Cat Hope is an accomplished Perth based musician, composer, songwriter, sound and performance artist whose practice is an interdisciplinary one that crosses over into film, video, performance and installation. She works as a researcher at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and is a Feature Artist in the current issue of BIG Kids Magazine Art of falling. Mother to Luke (now 10) and Jazmine (now 23) Cat shares some thoughts about her experience of navigating motherhood together with her arts practice.
Being a mother artist is just being like any other mother who does what they love. You bring your children in when its right, you try to carve time out for the things you have to do alone. You have some flexibility and imagination that other mothers who work may not have. You have the fortune to be able to live creativity with your children, not just to show them.
Bravery is taking risks, without even thinking about it.
Imagination is leading ideas in
Generosity is not thinking about what happens to you when you give.
On one hand, you could say becoming a mother limits your practice, because you have to take time away to do the things your children or family want to do. Yet this also provides you will a space that you may not have taken otherwise. So, it disrupts, provides, enhances, limits but more than anything, it enables you to reflect, and gives you a special kind of empathy with other parents.
There are moments when you have an idea you can’t act on, because of some parenting responsibility….but you learn that being a mother is worth these kinds of small losses.
I am still a night person…there was a period where I was writing very quiet songs, when my oldest was little. I only had the evenings and the house was small….
I have included my children in my work in different ways. They have designed album covers for me, performed in my pieces or pieces I was organising to be performed. They have sung on my records.
The needs of children change all the time. So, my relationship to them and their needs also change. But one thing remains – unless you outlive them, they are always your children and you always feel that connection….Being a mother provides you with special challenges. My daughters father passed away 2 years ago, when she was 21. This was a very difficult time for our family and it was a situation where I felt very alone as a mother.
I think its important to involve your children in your life, not provide them with completely separate ‘children’s’ lives, or or cut them out of the core of your own. They want to see you happy, and doing what you love. This is a special gift, artists are very good at giving.