cultivating a creative life: a mother’s influence

In honor of this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I would like to share about my own mother and the inspiration she has been to me.  She has been both mother and father to me and remained such a constant in my life.  She is my best friend and has been the biggest influence on who I am today, how I create and how I see the world.  As you can see from the photos below she is one classy lady, with a beautiful thick German accent.

mormor's-houseMy mother grew up in a small, beautiful village in Northern Germany.  Her father was an architect, started a printing company and was an avid art collector.  The home she grew up in was bombed during World War two, and when her father came back from being a prisoner of war, years later, he redesigned and fixed it up into a beautiful Estate where her family (as well as mine) shared many many fond memories together.  Growing up I spent all my summers at my grandparent’s home.  It was such a beautiful, warm, thoughtful home, with an extensive art, furniture, book and rug collection.  My Grandfather appreciated and understood the history behind everything, and it was there I experienced that a home could be so much more than just a place to live.  A home sets the tone for the people who live there, and creates an atmosphere where love and learning can abide.

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My grandfather taught my mother about Art, literature, and music.  She was the youngest of five, with three older sisters and a brother.  Her father would take her on long walks in the woods, where they would have in depth conversations about literature, and art and life.  This one on one time she spent with her father was so important and I believe helped carry her through some of her harder times in life.  My grandfather died when my mother was only 24 years old, and never got to meet any of her children, but he remains alive through her stories that she shares of him with us.

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My mother, like her father, has always been an appreciator and ambassador of the arts.  She instilled in us it’s importance and made it a part of our everyday life.  Ever since I can remember (I believe I was younger than Henrik), she would take me to classical concerts, Museums, International Cinema, and cultural events.  I remember going to see the movie  Jean de Florette with my mother as a little girl and what an impact that movie had on me, and still has.  I also looked just like the little girl, which I thought was pretty cool.  I think that is what good art does, it changes you, helps you to see differently and makes you a better person.  My mother didn’t believe in dumbing things down for children, and there was no right age to go to a concert or a museum, she would just take me.  She believed children should start young in their appreciation of the arts.

mormor's-house3My mother is always rearranging things in her home and creating little cozy nooks, like this one below.  I know that’s where I get my desire to rearrange furniture and make cozy nooks in my own home.  When I was little my mother and I would play a game together on our our walks with the dog.  We would rate homes in our surrounding neighborhood as cozy and not cozy, or gemuetlich and nicht gemuetlich.  The criteria was usually cozy lighting and seating, or whatever we thought would make it look cozy or not.  Even now when my husband and I tuck our children in bed at night we ask them if they are cozy/cuddly or kuschelich.  It’s a word we use often and is a necessity in our home to either feel kuschelich or gumuetlich at one or more times during the day.

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My mother is also the reason why I have such an enormous love for children’s books.  She has introduced me to most of my favorite illustrators like:  Lisbeth Zwerger, Ida Bohatta, Fritz Koch-Gotha, Sibylle v. Olfers, Elsa Beshow, Else Wenz-Vietor, and Walter Trier.  I could go on and on.  She has an enormous appreciation and passion for children’s books and has a huge collection.  Every time I think I have a lot of children’s books I go to my mother’s house and see her collection and am reminded what a real collection looks like.  She has so many beautiful books, some that are not in print anymore, and many still from her own childhood.  I love going in her room where she keeps her children’s books and looking through them, I always discover one I have never seen before.

mormor's-house5My mother has also inspired and maybe fostered my fabric hoarding tendencies.  As a little girl I remember going with her to a Westfalen fabric store in Muenster.  I remember  waiting, for what felt like hours, for her to pick out a fabric.  My mother would make most of my dresses, particularly in traditional German patterns.  In the 80′s, when everyone was wearing leg warmers and hot pink, I stood out like a sore thumb.

My mother and I still enjoy going to fabric stores together when we can.  Just the other day we found a beautiful large green fern fabric.  She had the brilliant idea to make a simple shift dress out of it.  I wasn’t going to buy the fabric but…when she had such a great idea I had to get it.  She is still fostering and encouraging my fabric hoarding and has quite a beautiful fabric collection herself.

mormor's-house6My love of blue and white has also come from my mother.  She looooooves blue and white. Almost everything in her house is blue and white, from her upholstery, to her dishes, to her backsplash and even her clothing.

My mother has taught me to take pride in yourself and make an effort in your appearance.  She has done this my whole life, I have never seen her wear a pair of sweat pants.  This is not because she is vain or is trying to impress someone else, it is because she has respect for herself and shows it in her dress.

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My mother is also one of the most well educated, well read people I know.  She is always telling me about a new book she has read.  Some of my favorite books are from her recommendations.  She reads a wide variety; whether it’s Goethe, Herman Hesse,  Art Books, a memoir of Roomy Schneider, or even the National Geographic.  She will read it and share with me what she liked and learned about it.  I love that about her.

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I had to share a photo of Resi, my mother’s beloved dachshund.  She is named after a children’s book called Waldi.  Resi is the obedient sister of Waldi.  I don’t believe any dachshund can be described as obedient, especially my mother’s Resi.

mormor's-house9Happy Mother’s Day Mormor, Mutti, Mama!  I love you!!!   You are intelligent, classy, wise, loving and kind.  Thank you for being my mother.

If you’d like to read some more creative ladies and their mothers’ influence check them out here:  Sarah Jane StudiosSycamore Street PressMer Mag and House that Lars built .

 

Comments

  1. Your mother is lovely! And I’m dying to see her book collection now….

  2. my… what a fantastic childhood. i loved reading every sentence… your mother sounds like such an inspiration.

  3. Pingback: My Mother’s Creative Influence « Sycamore Street Press

  4. Jessica:

    What a beautiful and thoughtful post! I wish I could be friends with your mother, she sounds so lovely.

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