How do I know this? My work just got accepted into a New York exhibition juried by two incredible artists (Eugene Daub and Alicia Ponzi).
I am super excited to announce that I will be hosting my first open studio in the US!
You are invited to come and visit the studio in Berkeley CA. Enjoy live demonstrations, refreshments and a sneak peak at recent work from the collection including sculpture, wall art, jewellery and ceramics! For address please click here.
Saturday & Sunday 11am - 6pm, Weekend 1 (June 8 & 9) and Weekend 2 (June 15 & 16) in conjunction with East Bay Open Studio (https://eastbayopenstudios.com).
Kate Mikhailov, Giraffe Mobile, Reclaimed Copper 27” x 21” x 18”
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11am - 6pm. Saturday & Sunday, June 8,9,15 & 16 2019
I’ve been having fun with my new nature inspired kinetic mobiles, driftwood tabletop sculptures, honeybee jewellery and 3D wall art. Several of my works from the past two years will be on view and available to the public for the very first time. Don’t miss all of my brand new work!
Below are some photos taken in the studio:
A Little More About Me
I am a passionate metal, wood and ceramic sculptor who specialises in contemporary pieces made with the beautiful and inspiring local materials of the Bay Area. As a recent migrant from Australia, my connection with land is strong and I forage for materials in California as a way to connect with and value my new land and place. Original copper, steel and driftwood works add movement, colour and depth to interiors, radiating positive energy and inspiring creativity and motivation in a home or office setting. I create sculptures, kinetic mobiles and display art that focus on themes that help protect the natural world by highlighting it’s beauty and illustrating what a harmonious relationship between humans and nature can look like. I aim to bring the natural world into focus so that we can all feel more connected with the environment, even when we are indoors.
Copyright © 2019 Kate Mikhailov, All rights reserved.
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Christine Weir and I meet at stARTup Art Fair at a retro 1950s hotel in San Francisco. Her room is filled with the most intricate graphite drawings I have ever seen and she is super friendly. We get to talking and it turns out that she has a little boy. I decide to follow-up and interview her for the blog. I call her and it turns out that she lives in L.A. and her little boy is not so little, 12 in fact. This is exciting for me because Christine has already been through those early days building her family and her creative career. I soon learn she has an absolute wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Years ago, Christine had an innate fear of flying and largely stayed away from airplanes. One day her father-in-law fell ill and she had to fly east in the middle of the night with her 3 month old baby. This emotional experience led her to look out of the window of the aircraft when she otherwise wouldn’t have. She was looking at the lights thinking of what was happening in her life and other people’s lives below. She started thinking about how to capture those emotions. The seed was planted for her first series of drawings for which she used Google Earth to observe features in the landscape that reflect certain emotions. I find it fascinating that a single event fired up her artistic practice. I also can’t help but wonder whether the emotional rollercoaster that is postpartum had something to do with that wonderful burst of creative energy.
Many years before that flight, Christine had earned a Drawing Degree and a Masters in Art History in addition to working at a major auction house. As someone who had grown up in a very small town in Pennsylvania, she welcomed the opportunity to see art face-to-face and to delve into technique. Graduate School in New York and more specifically, her time working in the Auction Business expanded her understanding of different kinds of art. Of this time handling thousands of pieces of work, Christine says; “Those years of working with art really helped me be who I am today, figuring out who I was, what was good and what wasn’t.”
But interestingly, during that time in her career the actual creation of work paused. It was six months after her son was born that she started to feel creative again and that she had something to say. It seems to me a pattern is emerging as I am interviewing creative moms whereby life and more specifically motherhood, inspires art.
There’s something about Christine that I wish I could have more of and I think it has something to do with her energy and focus. In the second year of raising my little girl full-time, I find the accumulated lack of sleep and high output of her energy quite exhausting. Sometimes ‘Netflix and Chill’ in the evening becomes the way of my present tense. But when I speak to Christine, her early career and family days were spent filling nap time and evenings with drawings.
How does she achieve this and still have the energy to work as a mom full-time? “I sit down and I just start. When I’m struggling I just make myself draw”. Says Christine. When one idea ends and no other idea presents itself, she draws. When there is no studio to draw in, she sits in the lounge room while her husband is reading and she draws. She puts the time in and makes the most of the space in between.
From the age of two and a half, her son went to preschool and the chance to have three solid hours, three times a week opened up. Now that he’s at school and the family is in a carpool, five-hour days are the norm. It’s a commitment and it’s about being really economical when time is available. She also comments that real life and everything else kind of needs to fall to the side in order to put that time in.
Along with this persistence, Christine seems to have a healthy sense of self-esteem, she doesn't take rejection to heart and that allows her to keep at it;“Working in the auction business and seeing the volumes of work, I don't take rejection personally; I like the work that I’m doing.” If you’re not going to say that about your own work, who is?
What’s also valuable to hear is her experience. It was humbling to pick up some new ideas on setting realistic Fine Art career goals. For example in the early days, Christine built her CV by applying for Juried Shows. She got her work out there by looking online at show listings and balancing her work output with the number of shows she was involved with. Her networks grew and then group shows and a solo show became possible. Now she’s looking to the mid-level L.A. gallery scene. This is over a period of 12 years of course, which really puts things into perspective. A Fine Art or creative career is not necessarily about the overnight successes presented in the media and it’s really good to see an alternate, more tangible and realistic example of someone’s practice.
As for the work, it’s growing. Bigger. The most recent drawings look at chaos, fluid dynamics, time and space, taking upwards of six months to produce due to their scale and intricacy. Christine feels successful because, in her words; “I get to do the work and I like the work, I’m happy doing what I love on a day to day basis. A lot of the shows that come about for me are from people calling up and inviting me to show. For me I’ve succeeded because people think of my work.”
I, for one, will be one of the people who remember her work and her generosity sharing these insights.
Visit Christine’s website at: www.christineweir.com and instagram: @christineweirart
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Images courtesy of Christine Weir.
When I first meet Lily on a Thursday morning over coffee at Flowerland, I think she’s pretty exuberant and confident and she has an accent. As an Australian who is yet to explore much of the United States, I’m not certain which part of the US she’s from. Anyway we get to talking and she has a way about her that makes me feel comfortable, like she is leading and I can sit back and relax and heed her advice. I’m glad about that because I’m looking for creative leaders, who could possibly have answers to some of my questions. As we talk it becomes apparent that her natural leadership is a quality that led to the successful creation of her business, Curiosity Pack, which she started in 2015 when one of her children was just three and the second was a newborn. Impressively, much of the crowdfunding work that Lily did to kickstart her business took place while baby number two was asleep in the Ergo.
I can’t help but wonder, if she can do it perhaps other moms, myself included can to. She seamlessly transitioned from working as a year one and kindergarten teacher to developing curriculum and then to running a business. Of the transition she says; I wanted to really change the way kids experience learning. After being a teacher there are many ways that kids are taught to learn that are not very fun. And though the teachers really try to make things joyful and fun and awesome, sometimes its just the structure in the system that makes it really hard. So rather than try to change things up in the system, I thought at least if kids have an experience at home with a parent; their kids most important teacher, they could experience learning in a very different way and just be empowered to love learning. So she changed career by having a warm hearted, genuine will to improve the way children learn. It’s exciting to realise that the motivation for her career change came from her authentic self as this is achievable for all of us.
It’s a brave leap that she took from feeling passionate about her cause, to physically creating prototypes, crowdfunding, marketing and selling her product. She doesn't appear to be fearful, quite the opposite in fact and at first I think perhaps she’s just got something superhuman going on. Then she let’s me in on her inside info; It definitely felt scary. One thing about having kids was that I wanted to teach them about things that felt scary. Things definitely feel scary but I'm just like this is what i want to do. Listening to her talking, I realise, as a mother I too want to be a great roll model to my little girl and teach her these valuable lessons in bravery and fearlessness. I realise that Lily isn’t superhuman, she is in fact very, very human. She is inspired to have courage so that her children will also have courage and pursue their passions. And to me that feels pretty honest and attainable.
Her business started with $8000 USD worth of crowdfunding to create that first Curiosity Pack. One thing I notice about the initial process is that much of the ideas generation, the creative development and the planning was done when her firstborn was around two and she was pregnant with her second child. She realised that the actioning of tasks was going to be made possible during nap time and in the evening provided that a template was already in place for the budget, design, marketing, production and suppliers etc. As you and I know, life with kids is hectic and it can be challenging to focus on anything other than their worlds so this wisdom to make planning a priority is a key takeaway for me.
With a great designer for a best friend and a network of teachers and families to sample the prototype, Lily used the resources and community around her to create and ship the first 200 products. Coming up to three years later and Lily says of those early days; The kickstarter was cool because there was a lot of momentum. They (the pledgers) gave the money and I promised the reward so I had to make them. Being accountable gave her momentum to get her business off the ground. I think even with the risk involved, just getting the work or the product out there and in front of people is essential. Then you’re part of something, making a contribution and you’re standing up and saying “I’m good enough and I can do this”.
Flash forward to now and she says it’s more about finding the right people for the products. Word of mouth and marketing seem to have become a focal point. It really is kind of word of mouth. I definitely experiment. It’s been a big experiment into what people are interested in and then having an email list and a blog. I think that’s a big part of growing my network, just having a blog. Where I’ll share articles or other people will share posts that I've written and then that gets people subscribing to my newsletter or saying what are the products here and clicking on this tab. And it’s also really fun writing blogs that are about learning. So marketing is one focal point but the main drive for Lily stays constant, her love of teaching. Years later, it’s the passion that keeps the fire for her business burning. In her own words, success continues to be defined by; Having kids that are excited to use my products. And for families, I want to make parent's jobs easier.
From where I’m standing Lily looks pretty successful, I would certainly model some of my own small business aspirations on her experience. She’s taken nap time and created a very meaningful enterprise for families to connect and grow to love learning. And the best part, everyday she is working at something she is passionate about. And isn’t that the dream?
Hi! Welcome to the blog, I hope it gives you some inspiration!
So recently I attended a workshop for Entrepreneurial Moms and I am today inspired to go live with this website. I am also inspired to start a new project that I have had in my mind for some time. It's a blog called While You Were Napping, I Made This and it's all about Moms who make things while their babies, toddlers or preschoolers are asleep. Because, well being honest that's what I do and I'd like to connect with other creatives who do the same.
A year and a bit ago, I moved to the US while pregnant. Part of my induction into society was to attend lots of childbirth and mothers groups. As a result I met moms, lots and lots of moms. What I found was that after hanging out with many of them for somewhere between two and six months, the majority of them peeled off and returned to full time work. The remaining group of friends were largely creative.
Listening to these friends talk about their personal struggles with identity as the result of not working full time while managing more fluid creative lives really resonated with me. These women, myself included were raising their children on a full time basis and also keeping their creative professions alive. And surprise surprise, the creative work took place during naps, early in the morning and late at night when the littles were sleeping.
Motherhood, as you know is one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, more than full time jobs available. We also know that it is a deeply fulfilling experience, that's what everyone talks about and is taken as a given. But it shocks me that within the context of motherhood and it's challenges, women are still producing exceptional work and oftentimes seeing it as a hobby or side project. Despite the limited time and energy of Moms, we are still managing to squeeze in the raising of our other babies, our creative work.
Talking to my friends I notice an ongoing theme that incredibly creative and inspiring work is being produced but it is not being recognised as legitimate or substantial. I for one, think that the work and the women ought to be celebrated! Not only because it is produced in exceptionally challenging circumstances but it is also awesome in it's own right. It is also rare for us to stand up and shout out our successes, especially as mothers who may feel guilty spending even one precious moment away from our children.
So I thought I'd write a blog about that and praise and celebrate creative moms!
If you'd like to be involved or profiled, please get in touch by clicking here!