I was painting by myself. I never create work anymore that I think about selling. Some of my work hangs alongside my kids on their art walls. It is all just playful and fun, such a release, and a great bonding time with the kids.

Art is a huge part of our family life, creating it, looking at it, talking about it. My kids are young (2 and 4) and have a natural love of art. They love to create with such a wide range of mediums. They make art in an entirely un self-conscious way (as young children do); it is such a breath of fresh air. I try to foster this and to never make them think their art has to look a certain way or fit into any box. They also love to look at art, whether at galleries or museums. We live amongst a lot of art, so it is often a topic of conversation. It is such a special bond that brings us together.

 

Learn more about Lauren and her artwork >

 

EVAMARIE PAPPAS, Sculptor

My “children” are Daniel Oglander, 37, and Eric Oglander, 34. Daniel is an art consultant and Eric is a sculptor and curator.

Making art was a challenge when they were growing up. Studio time was usually short-lived and work was often left unfinished. 

My husband and I each had a studio at home. Materials were readily available for the boys and they took advantage of it. My fondest memories are the times we shared creating in the studio. We grew together as artists. 

The tables have turned, and the boys sometimes take on the roll of parents - encouraging, critiquing and advising how to market our work. 

Now, I’m fortunate to make art all day, nearly everyday. My boys are too far away, but the sharing continues.

 

Learn more about Evamarie and her work >

KERRY PIERI, Painter

The creative experience of being pregnant and giving birth inspired me to return to art. Although I studied it in school and sketched a bit throughout the years, I left it behind for a long time while I was building a career and living in New York. So basically she's my muse. And just watching the freedom that she creates with is so amazing. Picasso said "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

[My daughter and I] paint often together at home and go to clay classes every once and awhile. We go on hikes to find that quiet that I think all creative people need. She does these amazing wood sculptures with wood glue that she completely made up herself. So basically Lila has more of a multi-media discipline than I do but we still align well!

 

Learn more about Kerry Pieri and her work >

 

SUSAN MADDUX, Painter

I think motherhood has allowed me to deepen the connection I have to my work, and to embody a commitment to creativity in all aspects of my life.

Now that my son is a teenager, I like to involve him by giving him a camera to document the process, or by taking him along to help with installations or openings. It's fun to give him a way to be a part of what's going on, so he gets to feel like he's an integral part of the creative process.

 

Learn more about Susan Maddux and her work >

KRISTIN YEZZA, Ceramicist

Becoming a mother is what kickstarted my art practice! We moved into our home just before our son was born, so I was a new stay-at-home mom and also working on figuring out renovations and the decoration of our house. In the midst of this, I started feeling compelled to realize ideas that were swirling in my head. One night after my son was in bed I went up to our third floor to clear out space for a studio and I haven’t looked back!

I really consider myself a homemaker, as I literally make pieces and furniture for our home. Slowly but surely it is starting to feel like it has a distinct sense of place. I’m not sure what Theo will be into in terms of art, it’s too early to tell, but ultimately I just want him to feel inspired. To be surrounded by the idea of possibility, recognize that we’re all different (and that is what makes life so beautiful), and that a lot of life is trial and error and stick-to-it-ness. These are themes and values that run through my art practice and thus our home, and I hope they will kind of just seep into his soul as he grows up. Our home is and will likely always be a work in progress, just as I am, just as he will be, just as we all are.

 

Learn more about Kristin Yezza and her work >

 

KEAVY MURPHREE, Ceramicist

I didn't pursue fine art until after having children. One of the reasons I chose art after a career in design was to lead by example in pursuing something I'm passionate about. It took me years to realize that life is too short to spend working on something you don't love. Some of my biggest life lessons have come from my children and my art practice. There is a curious relationship there that I can't fully articulate yet.

My kids join me in my studio fairly regularly. During virtual school my husband and I divided and conquered with one kid coming with me every day and one staying home with him. I enjoy having them at my side, both of us tinkering away at a project and later taking a lunch or board game break outside. I'm usually pretty driven and intentional about my studio time when alone, so it's probably a healthier balance. Our kids are probably my biggest cheerleaders and I cherish their support and enthusiasm!

 

Learn more about Keavy Murphree and her work >

 

JACQUELINE DE LA FUENTE of DE LA JARDIN, Sculptor

Motherhood has been a big inspiration to my art practice. Being creative and playful with my children, Elvie and Huxley, reignited my art and sparked my own imagination in creating paper clay vases and sculptures. Having a family made me more aware of how much waste we produce, from cereal boxes to toy packaging, and gave me to the opportunity to see how I can use it as a new material for my art practice.

I am very open about my art with Elvie and Huxley. They see me work on my paintings and the labour of love that goes into making our paper waste into paper clay then sculpting it into vases. When I’m working on sketches or new ideas, they are curious and I love asking them for their opinion. It’s wonderful to chat about a new shape that could do with tweaking or the colours I could try. When I started exploring my art, it was a great way to explain how we can recycle and reuse materials around us to create something new to treasure. Sometimes when they are frustrated with their drawings or craft, I often refer to my own struggles and that there’s never a right or wrong when it comes to art, but to persevere with our imagination.

 

Learn more about Jacqueline de la Fuente and her work > 

 

DORIS JOSOVITZ of LOST QUARRY, Sculptor

When my children were very young I was working in fashion. They never saw what I created nor would it have been very exciting for them. Now that they are older - 10 and 12 years old - I have set up my practice to include them and be flexible to their needs and schedule. The intention has never been to create a ceramic factory; I am creating high quality, thoughtful pieces that people will have in their collections for many years to come. Part of this journey has been about teaching my children how important it is to bring passion to your work and to be proud of what you put out into the world.

Creativity and self expression have been two major pillars in our household since the kids were very young and some of our most enjoyable afternoons are spent sitting and drawing together at home. My son is such an avid sketcher that on most evenings I can find him asleep with a notebook and marker still in hand. With ceramics, we collaborate on new ideas and my kids are often the source of my inspiration.

I'm fortunate to have the studio based in the house so that my kids can watch and get involved. Our Happy mug collection was originally based on a sketch my son drew and has become a meaningful project that we collaborate on together, with all of the proceeds from the mug's sales donated to a charitable cause that we pick out together as well. Meanwhile my daughter, who will be my future assistant, likes to keep me company while I'm working and help create the ribs on the Lost Quarry plate collection.

I hope that these moments we share together creating shows them the value of hard work, dedication to craft, and the importance of giving back. Increasingly, it feels like the world we live in is all about plugging into computers, so I love giving them the opportunity to unplug and unleash their creativity in different ways. Last summer while living upstate, we found a natural clay deposit in the lake we were swimming in. My kids helped collect the clay for us to use and experiment with. By the end of the  afternoon we were covered in clay hand prints and smiles from this incredible natural discovery.

Nothing feels like more of an accomplishment when watching their faces light up and hearing one of my children say “This is my mom's ceramics, she made it" when showing others my work.

 

Learn more about Doris Josovitz and her work > 

 

ISABELLE VAN ZEIJL, Photographer

When my oldest son, River, was 6 years old I looked at him one day and I felt the urge to portray him. By photographing him, I felt complete creative freedom to make a portrait inspired by the child portraits of the Old Masters, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and van Dijck.

My gallery at that time started to show these portraits of my sons on their art fairs, and that’s how I started doing commissions for portraits of the children of my collectors. So yes, both my sons affected my art practice very much. 

 

Learn more about Isabelle Van Zeijl and her work >