143: Maintaining a Sense of Self as an Artist and a Caregiver with Tara Carpenter Estrada, Kate Windley and Hannah Foster

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
143: Maintaining a Sense of Self as an Artist and a Caregiver with Tara Carpenter Estrada, Kate Windley and Hannah Foster

How do we maintain our sense of self and our boundaries with the intense demands of caregiving alongside our passions for our art practices? We explore these ideas in a meaningful discussion with the curator of the Together/Alone exhibition at Stay Home Gallery and two of the artists from the show. I hope you will take a moment to slow down and absorb the wisdom shared by curator Tara Carpenter Estrada and artists Hannah Foster and Kate Windley – both of whom care for people with disabilities alongside their studio work.

Tara shares her vision for the exhibition, and how her call for submissions asked how people express the tension within caregiving of never being alone yet feeling the conflicting sense of loneliness within caregiving. Kate Windley approaches these ideas in work rooted in the personal experience caring for her son with disabilities. The work on view in the show is a coat made from urine bags, material that is a necessary part of her son’s care. She explains how she finds power in taking something people can feel is negative, but through turning it into something wearable it expresses an acceptance. Hannah Foster cares for people with disabilities in her day job and discusses how this leads to an acceptance of “slow art” made on its own timescale and how her work more subtly tackles ideas of trauma as a result of caregiving.

In my own life, I’m newly pondering my identity as I finish up the first year of having all three of my children in school, and seeing how I value slowness in my daily life with my newfound time. I pose the question to the group about how to navigate identity alongside such demanding caregiving responsibilities. Kate shares how her ability to make work is tied to other’s ability to care for her son, and how crucial it is for her own health that she is wise about the people she surrounds herself with. Hannah shares how being able to have a sense of control over her own response to the needs of others is crucial in caring for herself, and ultimately supportive her ability to care for others. Tara reminds us all that acceptance of the ebbs and flows of what we are able to accomplish in the studio because of the demands of life  is always so important.

I’m so grateful for all the artists that Tara brought into the gallery space for the Together/Alone exhibition and for our past collaboration on the An Artist and A Mother book published through Demeter Press. These questions of isolation and the impact of caregiving on caregivers are so important, and Hannah and Kate’s wisdom is so valuable. I hope you have a lot to ponder after listening to this episode, and as a result you tune into your own needs and how important it is that we don’t lose sight of caring for ourselves.

Final Five Kate: 

Biggest Art Crush: Janine Antoni 

Dream Trip: Mountains of North Carolina

Film or book: William Blake Versus the World 

Favorite meal: Sandwiches (to allow more studio time)

Shoutout: Her son’s teacher, Jamie Marshall

To see more of Kate’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @kate_windley

Final Five Hannah: 

Biggest Art Crush: Marina Abromovic and Wayne White

Dream Trip: Alaska

Film or book: The Thing

Favorite meal: Roast with potatoes

Shoutout: Partner, Nate

To see more of Hannah’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @hr_foster

Final Five Tara: 

Biggest Art Crush: Kathryn Newsom

Dream Trip: Italy and the Alps

Film or book: Cate B…(?)

Favorite meal: Anything with Paneer in it

Shoutout: Husband, Nick Estrada

To see more of Tara’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @taracarpenterestrada

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Kate’s images:

Urine Bag Jacket, Silkscreen on cotton, original surface design (silkscreen of medical equipment in the lining), 15 x 20 inches, 2022

Dirt Suit, Self-Portrait in Dirt Power Suit,  Linen and Georgia Red Clay  (2022) 

What I Could Do For You, Graphite on Watercolor Paper, 2017, 30” x 40” 

Tara’s images:

Evie and Emily at Stay Home, digital painting

Devotion, 9×4’ installation, painted paper collage on brown paper sacks

It’s a Party, Gouache and colored pencil on board, 10″x11”

Hannah’s images:

Baby Driver, mixed media, 2018

Installation shot of solo exhibition, Zoller Gallery at Penn State University, 2019

For Mil, fabric, collage, found objects, 2022

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