This week's featured Creative Mama is Katie Carruthers. I loved reading through her answers because so much of this I can relate to. The burst of creative energy in short amounts of time, the focus becoming a parent has given me, and I love how she picks three "colors" for her life.
Thank you so much Katie!!!
Where can we find your work and connect with you?
My work can be found at www.katiecarruthersart.com and also a closer, daily look, through Instagram @ ktneedsart
Describe your art and your creative process.
My work is multifaceted as I like to explore ideas through a variety of processes. Currently I've been focused on working in an interdisciplinary fashion through painting, drawing, fibers and installation. Conceptually my work revolves around the idea of authenticity and creating awareness in your life as means to live to most truthful, real and connected life as possible. It's about knowing where the ruse is in life, how to identify it and how to not let him in for tea. Creatively, I could narrow my process down to awareness, observation and manipulation. Artists and creatives are the most amazing people to me because the have to power to see-- and to see the world in a completely different way than any other person. So it is the foundation of my thought and creative process- to simply be present and aware enough to observe the subtitles and nuances in our lives that others may pass by. When the observation is made, I then think about how I can manipulate material and present what I found. I find satisfaction in being physical-- sewing, building, pushing paint, wrapping, blending, sanding, using my hatchet to chop wood...goes on and on. So how I create is as important as what..... but not as important as why.
What's a positive way that your art has changed since becoming a parent?
In one word: urgency. Not only is art making, at it's very basic level the most therapeutic thing I have ever found for myself, my work has also become an avenue for me to communicate ideas that I think are very important for people to understand in order to live their very best life possible. Naturally, I want those same things for my family and children, so they have become interdependent and tend to fuel each other. It's a cycle of need: I need to create to stay sane, which helps me be a better parent and then with my message, I hope in some small way I can make our environment and community and better place to be for our families and children to grow in. I also paint with more urgency. Long gone are the days of studio piddling- which I'm quite fond of. When I hit the studio now, there's little messing around. I have to stay as focused as possible with the little time that I have. Sometimes the art making process has to change to lend itself for sporadic focus, little time and even better...little hands helping. Becoming a parent has forced me to let go and literally, go with the flow.
Where do you get the most inspiration for your work?
Is it cliche to say everywhere? I can't say there is one thing or a group of things in which find inspiration-- just try to stay open to it I suppose. Inspiration really can smack you in the face anywhere. I am particularly influenced by nature-- the way it grows, changes and communicates. Nature has a way of inspiring me to move and do something. It becomes more of an internal influence rather than a visual one- like when the air smells moist like rain or warm like spring. I also love fashion and design, so design trends, textures and color stories find there way into my studio.
Parenting does have its challenges and other schedules to think about. How do you give yourself and your art the space it needs?
I have three children 5 and under, so as you can imagine, my hours are limited. And for such structure driven little people, our scheduled day has lots of bumps and changes and happenings. I still have yet to figure out the best way to schedule in time for myself. (Don't we all struggle with that?) So, I take it when I can get it now. Every once in a while on the weekends, I tell my husband I'm bursting at the seems and need a studio day. During that time, I work as feverishly as I can, getting as much accomplished as possible. I also recognize that this is a limited window in time where I'm just not going to be as productive as I wish to be and as much as I need to be to do what it takes to get this art biz thing a buzzin. Another artist friend, a very successful one at that, told me once, you can't color your life's timeline in with all your colors at once. That really spoke to me, in that, I saw my timeline becoming a dirty color with everything mixed together. I have taken some things off my plate and chosen three 'colors' to focus on: my children, my close relationships and my work as an artist. With those three in mind, if something wants my time and doesn't support them, I am probably not doing it. Becoming a parent has made me super focused on what I want out of life and better at omitting distractions.
Name a creative parent who inspires you and why.
As a creative parent, I now realize how much more challenging it can be to actually work and have kids at the same time. It sounds funny as I type because I've never really thought about it in that way before-- people have always worked and lots of people have kids. We get a little crazy trying to manage the two at the exact same time. Had I known how much harder it would get, maybe I would have spent a few more hours in the studio at 22.
One friend that comes to mind is Susan Ford @SUZEFORD on Instagram. She has young children too and is workin it as a fine artist. We actually grew up attending the same high school, but have connected more so recently, through our love of art and family. Suze is always open to sharing advise - as a parent and as an artist. We did a show together by chance about nine years ago- I was working as a teacher and she was painting. It has been fun to see her determination over the years take her where she wanted to go. She has also recently encouraged me to take time with my kids and reminded me of the gift I am giving them; myself. It's artists and mothers in particular, like Suze, that have shown me, you really can do what you are called to do. The balance of motherhood and working, especially being an artist, is particularly challenging, but in the end most certainly can be done.
I'm no longer doing Creative Mothers interview, but this will remain as an archive. Thank you for all of the love!
About the Series
Let's face it, being a mother can be the most challenging, and the most rewarding thing. Being a mother who needs to be creative can be even more challenging, it can even feel lonely at times.
So let's dig deeper into the lives of creative mothers, share their amazing work, and get some insight into creating while parenting. Hopefully, inspiring other artistic, creative mothers, and women who may one day be mothers themselves, along the way.
Explore Past Interviews
Suzi Banks Baum
Shelli Bond Pabis
Elizabeth B. Borowsky
Kellee Wynne Conrad
Kisco Print Shop
Art by Megan