Peta Morris is a deep thinking artist, educator and founder of The Kid Creative – a small art school that engages & nurtures students, encouraging them to explore & investigate the world around them through a creative process.
*Join us to hear Peta Morris and photo-media artist Anne Zahalka talk about their experience of creative practice and motherhood at our next Mother Artist Forum this Thursday September 24th at 6pm at Manly Art Gallery.
Being a Mother Artist is not all or nothing. If you are unable to create work for 6 months you haven’t stopped being an artist. Throw out the guidebooks, they are process inhibitors.
I feel my creative practice is stronger than its ever been, but ironically I am not creating work at the moment and that’s ok. My disruptions were in the first 2 years of edie’s life. I had post natal depression which I think stemmed from Edie’s inability to sleep well and that was an incredibly tough time, physically and emotionally. I went into a creative sink hole which I think made the depression worse. After this I began creating again and exhibiting at a pace that suited me. I have a very supportive husband and without him, I know It would have been impossible for me to achieve the things I have creatively, since we had Edie.
I am always trying to create ways around how to make it work and that in itself becomes part of the creative process. The day to day mundane stuff gets in the way. I’d rather be in the studio than folding this washing right now and I have to be careful not to fall into resenting it at times. But I learned from my father who was a single carer dad, working full time with two girls, (age 14 and 6), that organisation is key, if I don’t have a plan the wheels are likely to fall off. That said if I could have 30 hours in the day, I would be happy and when I get extra time I grab it and run with it as fast as I can.
This morning edie and I were working on a little art piece for her piano teacher. We were enthusiastically getting into the process when my husband reminds us that school starts in five minutes! (we live next door luckily).
Edie is 7, when she was younger I was really aware of allowing her to find her own way with creative learning. I would supply the materials and let her explore. I was really aware that I did not want to interfere with this process because she may not like it or have an interest and it’s important that we allow our children to find their own interests even if we may not share them. As it turns out she loves both art and the sciences and the older she has become, the more we work alongside one another. I am a teacher and Edie attends my classes, that dynamic however is more challenging than us spending time working alongside each other creating.
I catch myself out at times when I start entertaining thoughts that because I haven’t shown any work in a while that somehow my identity as an artist is lacking or not credible. I then try to laugh out because really who wrote the rule book on “what makes you an artist”?