My Auntie Mary was the first truly creative person in my life. Why is she so inspiring? In a time when it was not customary to be a woman making her own money, she opened her first art studio in downtown Boston in the 1940's . She displayed her paintings and ceramics and made a living off of selling her art. She owned her own home living alone with just her dog, supporting herself with no help from anyone else. As a little girl I remember running through the maze that was her backyard garden. It was filled with ceramic urns and wild flowers I didn't know the names of but knew they were much larger than me and along with the mint tree, smelled unbelievable! When she opened her home studio (a converted detached garage) to the public she would also have glorious garden parties!!
These are 2 of Auntie Mary's paintings, one of my Gram and one of my Great Grandmother
Just a few of her ceramic mushrooms. Its always great fun when I come across one at a flea market, most people don't know their worth!
Her attention to detail from the grass the mushroom grew on to the underside of a mushroom cap always impressed me and also taught me, the talent is in the small details!
It is truly remarkable to me that she had such a passion for her art and believed in herself to such a degree that she knew how to survive on just her creativeness. AMAZING! She found a niche in sculpting ceramic mushrooms which she sold at market and in her backyard studio. Long before Etsy, she was a trailblazer in indie art and self promotion. In her later years she was known as the "Mushroom Lady" as she would scour the fields by her house and than spend hours by the hot kiln in her basements studying each piece. With precise detail she would sculpt each mushroom to a true representation!
A picture of the Maravigna sisters. This is a basket of crepe paper flowers my Aunt Mary made, imagine the time it must have taken?! The little girl is my 91 year old Gram, so cute!
I was so incredibly lucky to have her as a role model. Whenever I feel like I could just give up on owning my business I think back to Auntie Mary and all that she endured in a time when it was not customary to be an unwed, creative woman supporting herself. She lived an AMAZING fulfilled life until the age of 107. Up until this time she lived in her house alone, supporting and taking care of herself. The secret she would say to living such a long Sicilian life? Red Wine, Garlic, Fresh Foods and of course living a creative passionate life.
Thanks for letting me share with you someone who inspired me from a young age and when you ever think living a creative life is hard and you want to give up think about all the advantages we have today! I think she would have just LOVED Etsy and our blogging community, I can see her inviting us all over for a "bloggers garden party" at her house!
Please pop back over to visit Victoria at Sfgirlbybay and the list of bloggers who have participated.
*additional note -My family has been so overwhelmed by the sweet comments left here. If you have any of my Aunt's mushrooms we would love if you would take a photo and email them to me. As much as you enjoy them we enjoy seeing them displayed in your own home! firstname.lastname@example.org! thanks