Creative Moms & Daughters

by Liesl Russell

Interview with Heather Bailey (continued)



6. How did your mom inspire you to create while you were growing up?

My mother has many talents, including writing, sewing, quilting, knitting and party-planning. When my siblings and I were young, Mom put aside many of her hobbies to focus on her children. I always felt she went too far in giving up these things for a time, and I was thrilled when I saw her sneak in some time for creativity. I still remember the first time I saw my mother knit. I was eight years old. By her swift work, I knew she had enjoyed knitting when she was younger. I was mesmerized.


When I was small, my mother poured her creativity mainly into her children's birthday parties and into Halloween costumes. No theme was too challenging for my mom. From an engineered dragon suit to a six-foot-tall, foam Gumby to Strawberry Shortcake, from Marie Antoinette to Miss Piggy, my mom's work won every costume contest. For birthdays, it was the same. Mom would design and sculpt a cake to match our chosen theme for each birthday. My brother's pirate-ship cake is a page in family history, sharks, gangplank and all.


As her children became teenagers, Mom embraced sewing again. She applied her skills to prom dresses, home decor and quilting. My mother's allowing herself to once again indulge in personal creative pursuits had a lifelong effect on me and on our relationship. I saw my own reflection in my mother's enthusiasm for creativity. In discussing sewing, quilting and knitting, we became friends.


7. What creative project do you remember doing with your mom for the first time, and how did it turn out?

My mother taught me to crochet on a family vacation to Lake Tahoe when I was eight. Dad left our car for an errand. By the time he returned to the car, my Barbie had a new skirt-and I was hooked!


8. Is your creative style similar to or different from your mom's?

While our styles are quite different, our standards are the same. It's my mother who taught me how to properly match corners on a quilt and how to patiently re-sew a seam that had been poorly made. She taught me to value a project well polished. As a result, I now habitually apply this same high standard to all of my own work, whether it's a sewn project or a surface design or a craft item.


9. What kinds of creative things do you and your mom enjoy doing together?

As a woman now raising my own family, I'm fortunate to live near my mother and to continue the camaraderie we enjoy in making beautiful things. We regularly share new tips and techniques, and we give each other feedback on our projects. Although our creative interests may vary, where they overlap we have fun comparing notes. I am blessed that my mother valued my creative interests when I was young-and lavishly praised those silly, paper shoes.



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