“Creativity is adaptation, is discovering, is unearthing; and motherhood is all that. It is seeking within the self how to evolve with the situations that life offers.“
1. Describe your current family situation
I live with my partner and our two children, a little girl on the verge of turning seven years old and a sweet boy of three. Our family also consists of Água and Mungo, the dogs (and at the moment their newborn puppies!) and Batata, the cat.
We live on a hectare of land, in a stone house handbuilt by us. We are at the top of a beautiful mountain and the horizon is our nearest neighbour.
2. In your eyes, what does ‘creativity’ mean and why is it important to you?
Creativity is touch and feel and imagination and future smiles on faces I haven’t yet met. Creativity is being open to the flow, to the opening of a channel. To me, creativity manifests in everchanging forms: I have felt creative since I can remember and this river always takes me in different directions, not always new forms or means, but I tend to alternate between a few quite often.
Creating is indeed a need, I simply cannot see myself not doing it, it is something intrinsic in me, it has been my livelihood ever since I left my parents’ home.
3. How do you carve out time and space within family life for your creative practice?
Family life is very intense and can have a very overwhelming feeling, especially when you’ve just became a mum. I remember struggling to find moments when I could just relax and create my jewellery (the art that occupied my heart and hands back then), in the times after the birth of my daughter.
As time moved on, I learned to integrate the kids in my creativity. So sometimes I invite them to sit with me and make something together. And I have taught my daughter the complex art of interweaving thin copper wire into fine jewellery. In parallel, she has already learned how to knot macrame, taught by my partner.
In the present moment, I am dedicating much of my creative time to knitting. While I knit inside, my son often accompanies me sitting besides me and colouring in or drawing and making his own art.
However I try to bring creativity closer to my family and expose my children to many different artistic means, I often put them to sleep and indulge in the quietness and total dedication only possible when there is no one else around!
4. What kind of creative activities do you feel drawn to again and again?
I dive deep into making jewellery (my technique of choice is viking knit), hand sewing, natural dyeing, knitting, writing. Sometimes I add some leatherwork and woodwork to the mix. Oh and lots of gardening!
5. How do you get inspiration flowing when you feel stuck?
I change it up! I skip happily to the next creative outlet available at my hand’s reach.
6. In what ways do you sabotage your own creative life?
For a long time I didn’t settle down into one creative art form, and that was an impediment to refine and extend the experimentation beyond my known limits. It was enriching to dedicate myself to only one of them for almost five years, like I did until one year ago. And it also culminated in a huge explosion of artistic tentacles spreading in many directions!
7. Who or what are your creative allies or mentors?
The world around me is my muse. I breathe inspiration in from the landscape before my eyes, the laughter of my children, my partner’s silly jokes, the colours of the trees in the distance and the way they dance in the wind. I feel the whole nature is my ally, as I get inspired sometimes by a simple leaf or a smell.
If I should mention an inspiring artist, who never ceases to bring a sensation of awe everytime I see her work, I leave here my profound admiration for India Flint.
8. How would you describe the relationship between your creativity and your mothering?
My creativity and my mothering walk hand in hand, they have grown together. They are two sides of the same coin. I feel mothering is actually also a deeply creative part of my life. Creativity is adaptation, is discovering, is unearthing; and motherhood is all that. It is seeking within the self how to evolve with the situations that life offers.
9. To what extent does your creative work generate a financial income for your family? How does this reality compare to your aspirations around this?
I was an early starter, in terms of creating objects. I clearly remember being about 9 years old, sitting at my grandma’s house, making bobbin lace and watching TV at the same time (if you’re accustomed with bobbin lace, you’ll know it’s a very complex and fine type of lace involving dozens of hanging pieces of wood wrapped in thin lace thread and an even greater amount of pins; it’s quite impressive to make bobbin lace ‘music’ without looking).
When I left my parents’ home, it was already my creative work that provided my financial income, as I was making purses and handbags at that time. Some years later, I was creating full costumes for theatre and contemporary circus, and that was my income. Fast forwarding a few years ahead, I was creating knitted pieces and selling them at markets. And soon after that I was making beautiful viking knit copper jewellery.
So I have relied on my creativity as income for the last two decades. Sometimes it is not the most stable financial activity, but it gives me freedom to create and to direct my energy to the arts that bring most pleasure at any given time!
10. What would you say to a mother who is struggling to express herself in the midst of her family commitments?
I would say: It’s OK to feel overwhelmed! It’s normal to feel the days swift by with no time for yourself. The time for your own expression will soon arrive, trust me.
I remember feeling time escaping between my fingers and all I could manage during days in a row was to feed my family and care for the daily routines. And when my second child was born, I even felt I had so much time before!! But then the kids grew and demanded less constant attention and care and I started to find small moments and slots when I could focus on my creative works. It will happen to you! And don’t worry too much, cherish the present moment and live it fully, as your precious babies will only be this small now!
11. Big yourself up, sister – share your current / most exciting projects, web and social media links:
Ah! For the last few weeks I have been knitting a l-o-t! I’m in the midst of making a bathing suit from linen, cotton and silk, but my more exciting knitting project is a tshirt (almost finished now) made from nettle and muga silk, it is gorgeous and a dream to behold! My knitting projects can be found here. (Ravelry.com requires you to create an account to view other profiles but is meant to be a treasure trove for anyone interested in working with fibres)
Some time ago, I started to imagine a line of hand sewn garments made from all natural fibres and dyed with plants. This project is slowly building up and you can find it here: urzeclothing.com/.
In the midst of all this, my jewellery is a bit set aside, but I plan to take it on again pretty soon.
In the meanwhile, you can check out an old and not really updated page here: RaizVioleta. The greatest of my creative achievements and my most exciting one, I cannot show here. That is my whole life and how I always try to explore the hardships from a positive point of view, in this way creating the reality I want to experience.
Young was the year of 1981 when I was born. I grew up immersed in books and dreams, backyards and paintings, cats and dogs, the sea and the mountain.
Determined to become a writer, I studied with passion. At the moment of choosing a university path, I opted for International Relations, envisioning an inquisitive and open future for the world, based on cooperation.
For several years I entered into the world of work, first at a newspaper, then at a computer technology enterprise. At the same time, my creativity was channeled to artisanship in the areas of sewing, embroidery, crocheting, knitting and metal work.
From there sprouted a new focus of interest in personal and professional realization. I reevaluated past and present, faced the future and changed my life, dedicating my time to the creation of handmade treasures.
By the time of my 30th winter, I had found love and discovered myself bearing life, which launched me into a new and powerful inner revolution. I am now a mother, artisan, free thinker and explorer of old ways.