What is it that enables you to work? Childcare, family, a partner, the children’s father or something else? Please explain.
After my first son was born, shortly after I completed my MFA in Sculpture from Brooklyn College, my husband (a tattooer) and I decided to pack up and leave Brooklyn to buy a house with a home studio in Cleveland, OH. My parents also decided to move back to be near us and now live two blocks away. With my husband also being an artist, we always make sure we each get time and space to work and now that my kids are a little older and not completely dependent on me, I bring them to my parent’s home a few hours here and there to work. however, for the most part, the entire front of our house is my home studio/playroom, which is where most of the art making takes place. We created our life around the essential need for me to be home with my children and in turn, my work and motherhood coincide.
Has your work been influenced by being a mother? How so?
My current work would not exist if I didn’t become a mother. My work has always reflected on my “lived experience” and motherhood being one of the most profound experiences in a woman’s life- it has shaped the person I am today as well as my body of work.
Can you describe a normal workday?
My 2 year old wakes me up to nurse, he falls back asleep, I go let our two pets, a pig and a dog, out, make coffee, check my e-mails & Instagram, work in the studio and/or read and do research. My boys come down and we then hang out in the back and make breakfast- dad goes to work and after lunch, I nurse the little one and put him down for a nap and work in the studio while the big one watches some shows or plays in the back. After dinner tub time and nursing to sleep, I hang with dad on the couch and work on a large scaled crocheted work I’ve been working on for over 3 years. Give or take- that is my 5 days a week “workday”. There are also lots of walks and gardening and cooking and reading to my boys in there too!
What needs to happen to make it easier for mothers to work within the arts?
For me, once I learned that becoming a mother was becoming a whole new person, I learned to let go and follow my children’s needs. Life became much easier and I was able to value my “mothering”. I was able to make my work because I wasn’t trying to fit my children into my life as an artist- I worked within the context of motherhood and that shaped my body of work into something I never knew existed.
What would you have done differently knowing what you know now?
I should have listened to my oldest baby and slowed down instead of trying to keep up with the world I once was in. As a mother, I am thankful I am an artist and have a way to convey my lived experiences by creating artifacts. My professor once told me- It’s always better to be at the beach, thinking about being in the studio then being in the studio and thinking of being at the beach. In my case- I created my life to have both!
Madison Omahne (Madison Hendry Married name) lives and works in her vintage home and studio space in Cleveland, OH with her husband, 2 boys Angus and Huckleberry, and their dog and pig. Madison graduated with honors with her MFA in Sculpture from Brooklyn College in 2011 and went on to become a certified Breastfeeding Educator in 2018. She has exhibited work internationally, including being showcased in Project AfterBirth; the first international exhibition based on early parenthood.