Amelia’s Magazine | Mother’s Art: Celebrating Women Everywhere for Mothering Sunday

The Virgin of Guadalupe 2- Lally MacBeth
A week ago I posted an open brief to produce artwork inspired by women for Mothering Sunday (celebrated in the UK this weekend). Here are the wonderful results: thanks so much to everyone who took part. If you fancy getting involved there will be another open brief posted soon. In the meantime… enjoy, and make sure you spoil your mum this Sunday.

The Virgin of Guadalupe 4- Lally MacBeth
The Virgin of Guadalupe by Lally MacBeth.
My work almost always uses self-portraiture, exploring the many facets of women and their experience through characters and clothing. This series of photographs was inspired by The Virgin of Guadalupe and her role in Mexican culture as a mother, saint and icon. I have long been fascinated by the representation of saints in paintings and sculpture, in particular their ‘caring eyes’ and the strength they seem to exude. In these images I wanted to expand on this interest by looking at the archetypical mother figure, exploring what it is that draws people to The Virgin of Guadalupe and why it is that she has been such an enduring icon. I drew inspiration from the religious cards available in cathedrals and the poses of devotional sculptures.

BreakingThrough-Jenny Kadis
Breaking Through by Jenny Kadis.
When I read that Mothering Sunday was once associated with breaking fast by eating pie I immediately thought of a line from the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” – “when the pie was broken, the birds began to sing” – which seemed to be a great metaphor for womens’ global endeavor to break through the glass ceiling.  I often illustrate birds and so they seemed the perfect way in which to represent women breaking free from constraints and striving upwards towards achievement.  

Mother's who Work for their Families- Cressida Knapp
Mothers who work for their families, by Cressida Knapp.
When I was growing up I had a stay at home dad, and a mum who went to work. She would leave the house at 7am and be home twelve hours later. So whenever Mother’s Day came around we would try and spoil her, turning the house into a ‘love shack’, full of freshly picked flowers and sweet treats. Millions of women across the globe are the breadwinners for their families, and these women are my inspiration. I use watercolour to make my images, and nearly always use the first drawings as they have a loose, idiosyncratic look. I then scan the images into my cranky old Mac, and play around with them like a collage. I work fairly quickly, usually at night and always accompanied by some fantasy, sci-fi, or thriller audio book playing in the background, and my dog Sparky sleeping at my feet.

Elephant Tea Party by Carly Watts.
Elephants are known to be compassionate and familial creatures; they are also one of my favourite animals! When I first read the brief, I knew I wanted to create a scene involving a little elephant family and I chose to feature a mother and daughter enjoying a small tea party together out in the wilds. I love these gentle creatures and am always astounded by the bond they share within their family groups, I think they’re the perfect animal to represent Mother’s Day.

Yellow Cathedral_Kat Hassan_LR_Amelia'smagazine
Yellow Cathedral by Kat Hassan.
During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church, the main church or cathedral of the area, for a service to be held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Later it became a day that children and servants could return to their mother church to see family and would pick wild flowers along the way. My piece is a collage of images I’ve developed from drawings of Bath cathedral and flowers. I was interested in seeing how the strong graphic lines combine with the pretty shapes.

Woman in flowers by Karina Järv
Woman in flowers by Karina Jarv
For me every woman is a flower…
No matter what clothes you wear (studded leather jackets or chiffon dress), or style of music you listen, or book you read before sleep, you are a flower! This spring me and my mother found very nice Crocuses in the flower shop, they inspired me to create this artwork. Of course I couldn’t forget Mimosa flowers – the best known flowers in the beginning of the spring in Russia.

Kirsty Greenwood's Sedna-small
Sedna by Kirsty Greenwood.
Sedna is an illustration inspired by the Inuit creation myth of Sedna, Mother of the Sea – responsible for the life sustaining bounty of the Arctic Ocean. The story is a disturbing one in which Sedna, after falling overboard, has her fingers beaten and chopped off (which turn into whales, walruses and seals) by her father as she tries to climb back on board while they are both fleeing from the evil raven she was married off to by her father for a dowry of fish, as he pursues them after she escaped his confinement with the help of her father, who is now terrified and willing to sacrifice his only daughter for his own safety. This story fascinates me, and I feel encompasses the nurturing gift and sacrifice of mothers worldwide.

Nadine Z.R., 'Audrey Hepburn, a Tribute'
Ms.Hepburn by Nadine ZR.
In my attempt to express the limitless beauty of Ms. Hepburn, I drew her form (and that of her pet fawn, Pip) with a line that is both simple and soft – each an inherent quality of this lady. Her pose is one of my favourites, inspired from a fishing scene in the film Funny Face, whereby I place Ms Hepburn under a hail of pirouetting tulip tree blossoms (one of which conveniently adorns her hat). A tulip tree and a tulip are actually two different species of plant, but each illustrates both Ms Hepburn’s wonderfully delicate recital of a poem in another film, Two for the Road (featuring a tulip tree), as well as her preferred flower, the Dutch tulip. Audrey Hepburn is, in my eyes, what too many people are not, and because of this she herself is a blossom who should remain eternally respected.

Wietske Claessen-mother-of-all- birds
Mother of all Birds by Wietske Claessen
We all come from a Mother, who feeds us, takes care of us,loves us with her mother-instinct which she got from Mother earth,  she takes care and nurtures us to let us become who we are, to let us grow , to make the circle go round and so we can also become a Mother in all kinds of ways for everybody around us.

Vaso Michailidou_Joan
Joan Baez by Vaso Michailidou
This is an illustration of Joan Baez, folk musician, social activist, pacifist and all around legend. Produced with pencil, felt-tip pens and painted on Photoshop. She is an inspiration. Someone who used their art in a powerful way, to say important things and motivate people to protest for change. A brave, beautiful lady. I loved working on this and now I think I will be doing a ‘female legend’ related piece for every March to come. There’s millions! But my mom’s next.

Being a Mother by Gilly Rochester
Being a Mother by Gilly Rochester.
Qing is on the right, my incredible daughter-in-law since December. She is with her mum and grandmother in her rural hometown Borzhou – a centre for plant-growing for Chinese medicine and her family’s business, hence the flowers. I based the illustration on 2 photos Qing sent, taken at Chinese New Year 2014, having no idea then (or when we visited China last April) that by August my son & Qing would be living in London (nor they). I accepted that they would be in China for the foreseeable future but was feeling decidedly quakey and bereft. I haven’t met Qing’s mum and granny, I hope I do one day, but they are very much in my thoughts especially now, as although Qing is now back in China for visa reasons, she will be returning to London in May; and they will be bereft. It’s such a difficult thing to do.

True affection_oda valle
True Affection by Oda Valle.
My name is Oda Valle and I am a Norwegian illustrator. I illustrate for magazines and various clients around the world which I love. Screen printing is my latest passion in life. I spend most of my time drawing, listening to indie rock music, drinking my coffee and I dream of going back to New York City. I always bring my ink pens and my music headphones with me wherever I go. Quirky beauty, eccentric people and nature landscapes inspires me. At the moment I´m drawing owls and guinea fowls. I love the shapes and colors of their feathers. I am greatful to my mother for giving me life. I got my creative skills from her.

Categories ,Carly Watts, ,Cressida Knapp, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Jenny Kadis, ,Joan Baez, ,Karina Jarv, ,Kat Hassan, ,Kirsty Greenwood, ,Lally MacBeth, ,Mother of all Birds, ,Mother of the Sea, ,Mother’s Day, ,Mothering Sunday, ,Nadine ZR, ,Oda Valle, ,Sedna, ,Squid Stew, ,The Virgin of Guadalupe, ,Vaso Michailidou, ,Wietske Claessen

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Amelia’s Magazine | Joana Serrat: Dear Great Canyon, an interview and review

Joana Serrat by youdesignme iIlustration

Joana Serrat by youdesignme Illustration.

Singer songwriter Joana Serrat hails from Spain, where she has carefully crafted her stunning debut album, produced by Howard Bilerman and inspired by the songs of the American heartland via a sojourn in Ireland. Last Friday I managed to scamper out of the house to catch her half hour live set at Rough Trade East just before toddler bedtime, and was left suitably impressed by this diminutive Spanish lady.

Joana Serrat 2014-Rough Trade East live gig, photography by Amelia Gregory

Joana Serrat, Rough Trade East live gig, photography by Amelia Gregory.

Dear Great Canyon is a stunning album of carefully paced extremes: lilting lullabies interspersed with upbeat melodies. It opens with the elegiac Flowers on the Hillside, Joana’s faint Spanish accent the only indicator that this tune was crafted far from the Mid West. In The Blizzard Joana talks about the ‘shattering silence’ of heartbreak, her voice breaking in emotion against the richly orchestrated backdrop, with slide guitar becoming ever more prominent in Green Grass, an upbeat tune that sees Joana in more optimistic mood. After the brief 50s influenced wooziness of Stop Feelin’ Blue, So Clear is a rollicking paen to getting on with things. Summer on the Beach lulls the listener with Moogish noodlings, followed by another highlight – the Cold of the desert which is the setting for metaphors of the heart. The Wanderer narrates the tale of a magnetic dancer, and The Secret returns yet again to wild landscapes. The album draws to a close with the drifting strains of Yellow Rider, rootsy Place Called Home and piano driven Came Out of the Blue.

Joana Serrat by Natalie Burton

Joana Serrat by Natalie Burton.

Dear Great Canyon proves that location is of little importance in our globalised society, where we are as likely to be influenced by far off musicians as those on home soil. Here Joana Serrat describes how she came to fall in love with the folk music of distant lands, and how one email made her dreams come true.

Although you grew up in Barcelona your sound has been very much influenced by Americana, what were your favorite records when you first discovered music?
I used to listen to Neil Young a lot; I got into his music when I was 13 I think. I got into him because I found his Unplugged album at my Dad’s music shelves and really loved it. After that I went into Sleep with Angels and it became one of my favorite albums for years. I used to play My Heart on the piano, which I learned by listening to it. I would say Neil is my essence.

I must say when I was a child my mum used to play me on vinyl the records of a Catalan singer-songwriter named Xesco Boix who had traveled to States and came back to Catalunya under the influence of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, which he had seen live in shows. He took traditional Catalan songs and some American songs too and went all over the schools to play those songs to children. I would say this is my first influence on music. I loved his voice, he calmed me down and made me feel I was not alone. So when I listened to Neil I recognized that feeling and it happened the same when I got into Bob’s records. I immediately felt attracted to his sound at the age of 22 and they made such a deep impact that I assumed I would write songs.
Joana Serrat by David Giménez

Joana Serrat by David Giménez.

What Spanish groups did you also listen to, and did any of these have any influence on your burgeoning sensibility?
I started to listen to Partido, McEnroe and Pajaro Sunrise two years ago, but I have never got that into Spanish bands.
What took you to Dublin, and what was your favorite bit about life in Ireland?
I went to Dublin because I needed a change in my life. I thought that perhaps everything in my life had come because of inertia and routine so I needed to check if I was able to have it for my own. I really felt the need to change my role in the family, and needed to put space between me and my life at that moment. I felt I first had to know myself better and get to understand me before introducing myself to others. I needed to find out who I was, what music meant for me. I came back more secure in myself, with knowledge and the certainty I had grown up and had matured.
I was lucky that I had a job in a wine bar and my life developed around the store and the people who worked in there. The crew was so cool, we really got on so well with each other, and we were like a family. I started to sing and lost my fears about my voice and my songs at some of the barbecues we used to have.
Joana Serrat by Amelia Gossman

Joana Serrat by Amelia Gossman.

When you start to write a song what kind of mood or situation suits you best?
I would say it’s easy for me to write when I feel sad or blue. Most of my songs were written in that mood but with Dear Great Canyon I learned to write from another kind of mood, wanting to make songs that tell a story. I still use my life and my experiences to write a song. I need my experiences, my feelings and emotions so I can compose. In that way I have a kind of dependence on my life. But I am happy I started to move away from sadness. I think it’s kinda dangerous to get dependent on sadness to create (whatever it is: music, painting, literature, etc…) It could ruin your personal life without you being conscious of it (in a Freudian way I mean).

Joana Serrat by Alicia Aguilera

Joana Serrat by Alicia Aguilera.

Where do you live at present, and what keeps you there?
I live in Vic were I was born. I came back here a year ago because my partner and I wanted a quiet life in the country. We were living in Barcelona before that but I love this land, its landscapes. Having said that I would really love to live abroad too.

How did you find and approach your producer?
I love his work with Wolf Parade, Basia Bulat and Vic Chesnutt and I was thrilled with the The Wooden Sky‘s Every Child a Daughter, Every Sun a Moon album that Howard Bilerman produced. So I decided to email him and attached 4 track demos. I asked him if he wanted to help me to make a dream come true, which was to record an album with him and he answered half an hour later saying ‘I love to make dreams come true’.  I wept when read it.

Joana Serrat by Jane Young

Joana Serrat by Jane Young.

What was the process of recording this album like? I hear much of it was recorded live…
Howard and I were talking a lot about the sound of the album. I gave him a lot of references of bands, songs and sounds I liked. I really insisted on the textures the songs must have. So he decided to record the album on tape live. It was great. Such an incredible experience. I had never recorded like that or had the chance to record properly. I mean, it was my first time that I had to think about nothing but the recording. It was amazing. At the same time it was very easy to work with him. He would be seated at the control desk, listening carefully. He is not interventionist at all. I see him as a song hunter. He catches the best perform of the song.

Where can fans see you this year in the UK?
We are playing in Liverpool soon and on August 16th at Jabberwocky Festival, London.

What next for Joana Serrat?
I wish to grow as a musician, as a performer, as a singer-songwriter and I really wish to play in a lot of places. I guess these things are what every artist wish, aren’t they? I would also really like to record an EP of new songs to be released at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.

Joana Serrat Dear Great Canyon album cover

Dear Great Canyon by Joana Serrat is released on April 7th 2014 on the El Segell del Primavera label.

Categories ,Alicia Aguilera, ,Amelia Gossman, ,Amelia Grace Illustration, ,barcelona, ,Basia Bulat, ,Bob Dylan, ,Came Out of the Blue, ,Catalonia, ,Catalunya, ,Cold, ,David Giménez, ,Dear Great Canyon, ,El Segell del Primavera, ,Every Child a Daughter Every Sun a Moon, ,Flowers on the Hillside, ,Green Grass, ,Howard Bilerman, ,Jabberwocky Festival, ,Jane Young, ,Joan Baez, ,McEnroe, ,My Heart, ,Neil Young, ,Pajaro Sunrise, ,Partido, ,Pete Seeger, ,Place Called Home, ,review, ,Rough Trade East, ,Sleep with Angels, ,So Clear, ,spain, ,Stop Feelin’ Blue, ,Summer on the Beach, ,The Blizzard, ,The Secret, ,The Wanderer, ,The Wooden Sky, ,Unplugged, ,Vic, ,Vic Chesnutt, ,Wolf Parade, ,Xesco Boix, ,Yellow Rider, ,youdesignme

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