Welcome back to Create Well, Create Often's Guest Designer weekly series. Every week an artist will be featured here and inspire us with what makes them create well.
This week, Shona Cole, mixed media, collage artist, and author to The Artistic Mother - A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into your Life will refresh us with her perspective on art, motherhood, and how the two intertwine.
I record my life with photos, poetic words and collage art. My aim is to capture the essence of who my kids are and what it is like to be their mother, rather than record the details of specific events. I do make lists of things we do, have done in my journals and we are constantly, as a family, rehearsing the stories of our life; but somehow I have never found a way to systematically marry the words and the visuals in scrapbook form. So I am content to capture what feels pressing when I make it to the craft table. Sometimes that is the movement or the texture of our days. Sometimes it is the color or specific ‘look’ that sums up my child!
I love to integrate my own photos into my collage work. That gives what I create authenticity and makes it special to my family. Recently, I have been drawn to using purple, orange and grey! These are colors that I use to not like at all, I guess I am in a secondary color mood.
I am inspired by other creative people’s work! When I see something visually exciting, a photograph, collage or hear beautiful music I think ‘I want to do that too’. I try to not be derivative. I try to find my own voice, but often you can see who inspired me in what I create!
I love the work of Susan Tuttle, Misty Mawn - they both use images from their own life to tell a beautiful story of womanhood and motherhood, my favorite topics. I am also inspired by photographers Shannon Mucha, & Madelyn Mulvaney - who create dreamy, unusual, thought provoking photos; collage/mixed media artists Shelley Kommers (I love her unique point of view) & Rebecca Sower, for her impeccable vintage layered work which I believe is the best of it’s kind.
My creative process starts by doing some research into what I could do - I make a lot of lists of possible project ideas. I look at the work of other artists online and in magazines and books. I let ideas germinate in my mind and then when ideas for the one thing I want to work on floats to the top of my mind I will then write out all the steps necessary to complete the project. Then I find the time to do it. I play with my rubber stamps, print out photos, paint some background papers, rummage around in my paper stash - I just follow my hands and trust my skills. Recently I have been making journals with my Bind It All machine. I love when art is functional!
I have 2 stories that I want to tell:
One is personal, it tells of the beauty of motherhood, of my children, of my lovely life in Christ. This I tell in the collages I make, in the poems I write, in the photographs I take. I put these on my blog and Flickr, if they inspire some one else, that is great, but really these images are for myself and my family. They are our scrapbook.
The other story is in the book I have written, The Artistic Mother - A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into your Life, which is the story of how a creative life as a mom is doable! And important. I believe that it is better to do something creative, everyday, than to use our free time/evenings to watch TV or go shopping or even sleep! Each of us has been given creative gifts and a story to tell. Yes, life is tiring. Yes, kids are draining. But the time we dedicate to our art will energize us.
Hopefully my book will inspire women, particularly mothers to find ways to go about fitting creativity into their lives. It shows how to create a vision statement for your life and break your dreams into long and short term goals and how to create space in your schedule and home for some creative time. I hope my book underlines how important it is to do a little bit of art everyday.
I tell the story of my artistic comings and goings too on An Artful Life. I hope that my blog will inspire other women too, just as other bloggers, and sites like this one ‘Create Well, Create Often’ have inspired me. We are all in this community together, we can be each other’s cheerleaders and accountability partners. We can be supporters and encouragers. We can help each other to ‘create well, create often’.
Shona is a beautiful example of why I love blogging and hold the online community dear! Being a mother is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, jobs God gave us. God also gave us friends, like Shona, to encourage us; to inspire us after a long day; and to be there with us as we create!
Shona Cole is a homeschooling mother of 5 under the age of 10, collage artist who creates family focused art combining her own photographs, poetic words, paint and paper, author of The Artistic Mother – a Practical Guide to Fitting Creativity into Your Busy Schedule, and is perpetually searching for the balance between self and service.
Create Well: We can be supporters and encouragers. We can help each other to ‘create well, create often’.