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Today we have a guest post from our friend Amelia Furman, owner and artist at Amelia Furman Mixed Media. Amelia has developed her own style of art which is both super creative and beautiful, and she's the mom of two very active boys (which makes her even more near and dear to my heart)! She creates original pieces, some geared for kids and some pretty amazing landscape pieces in her unique style. For more examples of her work, please visit her site. And she has given our readers a special 20% discount! Use code 20MADEINAPINCH at checkout.
Motherhood changes everything. Everything. How you sleep (or don’t sleep), how you interact with your spouse and your friends, how you care for your home, how you eat, and how you work. I’m an artist by trade, so my work is actually done in my home studio. From day one, my two boys have been involved in my art making process. In the beginning it was a matter of necessity, but it has moved to a voluntary act that brings great joy for all three of us.
I remember sitting in my studio rocking Ethan (my eldest) in his bouncer while I painted. During those early months, I created many a painting that way. When Ethan was able to move around and get into trouble, I would give him papers and collage materials to tear apart while I created collage layouts. The trick was putting the important papers I wanted to use for a panel out of reach. Ethan also loves painting and would be furious with me when I wouldn’t let him use my paint (acrylics and oils), so I made sure he had a set of his own that he could use when I was able to help him. I taught him how to mixed colors, clean his brushes and even how to use splatter techniques (why, oh why, did I do that!!)
When Lucas came around three years after Ethan, art making became even more difficult, but I found myself doing the same bouncer rocking while painting and collage material sharing that I did with Ethan. One of Lucas’s favorite helping jobs in the studio is running to the printer to snatch up collage materials and run them to mommy. He smiles with pride as he delivers each print out. “Here you go, mommy.” It might be a small task, but it is big to Lucas.
Along with in-studio inclusion, Ethan and Lucas also come along for photo reference collection. We do family hikes while I shoot pictures with my camera. Family adventures combined with artistic expression. The boys know that mommy will eventually catch up after she gets her perfect shot.
These days, Ethan will sneak into my studio during quiet time and sit and play legos while I paint. He’s not necessarily participating in the art process when he does this, but he is observing his mother at work and that has an impact on him. I will ask him what he thinks about my paintings and I will excitedly show him my latest works. I think this helps him appreciate the time I spend doing art as opposed to resenting it.
As the boys grow and mature, I’ve pondered how to further involve them in my art making. Panel preparation through gessoing boards (Ethan will love this), collage tearing and cutting, and maybe even website work. Man, oh, man, would l love that!
Watching my boys help in their own way and having them involved in my process has changed me in ways I can’t even explain fully. I’m so thankful for the chance to share my work with them and I hope that someday they will look back on their mother’s work and treasure the part they got to play.
How do you involve your children in your work, as a professional or a homemaker? Share your ideas!
I grew up in rural, central Pennsylvania amidst pastoral scenes of farms, fields, and forests. Nature has captured my attention for as long as I can remember. Visual arts were also a dominant force in my life from an early age. After graduating with a degree in visual art from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2003, I began to explore how I could use paint to express my love of the natural world.
My background in printmaking and illustration has heavily influenced the direction of my work. I work in a combination of paper collage, text and thin layers of acrylic paint. Using a selection of documents, vintage images, handwritten text, and symbols associated with the painted image, I remind the viewer that places and objects have many layers of meaning, memory, and beauty.
My work is displayed throughout the United States in traditional and non-traditional venues and my work can be found in private collections nationwide. I call Loveland, Colorado home and live with my (amazing) husband and two sons (they are pretty great too).