Today's Renaissance Mom is an artist I've been following online since Kelli Stuart and I began writing Life Creative two years ago! This sweet lady's pretty little squares on Instagram kept us going when we wondered if this messy blend of motherhood and creativity really held any gospel influence at all.
Of course, the answer is a resounding, YES IT DOES! Read on.
You are sure to love this Bible-bound artist as much as we do. And, perhaps, you'll find yourself inspired to fit your own God-given creativity into the practical places of family life.
God did a good job when He created you creative and then made you a mom!
Welcome Melissa Fischer! I often talk about "Creative Crushes" and you're one of mine.
1) Please start by introducing yourself to us.
Absolutely. I'm Melissa Fischer, artist behind Fischtales... and Fischtale Designs. I live right outside of Memphis TN., in a little town called Oakland. My husband Scott and I have two pretty awesome kids named Ella and Elias. My little ones are now 12 and 10 - and oh how the time is flying by with them! I have been blessed from the beginning to have the opportunity to stay home with them. Its not always easy financially but I work in between school hours now giving me the chance to catch field trips, class parties, and stay home with them when they are sick. Being a stay at home mom has its challenges, but I wouldn't have done it any other way.
2) At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. What did your creativity look before motherhood? And what shape does it take today?
I was always a creative child, but pretty shy. I clammed up in the spotlight and I think that is still true a bit today. I didn't take any art classes until my Senior year in high school and I kind of bloomed there but never thought about going to college to major in art. My grandmother was very stern with me one day, and told me that I was going to college for art. After a small argument back and forth (mostly about how artists don't make any money) I lost and she took me to the University of Memphis to meet with a mentor to start my degree in Graphic Design. I LOVED every minute of it!! So, I can say my grandmother was right, LOL!
I got married my senior year in college and three years later had my first baby, Ella. I stayed at home with her and struggled with finding time for me and my art, but I found little outlets here and there to create. I was one of those mother's that created the ultimate birthdays, and my kids loved it! They still talk about them to this day. It was a way to create for them and me... it was too much fun.
Slowly I started painting again and sold hand painted canvases at art shows and online for awhile. It was a challenge but I will never forget working on orders with my children playing at my feet or coloring beside me (and a few times having to start over again because someone took a crayon to a custom canvas). Now, both of my children are in school full time and I try to find a new balance with work and family. I have more creative work time during the day but there are still challenges. My children love that I work from home, they understand that not every family gets that chance...so we know that is truly a blessing.
3) In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out time to create in your busy days?
The days now look different than they did a few years back. When my kids were little it was very hard to balance having a small business and finding time to create and I am sure there were many times I did it wrong. There were many melt downs and tears as I tried to fill orders some nights but I tried to find balance to make everyone happy. It can be difficult to not loose your own passions while taking care of your greatest passions in the world, your children.
Today I try to shut work down when I leave to pick up kids from school and I try not to work on the weekends. There are times that I find it creeping into family time and I try to stop and remind myself that I need to time manage my days better to change that. Don't get me wrong, I do not have it all figured out! I have always struggled with balance, and mommy guilt. There are times it's hard to get everything done in the day, especially when you're a one-woman show running a business.
4) Our creativity can be one of the many vehicles through which we respond to God's Great Commission call on our lives. How has He given you opportunity to share His love with others through your creative gifts? In your home… your local communities… and even out into the world via the internet.
I have found a great need on social media for positive and inspirational posts. People really are longing for a positive message in a dark world. I get the chance to share my paintings and watercolors on instagram on a daily basis. Sometimes it's paintings in my bible, other times it's s a sketch I threw down on paper, but most of the time it is inspired by scripture or something I feel God is leading me to share with others. What a blessing to share - spreading light instead of negativity on the Internet. But it is also a big responsibility.
5) We spend our days caring for “our beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?
One day I hope to have a large studio space again to run my small business out of. I had a small studio space in our little starter home where I worked - my children had a little space to be with me and create along side of me. When we moved three years ago I gave that up to have a bigger house and yard, and now I work out of a small walk in closet. Don't get me wrong, it works in this season... but I dream of a big beautiful studio with light flooding in. Large tables covered in art supplies and my kids running in and out! One day that will happen, but I am learning to be content and feel blessed that we had the opportunity to move in the first place.
6) Share with us one of your “creative crushes.”
I adore Ruth Simons from Gracelaced on Instagram. Her heart for God is contagious when you read her posts each day. She makes you want to strive to be a better mom and see the beautiful in every day life. She has to be my number one "creative crush".
7) If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?
Don't believe there is a perfect balance. It is always a juggling act and no one has a one-size-fits-all formula. There may be some moms on social media that look like they have it all together - but no one has it completely figured out. Life as a stay at home (creative) mom is beautiful, hard and messy sometimes. But I do believe that you can love and honor your family with your time and attention, while still finding time for yourself. If you don't... it is very easy to loose yourself. I believe my heart needs nurturing just like every other person in my family.
8) Where can we find more of your work and connect with you online?
You can find me on instagram under "Fischtales" and "Fischtale Designs"
I am also on etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/ruthonesixteen
Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to remind us that our nurturing is paramount too. There's so much mommy-guilt when it comes to self-care, even soul-care. But you are absolutely right, we're simply another heart within our home in need of TLC.
And thank you for taking the time to paint this inspired piece of art in the pages of our new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom.
We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own Life Creative.
Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, "Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business."Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!