Up until the time my daughter turned three, I was operating under the guise of "Sculptor Mom". I had a BFA in Sculpture/Fibers and was running my first professional studio in The Phil Mechanic of Asheville's River Arts District. Since graduating in 1999, I was creating large scale fabric art theatrical sets, installations, and a ridiculous giant whale weaving. Clothing was something I was commissioned by friends for burning man costumes or I designed for myself to perform in theatrical settings like the Fringe Fest.
Late into an all-nighter, as my daughter lay nesting in a pile of fabrics in my studio; I noticed the struggle of scale and space that I was experiencing. The studio was basically split down the middle with sculpting materials. One half from floor to vaulted ceiling was stacked with forms, ideas, potential mixed media materials and the other half was the rumblings of a clothing line. That night I decided I would move out the wire, twines, rope, yarns, beads, tape,wood structures, armatures and make room for a focus, fashion design.
Her nest blossomed into a loft, then a sleeper sofa as I built studio after studio growing into my designer jeans and returning to the creative dreams of my youth. Peeling back the years of formal art education until I was 10 again- cutting up 60s prom dresses that my grandma would bring home for me- staging fashion shows with my two younger sisters. I was still that girl, but now I had a college education and some life experience under my belt.
What a curvy, windy road this last decade has been, but I wouldn't change a stitch of it. She is learning to sew, has picked up fashion design like a fish to water. When indecision strikes I let her decide the color, material or cut to solve the problem. My little model is growing up sew quickly, now selfies and makeup are figuring into the equation. I promise myself I will not force her to work in "the House" of ARTeries and she has joked that she would call it "ARTeries by Cantona".
My daughter is tuning 12 this weekend, and of course I see the reflection of myself in her youth, and yes everyone says "she looks like your mini me." The deeper truth of this story is that I chose to become a fashion designer to be successful for us. I had to choose the path that would allow me to live my creative dreams, help me achieve financially stability, and be an example for her. I am a proud mom, and now I strive to make her proud of me both as a mom and professionally as a Fashion Designer.