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An English Mum in New York...

Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves logo2013 has been an amazing year, and the final highlight was a wonderful trip to New York with my mum. Our mission was to take YOUR exhibition "Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves" to the wonderful Museum of Motherhood. What a trip!

We met some truly inspiring women in person that we'd been in touch with for a while via the wonderful world of the web.

First of all, the powerhouse that is Joy Rose, the force behind the Museum of Motherhood itself, and a passionate advocate for the study of motherhood.

introductory wall at Museum of MotherhoodJoy has created a unique and inspiring space - a thought-provoking and playful museum celebrating motherhood. The museum hosts a collection of permanent exhibits, touring art, history, inspiration and research resources.

So we're particularly thrilled to announce that Story of Mum: Making an Exhibition of Ourselves will stay up in the museum until March, featured as an interactive backdrop for their MOM Conference, as they liked it so much! Thank you all so much for your stories, your photos and your mash-up creations.

If you're in New York, do head over for a visit - the kids can play happily in the play area, while you're powerfully reminded of just how amazing us mums are. Next year, we'll be looking at ways that we can help to support their amazing work - in the meantime, you can donate here.

We launched the New York exhibition with a fabulous early evening event co-hosted by another very inspiring mama, Suzi Banks Baum of FeMail and Laundry Line Divine.

First up, Suzi shared some of her collage techniques with us all and we had a go at making Mama Mash-Ups in the style of the woman who first inspired us to make them! What a magical treat that was. You'll be able to see lots of new Mama Mash-Ups from this event online in the new year. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the event...

Femail Story of Mum Mash-Up at the Museum of Motherhood

Suzi is a warm vital creative spirit and it was wonderful to finally spend real face to face time with her and to meet some of the community she inspires.

Lori Landau compiling the communal mums' poem at the Museum of Motherhood

This included several of the wonderful writers featured in her book "An Anthology of Babes": Cheryl Paley, Joanne Tombrakos and Lori Landau.

It was incredibly affirming to sit in this precious space celebrating motherhood and hear all four women share their stories, as they read some of their writing from the anthology. And hilarious to hear Suzi's impressive chicken mimicry skills.

The lovely Lori then pulled the whole wonderful evening together to create a shared interpretation of our communal Mums' Poem, adding more words collected from visitors on the night.

You'll be able to watch a video of the poem-making here, as well as read the final version of the poem very soon...I'm a mum and a... photos at the Museum of Motherhood

We collected more I'm a Mum and a... photos and made some more beautiful Mama Mash-Ups at our Family Make Date later in the week. Here, we got to meet more wonderful virtual connections in real life like the very lovely Amy and her brilliant kids (we even made cootie-catchers!).

Story of Mum Family Make Date at the Museum of Motherhood

In between all this exhibition excitement, my mum and I got to explore New York together!

What a precious gift - child-free time to travel around a stunning city with no plans or deadlines, just each other. Limitless exploration, mischief and thrift-shop discovery...

My mum and I visited Tiffanys, saw the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, walked the High Line in the rain, ordered eggs over easy in a diner, ate pizza, burgers and bagels, rode the Staten Island Ferry, marvelled at Grand Central Station, felt overwhelmed by advertising in Times Square, and thrilled at snow landing on the Christmas trees lining the street.

We laughed, and talked, and delighted in every moment. We even met a very nice NYPD policeman.

It was a perfect and fitting end to this incredible exhibition tour.

Hosting this exhibition with you all has been such a privilege - a rare chance to connect with like-minded souls all over the world, to share and learn from each others' stories - and together, to capture what motherhood feels like right now.

We're so grateful to all of you involved in making the project happen.

Our next big adventure is hosting a real life Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall! We'd love you to join us, and so we have some very special offers and limited places (up until 5 January, so sign up quick!). You can find out more here.

The ultimate Christmas/New Year gift for a mama.

A very special offer! We're hosting a unique Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall in early 2014. Early bird prices available right now! SO give a very special place to a mama you love. Or even better, give one to yourself.

Join Story of Mum's very special Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall

You can find all the info here - we would so so so love you to come. Please take a peek and see if you can make your dreams, and ours, a reality in 2014!

There will be yoga, and creative workshops (no skills required), and good food and laughter,  There will be afternoon tea, cosy views of the sea,  time in nature, and time with new friends. Most of all, there will be time for you. Yes, YOU. Imagine that.

Sending much love out to you in this crazy holiday period, whether you celebrate Christmas or something else.

(PS if you do celebrate Christmas, make sure you print out your Bad Mummy Bingo card for the big day so we can all play along...)

See you in February we hope!

Creative Business-Mamas: Tara Florence

Our next Creative Business-Mamas interview is with a new business-mama friend, Tara Florence of Tara Florence Photography. Mother of two littles, Tara shares her leap of faith, and her dream of a stop-the-clock button...

Tara Florence photography

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words?

Productive, focussed and festive! 

What's the story of your creative business: when, how and WHY did you start it?

For years I’d been the go-to girl if any friends wanted photos taking. It was just a hobby but I truly relished any opportunity given to me to experiment and hone my skills.

When on maternity leave, I got some advice from a friend:

"Photograph everything Tara. They grow up so quickly, you’ll appreciate even the smallest things in years to come."

So I did. I also enrolled into a fantastic local photography class to improve my technique.

When the time came to decide whether I wanted to return to my full time job, I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my photography.

Since then things have just snowballed. Most of my work is booked through referrals and the next couple of years are looking really busy. 

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

If I’m in a particularly artistic mood, it’s so much fun to get the girls dressed up, set up a fab scene and get snapping away.  

Thankfully, they both seem to love having their photos taken and it’s a great way for me to get my creative juices flowing whilst capturing some beautiful memories of my little ones.

And the worst?

The worst thing is definitely not having enough hours in the day.

I like to dedicate my days to my girls, but when you know you having a wedding deadline looming and fifteen emails to respond to it can be difficult to prioritise. 

What was the most difficult day as a creative working mama?

Molly, my eldest, had been asking for a trip to the beach for weeks. When the day finally came, I’d received a last minute booking for a fantastic shoot - the original photographer was ill. It was such a dilemma. In the end the girls went alone with daddy but I managed to join them for the final hour after the shoot. 

Tara Florence photography

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?  

Follow your heart and go for it.

Work your business around your family and you can have the best of both worlds.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m starting a project in 2014 entitled ‘Beautiful Women’. I’m photographing a spectrum of women, all shapes and sizes and all beautiful and amazing in their own way.

My end goal is to create a coffee table book and showcase these fantastic women and their stories.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

A ‘stop the clock’ button, for those evenings when the girls have decided bedtime is over-rated and I have 500 photos to edit. Pretty please? 

Find out more about Tara over at her website.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Bad Mummy Bingo - Live Play!

Have you had one of those weekends? Well kick back and indulge in some Bad Mummy Bingo.

A gang of bad mummies (i.e. entirely normal mummies who feel like sometimes we get it wrong) got together on twitter last week to make our own bingo cards and play together at our monthly #somum Make Date.

It was hilarious. And very very reassuring.

When you bravely admit to some of the things you do that make you feel like a Bad Mummy, and in turn realise that many other mothers struggle just like you do... It feels good.

That's what happened to me this week on twitter. 

What is Bad Mummy Bingo?

Play Christmas Bad Mummy Bingo with storyofmum.com! #badmummybingo

I came up with Bad Mummy Bingo to amuse myself when I was having a particularly bad day. And it worked.

I made myself a bingo card with all the things that made me feel like I was a rubbish mum, and ticked them off. Instead of feeling like a failure, I started to giggle. And I saw that they weren't actually all that bad. They were normal.

Why play now?

The lead up to Christmas seemed the perfect time to celebrate our flaws together... so live twitter Bad Mummy Bingo was born!

Here's the Christmas Bad Mummy Bingo card I made especially for you... (download it for free to hide in the kitchen and giggle over on Christmas Day right here.)

So how did live Bad Mummy Bingo work on twitter?

Well, we first made our cards (you can join in any time and download your own free printable Bad Mummy Bingo Cards here,) and then shouted out things we had on our list. 

If someone else had that some Bad Mummy failing, they could cross it off. And we all got very close to a full house!

In the end, there could only be one winner, and that was the very lucky Rachel Annand.

She won this very classy hand-made trophy, accepting it on behalf of all of us...

Thank you Rachel ;)

You can still play!

If you missed the party, and you'd still like to play along, here's how.

1. Make your own bingo card, following the instructions here (or downloading and printing the free bingo card template)

2. Fill it in with things that you do (or have done...) that make you feel like a bad mummy.

3. Read through the storify below. If someone mentions something in a tweet that you have on your bingo card, cross it off... and let us know if you reach a full house!!

(you can keep us up to date on twitter too using #badmummybingo)

4. Upload your completed bingo card here (click on 'join in') so we can see how you did.

Messy Messy Housy Housy!

I'm also pinning this post to Monday's Parenting Pin-It Party to spread the love for bad mummies everywhere :) 

Mum Of One

 

 

Creative Business-Mamas: Poppy Treffry

The second in our series of interviews with creative businesswomen-mamas is with the hugely creative and inspiring Poppy Treffry. 

Poppy Treffry

Poppy's first baby was her popular business mixing freehand embroidery and quirky design to create everything from tea-cosies to stationary. She's also mother to a little girl so delicious you grin when you look at her...

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words?

Chilly, bit demented, busy.

What's your creative business?

I run a small company designing and making textile accessories for fashion and the home. I started it 10 years ago on a shoestring after being bossed about by a business advisor.

I was looking at my Christmas Party list this year and I have 16 people who have worked for me this year to invite!

best things about being a mum with a creative business?

The best things are being flexible, loving my work, and it keeping me sane. And my daughter loving spending time in my workshop.

And the worst? 

The worst things are doing complicated payroll and accounts things when you haven't slept properly for weeks...

What is the biggest challenge that you've faced and overcome as a creative working mama?

The biggest challenge has been finding time to actually be creative.

Having a littlun means I have worked less and all the other adminny things always come first. The time to design and just play slips very far down the priority list.

I am clawing that time back now she's at school though!

Poppy Treffry - sewing gift setWhat advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

If you're just starting a creative business then you really need to focus on the creative bit for as long as you can. It's that period of freedom and playing that will fuel you through all the rest of the 'running a business' jobs.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I'm working on some new tea towel designs inspired by St Ives where my new shop is. I've just done one really detailed design that combines loads of different sketches I've done over the years. And I'm about to start on one with lots of buxom swimmers on it and maybe one with pasties on! 

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

A couple of big customers who place big, uncomplicated orders, pay on time and love what we do!

Poppy Treffry team

Find out more about Poppy over at Poppy Treffry.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Come play Bad Mummy Bingo

Join us on twitter on Weds 11 December from 8.30 - 10pm UK time / 3.30 - 5pm EST (find your timezone here). We'll be making our own Bad Mummy Bingo Cards and attempting to play along...!

Use #somum to find us on twitter, and add it to your tweets so that we can find you.

Be warned: I am very jet-lagged having just returned from our fabulous trip to New York (see some pictures over on our Facebook page), so this may be a completely delightful disaster...

But here's the plan - we'll get together on twitter to do the following:

1. Either print off your own blank template to fill in from the Bad Mummy Bingo page here (if you click on 'read more' and scroll to the bottom of that page, you'll find it as a downloadable PDF - or you can just print the photo here really big) or simply doodle your own. Remember, it doesn't have to look professional - draw it, paint it, crayon it, just use whatever you have to hand.

2. Fill in the 12 circles on your bingo card with things you do (or have done, once, never to be repeated, cough cough....) that make you feel like a Bad Mummy. That's a lot, so if you get stuck thinking of things (I could personally fill several bingo cards, but I'm sure you are much less of a Bad Mummy than I am...), try giving your bingo card a theme - such as Bad Mummy things to do at Christmas, or linked to school, or when you have a teenager...

3. At the Make Date, we'll attempt to take turns sharing one Bad Mummy thing from our bingo card... If someone else shares a Bad Mummy thing that you have on your bingo card, you can cross it off.

I Am Normal - even when I win at Bad Mummy Bingo - badge from www.storyofmum.comAnd we'll see who gets to a full house and call out "Bad Mummy Bingo Full House" first!

At the moment, there's no actual prize other than the glory of being the Baddest Bad-Ass Mummy in the world and your printable Bad Mummy "I am Normal" badge, but...

...I have a plan, and if I have time to do it, there may yet be a superbly unique and rubbish prize. Hold your breath...!

Hope to see you to play later. And if you're wondering what on earth a #somum Make Date is, you can find out more here.

The gift of dance

In support of the launch of the Rainbow Way, this 'Creative Heritage' post celebrates the gift of movement from my beautiful inspiring mother for Lucy Pearce's carnival of Creative Women.

(Apologies, it has been rather hastily written between kiddy bedtime and leaving for New York, but I really wanted to join in so I'm slamming it up here anyway!)

Who taught you that you had the power to invent? To create? To be your own you?

I remember pretending to be a tree.  Walking like a giant, then a mouse, then running running running until a gang of children collapsed on the floor in my mum’s playful dance and drama classes.

I remember jumping from cushion to upturned rocking chair without touching the floor in our front room, kicking and waving and star-jumping off the rocking chair to Racey’s Lay your Love on Me and Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.

I remember sitting under a blanket, off sick from school, watching men and women in leotards leap beautifully, making lines across cold mirrored rooms at the Laban Centre, my hard-working mum waving them along, and waving up at me.

I remember where I learnt to love dance. Where I learnt to love moving in response to music. To start doing without judging. To explore creating a space with my body. To create  - movement, me in a space, joy.

Penny Best as a child, dancing!

This is my creative heritage. 

My mum was a dancer (that's her on the right). She still is.

I’ve never had a dancer’s body. I had a brief fling with ballet until I overheard the ballet teacher telling my mum that I couldn’t be in the Nutcracker because I was too fat. I don’t remember going back. But I didn't stop dancing.

Dance marks so many of the important chapters of my life. It was the only physical activity I enjoyed at school. From indie mosh-pits to Madchester to rave, I danced and danced to find myself. I wrote, and I danced.

On my 30th birthday, I won a dance like your dad contest – it was easy really, I just danced to a completely different tune in my head. Although funnily enough, my dad’s a pretty good dancer.

I was first attracted to my husband on the dancefloor. Now there’s a man with a sense of humour and masses of confidence in his own unique moves…! I love and still love that about him. He was so enthusiastic when we danced at our wedding 'first dance' that he pulled a muscle. Heroically, he carried on, just with a slightly tighter smile and less crazy leg movements...

Recently, I hosted a business-mums’ networking workshop. A woman I hadn’t met before arrived, and grinned delightedly as she saw me. “I’m so glad it’s you! I’ve danced next to you before, and you’re a great dancer. You love dancing, I know this will be good!” It was one of the most wonderful ways I have ever been greeted.

It felt like she had connected with my essence in some way, the creative bit that now is rarely shared as a mother who doesn’t get to go out and dance very often.

Now, I do zumba. Along with yoga, it's my precious time for me. You have to follow someone else’s moves, but the teacher creates a really supportive fun space and I love moving my body there. I grin the entire way through.

But it's when I dance my own steps, that I feel truly connected to me. I feel beautiful and free.

me and daughter dancing

It has to be the right space of course – a friendly one, not a preening one. I miss the days of losing myself in night clubs, but I don’t miss the performance.

The front room is fine. A party with friends is better. I used to go to a regular barefoot disco which I loved, and tried 5 Rhythms dancing once. One day I'll try a silent disco.

As a mother, it has become even more important to me to find those things that connect me to me. I am not a dancer, but I love to dance. And I love to create.

My mum continues to inspire me. Together we have created Story of Mum, this creative space for mums.

And the two of us are waltzing our way over to New York together tonight, to share our exhibition of mother's stories!

There is no dance in the exhibition, (at least, not yet!) but it is very much fuelled by that gift of creative heritage - by being given the tools to be free, that space to connect to my creative core.

I’m passing it on to you here, and on to my kids in front room discos and beach picnic parties. And I am so grateful to my beautiful dancing mother. 

I can't wait to spend 5 days in New York together! Find out more here and join our events at the Museum of Motherhood on Thursday 5 December, and Sunday 8 December.

And find out more about Lucy's wonderful book The Rainbow Way.

Join our Family Make Date in New York!

Join us 1-3pm on Sunday! British mother-daughter team Pippa and Penny Best of global mums’ community Story of Mum join the Museum of Motherhood’s Family Day to host a pop-up Family Make Date as part of their touring exhibition and events programme: Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves. 

Story of Mum Family Make Date at the Museum of Motherhood in NYC
Sunday December 8th from 1pm to 3pm.

The Family Make Date offers a rare chance to take some creative time out to explore your identity while your children play and get creative by your side. 

Add words to a giant communal mothers’ poem, hear other mothers’ stories, make your own Mama Mash-Up collage, have your “I’m a mom and a…” photo taken, and visit the Story of Mum exhibition with your family.

Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves draws on participatory creative activities to investigate identity:

25 short films from a diverse group of mothers describe the everyday joys and heart-breaking challenges of motherhood, each film connecting the next to a greater mothering narrative.

At each event, a wall of Mama Mash-Up collages are created by mothers to capture different aspects of our identities, inspired by the work of artist-mother Suzi Banks Baum.

Pat Kelman's photo of Story of Mum Make Date at Photographers Gallery LondonThe exhibition’s ever-growing communal mum poem has been guest curated by UK poets Hollie McNish, Sally Crabtree and Caroline Davies on the tour so far. Mothers also complete the sentence “I’m a mum and a…” for photographed portraits, including many collected by M.O.M. this year. Multi-taskers and dreamers, entrepreneurs and cleaners, taxi drivers and secret singers. What else are you?

Story of Mum is a community of creative mamas celebrating the ups and downs of motherhood and sharing their stories at www.storyofmum.com. Let’s play together at our Family Make Date.

If you know any mothers in New York, please let them know we're coming and we'd love to see them there! 

 

photo credits: Andra Alexander, Pat Kelman

Join us for a FeMail/Story of Mum Mash-Up Make Date!

Spend two hours making art and building sisterhood with online phenomenons Pippa and Penny Best of the Story of Mum in Great Britain and FeMail artist Suzi Banks Baum of the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. 

Join us for a FeMail and Story of Mum Mash-Up at the Museum of Motherhood in NYC: Thursday December 5th from 5 pm to 7 pm

Suzi Banks Baum of Laundry Line Divine and FeMail

When Laundry Line Divine blogger Suzi and Pippa Best, co-creator of Story of Mum, a vibrant online community of mothers (yes, that's us and YOU!) met on twitter, they created a bond through sharing their work with and for and as mothers through the arts online.

Suzi’s art inspired the Mama Mash-Ups of Story of Mum’s touring exhibition and events programme: Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves. With Story of Mum’s other half, Pippa’s mother Penny, a mighty collaboration has been forged.

Come make Mama Mash-Up postal art with these three dynamic fire-starters.

Learn some simple art techniques you can take home and help support the Museum of Motherhood by contributing to the art archive with a piece of mail art. In this workshop we will be making mail art to send as messages of hope to other mothers and creating a group poem.

Pat Kelman's photos of the Story of Mum Make Date at The Photographers' Gallery London 

The Museum of Motherhood is excited to host this art workshop and a inaugural reading of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice by several of the contributing authors, Cheryl Paley of Hoboken NJ, Joanne Tombrakos of Manhattan, NY and Lori Landau from Mahwah, NJ.

These mother artists will read stories from the book.

An Anthology of BabesThis special event, hosted in partnership with Laundry Line Divine and the Museum of Motherhood, also marks the New York launch of Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves, Story of Mum’s exhibition and events programme from Thursday 5 December to Sunday 8 December at M.O.M.

Join www.storyofmum.com’s community of creative mamas in New York to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood, share your own story, hear moving words from the mouths of wonderful mother-writers, and make an exhibition of yourself on and offline....

If you know any mothers in New York, please let them know we're coming and we'd love to see them there! 

 

Image credits: Suzi Banks Baum, Pat Kelman

Story of Mum: Moms Making an Exhibition of Ourselves

We've found the perfect home for our inspirational exhibition tour this December in New York’s The Museum of Motherhood, a unique education and exhibition centre dedicated to the exploration of family. In New York. Did we mention we're going to NEW YORK!!?

Story of Mum's exhibition comes to New York's Museum of Motherhood

In case you don't know already... Story of Mum is a community of creative mamas celebrating the ups and downs of motherhood and sharing our stories here at www.storyofmum.com. Our tour, Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves, visits New York from Thursday 5 December to Sunday 8 December, with M.O.M. hosting an exciting programme of participatory events. 

What's happening when?

Mama Mash-Up by Suzi Banks BaumOn Thursday from 5pm to 7pm, visionary FeMail artist Suzi Banks Baum joins Story of Mum to present an evening of Femail Mama Mash-Up art-making alongside readings from writers Cheryl Paley, Joanne Tombrakos and Lori Landau from Suzi’s powerful book: An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

Led by some truly inspiring mothers, this hands-on workshop launches the exhibition and offers a unique chance to get creative (even if you think you’re not), exploring our identity within a global community of mothers.

On Sunday from 1pm to 3pm, Story of Mum joins the Museum of Motherhood’s Family Day for a pop-up Family Make Date. Bring your kids to play and add your own voice to the exhibition...

What's this exhibition thing?

Pat Kelman's photographs of the Story of Mum Make Date at the Photographers' Gallery, LondonStory of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves draws on participatory creative activities to investigate identity:

25 short films from a diverse group of mothers describe the everyday joys and heart-breaking challenges of motherhood, each film connecting the next to a greater mothering narrative.

At each event, a wall of Mama Mash-Up collages are created by mothers to capture different aspects of our identities, inspired by the work of artist-mother Suzi Banks Baum.

The exhibition’s ever-growing communal mum poem has been guest curated by UK poets Hollie McNish, Sally Crabtree and Caroline Davies on the tour so far. Mothers also complete the sentence “I’m a mum and a…” for photographed portraits, including many collected by M.O.M. this year. Multi-taskers and dreamers, entrepreneurs and cleaners, taxi drivers and secret singers. What else are you?

Pat Kelman's photographs of Story of Mum Make Date at The Photographers' GalleryCreativity can connect us deeply to who we are and what we want. And sharing our stories reminds us that all mothers are different, the same, and amazing. 

Visitors to Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves have described the experience as stimulating, entertaining, thought-provoking and beautiful. They felt proud, humbled, exhilarated, joyful, inspired and honoured, their opinion of motherhood changed: ‘I have a new respect and awe for my own mum and mums everywhere’; ‘I’d disconnected with how I felt about motherhood. This event and project reconnected me’.

Join www.storyofmum.com’s community of creative mamas in New York to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood, share your own story, and make an exhibition of yourself on and offline.

If you know any mothers in New York, please let them know we're coming and we'd love to see them there! 


Image credits: Suzi Banks Baum, Pat Kelman

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