Monday, October 19, 2009

A Meditation on Mothers

All of us have mothers of one sort or another. A part of my working on my own life, with the help of studying Buddhism, and other systems of cataloging thoughts and feelings as well as images and ideas, has been to dance around my own story of my mother and me.

Those of you who have followed my work for years are familiar with sculptures I've made to explore and celebrate my grandmother's (mother's mother) life. In my book, DOLL MAKING AS A TRANSFORMATIVE PROCESS, I've delved into the mechanics of coming to understand my relationship with my mother, my ex-husband, and how I and others have used doll making to deal with powerful issues.

Each year my youngest brother and I have made a point of going
to Iowa to spend time with our's nice to have siblings at these times, and to know our own limitations. We stay with our brother, Steve and his wife, and never more than 5 days, and help each other in times of stress and a risk of "losing it." Families sure do know how to push each others' buttons!

Such a sweet lady...but with such power in our lives! Buddhism teaches that we give away any power that others hold over "stories" passed on from generation to generation. The burden of what happened, what should have happened, what should happen.

A wonderful gift that Mom has given all five of us is enough confidence in our artistic talent to go ahead and use it. As the only girl in the family, I feel our commonality, but also can see our differences. She encouraged me to learn a trade, so I'd never be dependent on a man to support me. And since no man has ever expressed a desire to support me, I am Very Grateful.

Here we are touring historic Galena, IL with niece, her fiance, my brother, David, Mom, Steve's wife, Linda.

We see small things we can do to mother our mother...Do all women dread growing up to be their mothers?

I see that she gets a good deal of satisfaction out of my achievements, things that she would have enjoyed doing, but has helped me do instead: my books, my shows, my classes, my house that I built, my independent life.

She is more vain than I am and more religious, and I am more organized and able to negotiate with the world than she is. As I get older and more self-aware, I am less afraid of becoming her...but that has taken over 60 years!

I know I will look back on these visits and be very grateful that we have had time and the self-knowledge to be kind to each other.

At the top is In My Grandmother's House. The picture is my mother as a child, with her mother and father and brother and a symbolic story of their lives. The bottom image is Mother, What Did You Want?, about mothers and daughters being so connected, yet reaching for their own individuality.

Barb Strembecki of let me know this evening that we might be able to run another session of Doll Making as a Transformative Process on her site this winter. Let her and me know if you are interested. LIFE makes GREAT MATERIAL for making ART!



Blogger Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Your work is very inspirational. You're one of my few favorite artists.

6:08 AM  

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