The handmade parent is a series of interviews with parents who have an art/craft business or passion. The series will explore how the artist/crafter manages their family and their creative passion while promoting their work.
Kidoinfo: Briefly tell us about yourself, your family, and your art or craft.
Maeve: I’m a Vietnamese Irish American visual artist and creative services professional living in Rhode Island. A few years a go I sold my Yoga studio to make more time to dedicate to art, family, and my marketing business. I grew up and went to art school in Rhode Island (R
ISD), then bopped around Europe and the Caribbean for a long while, dabbling in languages, jewelry, puppets, tattoo and piercing, living in a tent on the beach, studying Yoga and painting murals and signs for the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Organization, getting back to my roots in Asia, and then moving back home to Rhode Island, where I ran into and married my childhood sweetheart. We started a creative services studio (web, print, illustration, photography, marketing), got married in Las Vegas, and had a beautiful girl named Mirabel. My husband and I are also both fine artists and are currently collaborating on a series of paintings for a children’s book based on a story told by our 4 year old daughter. Life is good.
Kidoinfo: When did you begin your art/craft?
Maeve: I have been practicing art since I was very young and have explored many different styles and artistic mediums over the years. A few years ago, I bought a professional model Epson printer that allows me to create fine art (giclee) prints with archival inks on museum quality paper. I turned some of my illustrations into prints and started selling them on Etsy.
Kidoinfo: Is your art part of your business or do you hold another job in addition to your artistic work?
Maeve: My fine art is a separate business from my commercial art and creative services business. I get to be creative in both jobs, which I like, but eventually, I would like find more time to dedicate to my fine art.
Kidoinfo: When do you find time to make your art/craft?
Maeve: My personal art comes after family and work, so it’s often hard to find the time. Now that my husband and I are collaborating on a specific project, I think it will help to keep me working some fine art more regularly.
Kidoinfo: What prompted you to choose your art medium?
Maeve: When I was at RISD, I started as a printmaking major, but became frustrated because I didn’t have the technical skills to do the type of prints I wanted to do, so I switched my major to illustration in order to become more practiced at drawing and painting. I then focused on puppet animation as my main concentration. It was only a few years ago that I started to explore printmaking again.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to become an artist?
Maeve: I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t do art. We have seven kids in my family and I was always referred to as ‘the artist’. When I was young, I used to look at the art books in my dad’s study. I was especially drawn to Michelangelo.
Kidoinfo: Where do you find your inspiration?
Maeve: I am strongly influenced by my asian heritage and perhaps more subtly by my pursuit of a peaceful, spiritual, and simple life.
Kidoinfo: How do you promote your art?
Maeve: I have a website (queenmaeve.com), I post some images on my facebook page, and I have an etsy shop. Honestly, I haven’t been able to spend much time promoting my art in the past few years. I am always surprised when someone purchases my prints on-line. Etsy is really amazing. I ship prints all over the world.
Kidoinfo: How has having a family impacted your work?
Maeve: Now that my daughter is a little older (4 years) it’s a little easier to find time. Now she will draw on her own piece of paper instead of having to draw on the one I am drawing on.
Kidoinfo: How do you work around your children?
Maeve: I do just that. I work around my daughter. She is usually right there when I am drawing. She has an art table in our family room, where she can paint, draw, and craft whenever she wants to. We have a chalkboard wall that she can always draw on, and every room in our little house has an area where we can draw or hang artwork that we are working on. My husband has his painting studio in the basement and she will often sit with him and paint while he paints.
Kidoinfo: What sparks your creativity? How do you keep focused once in “the creative zone?”
Maeve: I am lucky to be married to an artist. Both my family and my husband’s family are filled with visual and performing artists. It makes it easier when everyone around you always wants to talk about art. My sister lives in New York City, so we go in often to see the galleries and museums.
Kidoinfo: How do you find time to accomplish everything?
Maeve: I don’t.
Kidoinfo: When do you make time for your art?
Maeve: What do you like to do in your “spare” time for just yourself (read, garden, travel, run, etc.)? We have a vegetable garden in our front yard. Right now I’m really into running, reading books with my daughter, and hiking.
Kidoinfo: Give us one random fact about yourself or your family – relevant or not.
Maeve: I am currently on the executive board for a non-profit organization, Parent Partners, that provides one-to-one mentoring for parents from lower incomes or recently immigrated. Experienced parents help new parents to define their dreams, set goals and create a road map to success. The program is currently in Newport and we will be bringing it to the East Bay in the Fall. The website will be launched this month: parentpartnersri.org. Please visit the website and let us know if you would like to participate either through donations, ideas, mentoring or refer a family.
Kidoinfo: How do you support the handmade community? What are your favorite local handmade venues?
Maeve: I buy toys and dolls on Etsy. Muse is a great jewelry store in Warren that has wonderful handmade jewelry from local artists.
Kidoinfo: What was the last handmade item you made?
Maeve: Mirabel and I recently sewed a doll together and we had lots of fun with all sorts of easter crafts to give to family.
Kidoinfo: Where can we find your art?
Maeve: My etsy store is mirabel.etsy.com you can find a link to my etsy store on my website queenmaeve.com. There are some examples of my commercial illustration and photography on my website, namistudios.com.
Linda Cox Demers moved to Barrington from Chicago with her husband and her two boys, ages 13 and 8. She runs her handbag and accessories business, à la mode, from home and has recently discovered a passion for blogging. As an independent designer, Linda enjoys promoting local artists and the “buy handmade” movement. Visit Linda’s blog at www.alamodestuffblog.com