Guest Post, Mama Caroline | All By Mama
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Guest Post, Mama Caroline

IMG_2168 Tell us a little bit about you and your family

I am a busy mama to my family of two children & a shift-working husband. I have a job working part time & juggle making art work around the roller-coaster days that my 3 year old son & 9 month old daughter delight me with. We live in Devon.

Tell us a little bit about your favourite products. Is there anything particularly special to you?

I love all of my art work and am particularly fond of making personalised commissions for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries. I find the stories & words of sentiment that capture the essence of the couple (their first dance, vows, wedding date, initials etc…), combined with the meaning of the origami peace crane, take me on an inspiring journey that makes each art work a unique gift.

What inspired you to get creative?

The birth of my son in 2011 gave me the motivation & time to invest in my own artwork whilst I was on maternity leave. Having close connections to Japan there has always been an element of Japanese inspiration to my work & many people complimented me on pieces I had around the house & had given as gifts. This gave me the confidence to pursue it & in 2012 I decided to enter three pieces into a local exhibition. They sold out, a group show followed, then I was selected for an open exhibition & my work has continued to be exhibited in public places, exhibitions & galleries ever since. I have always been creative & I teach art & design, but having children means that time is no longer a luxury: I quickly realised I had to focus my creativity & work towards what I want to achieve for me & for my family.

Image 1 Do you have any tips for managing the work / family life balance?

My main tip is DO NOT GET DISTRACTED BY THE TV! It is, however, a real struggle not to let the emails, applications, social media networking & designing creep into my daily routine as it is all so accessible. I fear tiny sticky fingers ‘helping’ with the origami paper folding or the cleaning of glass & framing so I work around my husbands shifts when I can. It is all a balancing act & I just try to give myself a few late night/early morning ‘working nights’ a week where I can get 4 solid hours in, then compensate by giving myself well deserved nights off so that I’m not too tired when my husband’s difficult shifts kick in. Failing that, if the children nap, I either NAP or WORK!!

How did you first start to sell your products?

I first sold my work at a local exhibition which lead to other exhibitions & some gallery representation. I am working on increasing the amount of gallery representation that I have & the locations in which my work can physically be seen.

DSC_0130 What are your dreams for the future?

I dream that my work would be more easily accepted by the arts & craft industries. It has been said that my work dances between art, craft & design, which is something I like, but when it comes to selection by curators, my work often falls between categories & isn’t selected as a result! I want this to change for obvious reasons.

Do you have any tips for anyone just starting out and learning a craft?

Always question ‘what if?’ If you don’t, you won’t create the uniqueness that makes your art work stand out as different from the rest. When you learn something you have to push it to the full potential & use your creativity to influence your success.

Any funny / inspiring stories that you would like to share about your children / your family life?

I have taken my children to many exhibitions & involve my family in helping where possible. My children have met many different artists & I am pleased that my 3 year old boy will now point to my work & say ‘mummy’ if he sees it. Once, I got my husband to meet me after work outside the private view of an exhibition where I had 6 pieces showing alongside 40 other artists just so that I could go to the private view whilst he drove the children around in the car asleep!

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