My friends and family know one of the main reasons I do what I do is because of my mother. But I thought with the upcoming holiday, honoring the women who mold us into who we are and will become, I should share a little with you.
I grew up being dragged from antique store to antique store all over New England. I walked the fields of Brimfield several times before I was 10, and became VERY familiar with the phrase, "look but don't touch". I also learned what it means to haggle, what a reproduction looks like vs a genuine antique, and how to find a treasure in a box of junk.
In addition to dealing in antiques, my mom was a master crafter. Any creative event, whether it be a haunted house or the holiday gift fair, my mom was involved from planning through to the end. Is it any wonder, that I too should be involved in events, visual merchandising, antiques and making? I remember sitting on our 3 seasons porch in Massachusetts painting rocks and birdhouses along side her. No surprise they had a floral motif, have I mentioned I love plants?
As I grew older I began to draw, first I tried to replicate Disney characters from my favorite movies, then I moved on to flowers and things I found in nature. She always encouraged me and offered me anything i needed to help the process along. When I got into photography she provided me with cameras and lenses and eventually an enlarger to create my own darkroom, should the need arise. Both she and my father were incredibly supportive of me in art school when I tried a bit of this and a bit of that before finalizing my major and graduating with a BFA in the amount of time many would earn their masters.
I think I learned the jack of all trades mentality from her as well. But take this with a different meaning, as jack of all trades but master of none, never applied to my mother or to myself. While neither of us specialized in our artistic ventures, we both take great joy in learning and mastering many techniques and skills. I lost my mother in 2012. But in some ways I lost her 8 years earlier when a complication from an accident left her with significant brain damage. She seemed outwardly to be unscathed if you didn't know her. She was still charming as ever and social as was her nature. But, to those who knew and loved her, she had lost a part of herself. She used to be the person to get it done, whatever it may have been, but after the accident her focus and determination was different. There were also short term memory problems, similar to what you might see in a person with alzheimer's. All that being said we were grateful for every day of our "bonus time" as dad liked to call it.
Sadly my mother is not here with me to revel in the beauty that is a career based around making people smile. All of the things both she did and I continue to gravitate towards are life enriching. Can you survive without a beautiful enamel tea kettle? Certainly. But, what is it about design and art that makes our lives feel more full? I cannot answer that question, and likely neither could she, but we both knew it to be a truth, one I am passionately driven to share with others.
Today take a moment and think about your own mother. How did she make you who you are today? If you can, give her a call and let her know.
The picture below was found by my mom. She had it for sale in her antique booth 10 years ago and now you can find it for sale in mine. She had a knack for finding intriguing pieces, and this is certainly one of them.
Here's a good one of the whole family on a trip we took to the Olympic Peninsula while I was living out in Seattle. And amazingly while she was in Africa with my dad she found a shop she could really relate to, it kind of describes her mentality (and the one she passed on to me) related to shopping ha ha!