When thinking of this series a few months ago, I realized that I had never included a ceramicist. I dug into my bookmarked sites and saved instagram posts and came across an artist I had been admiring, Krista Coons. Krista’s work is earthy and approachable. See more of her work on instagram @hername_ismud. Do you know any creative mamas that you think would be a good fit for this series? If so, drop a comment because I would love to check them out.
WHEN DID YOU START CREATING?
I don’t know if I can pinpoint a specific time or project, I think from stories my parents have told me I always seemed inclined to create or at least make messes with my latest project! My mom is incredibly creative and was always coming up with fun projects for my siblings and I, she is especially good at recognizing a talent unique to someone and then celebrating that. My parents told me they would find me as a toddler out in the garden just squishing mud because it felt so good in my fingers, they were wonderfully supportive of my creating and were thrilled when I told them I wanted to go to art school. I didn’t know at the time I would settle on ceramics but maybe all the mud squishing in my early years made a lasting impression on me!
WHAT DOES “ART” MEAN TO YOU?
I think art makes us feel less alone on our journeys which can be such an individualized struggle or celebration at times. Art allows me to recognize my emotions and make sense of them. I love when I’m making art and my hands are busy but my mind is free to wander, its usually then that I can think about certain situations or the people in my life and recognize the value of who each of us is and what we can offer to each other.
WHAT IS YOUR MEDIUM OF CHOICE?
CLAY ALL DAY! Ceramics is my love, there is something about that squish in my hands and the thought that what I’m working on will begin so humbly (it’s essentially mud) but then as it passes through fire it becomes glass like and so beautiful! I also love that the things I make can be used in people’s every day life. I’m always so thrilled when my ceramics find new homes!
HAS MOTHERHOOD ALTERED YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS? IF SO IN WHAT WAYS?
Oh most definitely! I think that motherhood has helped me to feel emotions more deeply and more fully observe beauty in the world around me, especially as I experience things with my children. I think motherhood has made me feel more like myself and I have a better idea of the art I’d like to make because of that.
I just had a baby about three months ago, her name is Rosie Mae, and having our new baby has reminded me about the ever-changing pace of life and the cycle of creating that comes with motherhood. I’m not able to get in as much work time as I once was, I have to be more efficient when I do finally get some time to create which with the exception of a few day time bursts in now done primarily at night after all three of my kids are in bed. I have to prioritize. I have to say no to certain projects. I have been settling small, manageable goals for myself through the day and I’ve found a little prep work really helps make things happen. For instance, I’ll begin the day by making breakfast, packing lunch boxes, and hurrying to my studio while my husband is still home to roll out a slab of clay I can then work on if ever I find a moment during the day.
For me, I realized that I can’t be in full blown maker mode in this season of my life, I tried that, and I didn’t feel balanced or happy because I always felt pulled. It was as though I wasn’t doing my mothering, wife-ing, or creating particularly well. By trying to do it all and be it all I felt like I was
missing it all. I’ve scaled it back and I’m spending more time with the process; researching techniques and colors I’m interested in, sketching in my sketchbook and working on new ideas. I’m finding beauty and inspiration in new places, much of that coming from my experiences as a mother. I’m enjoying different parts of the ceramic process I once skimmed over.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER A CREATIVE BLOCK?
Creative blockage can come at the absolute worst time! I usually begin by taking inventory of what’s going on in my life that might be the source of this little trouble. I often start at the beginning again. I run tests and experiments without them intended for anything specific and find joy in the journey of creating. Ceramics can be particularly wild because you don’t always know what will happen inside the kiln (my husband Steve surprised me with my kiln for Christmas three years ago and I named her Betty. I always tell her to be kind to Mama, she doesn’t always listen).
There are times I recognize I might be over stressed or stimulated and an adventure or change of pace is what will do me good. I sometimes consult my sketchbook and see if there are any new ideas lurking in there that I may have passed over, waiting for the right time or technique. One of my very favorite ways to bust through that creative block is to work on a collaboration collection with another artist usually in a different medium. I’ve found it so helpful and inspiring to admire others at work, so nimbly doing what they love and are gifted at and bonus we usually end up with a beautiful friendship!
F YOU COULD GIVE CREATIVE MOTHERS ANY PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
I think it’s incredibly empowering and important to have something to call your own as a woman and a mother, a creative avenue that helps you to be inwardly attentive. We as women and mothers offer so much of what we have to those that we love and care for, there often isn’t anything left in our reserves. I have found it incredibly important to bless myself with time where I can still my mind and have quiet, reflective moments in which I can reaffirm how beautiful life is. I think amidst our quest to accomplish it is equally important to remember that which brings us happiness, and contentment, and challenge will always return value. Guard your creative moments and welcome them whenever you can.
DO YOU INVOLVE YOUR DAUGHTER IN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Rosie is still pretty tiny, just three months so we haven’t had much studio time together but I will say the anticipation of her joining our family has made me feel so inspired and I’m allowing myself to feel all the feelings that come with a new baby: joy unlike any other, love that practically beams out of me, pride in doing something that was so incredibly difficult for me and scary and selfless. I also welcome feelings from the other side of the feeling spectrum, I tell them that they can sit with me for as long as they need to but then they need to be on their way. Working with clay and being very aware of the many beautiful metaphors contained in the ceramic process help me to work through all these feelings when I have moments of solitude.
I’ve also noticed that expecting a girl after two boys has me working in a new color palette. I feel drawn to warm colors; many of which have pink undertones. I recently remodeled my studio and I chose a rosy shade of penny tiles for the floor! I can’t wait for her to work on little art projects with me just like my two sons Lincoln and Hudson do. I want to teach all my kids that creativity, self-expression, cultivating a searching mind, and being kind to themselves as well as others will serve them well as they come into their own selves and find where their own talents lay.