MAMA: Art Interview with Mother Artist Carla Danes; Poetry by Hannah Brockbank [LINK]
A VISIT WITH CARLA DANES:
I want to share an artist love story. This goes back twenty-something years. When I lived in SoHo, New York in a funky six-flight walk-up loft, there was an amazing woman who took care of toddlers in her home on Crosby Street. After having my first, and then my second baby, I was desperate for some childcare and also I was hungry to network with other neighborhood creative-types. One of my friends put me in touch with Carla Danes of “Crosby Kids” and the rest, as they say, is her-story. Carla and her husband Chris, both artists, continued to live, work, and care for children while making art in Manhattan until empowering their daughter, Claire Danes to move to Los Angeles to pursue work as an actress. Carla and I were now on opposite coasts but we stayed in touch. I was lucky enough to visit her studio recently, which is part of a sprawling collection of gardens, outbuildings, and even a yurt in Santa Monica, California. It was wonderful spending time together again. Carla, Chris and I talked feminism, families, and mother-made art whilst sitting around their kitchen table, sipping juice, and appreciating the beauty of life’s grand arch. Below is a segment from an interview with ARTPOST featuring Carla Danes and a few of the photos I took during my trip.
Yes! I see myself as this middle-class lady who was taught by my mother and my grandmother and by every magazine in the house about taste and fashion. So I like to play with that; art about what is fashionable, about what’s tasteful and what is art. This goes back to the idea that women have always been allowed to make art at home. Rich women painted ceramic cups and did needlework. Poor women made mittens, hats or quilts. But women have always been allowed to work at home. My work is an extension of that female territory and expanding on it.
I was in my twenties at the height of the Feminist Movement. Now women are allowed to go to college and they are out of the house. Women will buy a couch— big things for the house like bathroom fixtures. But we don’t buy our own jewelry. Sometimes we buy flowers for ourselves, but certainly, we don’t collect art—the men do. Our opinion is considered, but we are rarely the art buyers in the family. Ultimately, I’d like to make art for women to feel safe with. I mean it’s a joke. We have more women than men in many art departments. We have curators, teachers, art makers—but we don’t buy art? This is crazy. See the full article ARTPOST article here [LINK].
*Carla donated one of her prints to the Museum of Motherhood. Make an appointment today for a tour to see our latest collection. Write: info@MOMmuseum.org
POETRY AT MOM WITH HANNAH BROCKBANK
Since I’ve embraced the opportunity to “go personal” this November, I am also happy to share some of the wonders of hosting poet Hannah Brockbank as part of the Museum of Motherhood’s Residency Program. Hannah has been here for two weeks studying the contents of the museum and making use its library. This has been grand opportunity to spend time engaged in serious discussion about everything mother. We first met briefly in-person at the ProCreate event in London over the summer after he accepted to the Residency. Since that time, we’ve wandered the grounds, explored St. Pete. watched the movie Momz Hot Rocks, perused books about mother studies, and of course Facetimed with her kids. It’s been a blast. I’m going to miss Hannah when she goes back to England! ~ Martha Joy Rose
This from Hannah:
I am a mother, writer, and Ph.D. student from England. My creative Ph.D at the University of Chichester involves the creation of a new book-length collection of matrifocal poems exploring my experience of mothering. Whilst at the Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.), I’ve been able to research matrifocal narratives, but also use M.O.M’s excellently curated collection of books, exhibits, art, and photographs (including Procreate Project’s Photozine Archive) as inspiration for my writing. Having time to write without the interruption of family life, has meant I have been very productive, and I look forward to spending my last days at M.O.M. focussing on my creative writing.
One of the first poems I wrote was inspired by an exhibit of a breast and uterus offering. The card by the exhibit read, ‘Uterus and breast offering from Fatima, Portugal to be offered to the Virgin Mary.’ I found this to be a very powerful image and I immediately began to consider my experiences of fertility and wanting to conceive.
It took 6 months to become pregnant with my first daughter and during part of that time, my husband and I visited Japan. We saw many temples and shrines, including the Site of Enazuka – a placenta mound which contained the afterbirth of Tokugawa Ienobu (1662-1712) the Sixth Shogun of Japan. There were many white and vivid pink azaleas, elegant buildings, and copper coloured carp in the ponds. Everything was blooming and coming alive. I also remember the many women who walked along the paths between the azaleas, towards a thick plume of incense where they cupped the smoke with their hands and drew it to their bellies and prayed.
I’ve carried this image with me for six years knowing it was a significant one, but wanted to find the right moment, and inspiration to use it. It was wonderful to commit it to paper. For me, most poems begin as a strong image. I then unpick images on the page. This can sometimes take the form of a sketch, a mind-map or sometimes, as in this case, in note form:
As you can see, I pay no attention to neatness, grammar, or punctuation at this stage. It’s really about getting the image committed to paper. I then include as many of the senses as possible, sight, smell, touch etc. Once I’m satisfied with that, I may add research. For example, the phytotomy of an azalea flower. Interestingly, at this point I start to find connections, or what I like to call ‘serendipitous moments’, where relationships between words, images, and idioms make happy alliances. Truthfully, this doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it feels rather special.
I then start to free-write, beginning to shape sentences into lines, carefully considering the placement of line ends, internal rhyme, and structure. As the poem is continually redrafted and workshopped, it becomes tighter and stronger.
Below is my first draft which has been given the work in progress title of ‘Nezu Shrine’. I will let it ‘compost’ for a week before redrafting. After that, the poem will be emailed to my workshop group in England, where I will receive feedback. I will make any amendments necessary and then send it to a publisher for their consideration.
NEZU SHRINE (Work in Progress)
You pinch a lace bug
from the underside
of a white azalea.
Pearls of pollen
drop from its stamen
and fill the creases
of your busy hands.
you take my hand
and lead me
passed a pond
of copper carp,
(their swollen bellies
visible from the surface),
to a shrine.
your hands twice
then cup and guide
the blue smoke
to my empty belly.
By Hannah Brockbank
The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives. #JoinMAMA @ProcreateProj @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg