This is a conversation between Kari Radasch, Elizabeth “Beth” Robinson, and me, Leanne McClurg Cambric, who documented it. We all are working artists and moms of young kids, who graduated from high-profile masters programs in the early 2000s and have had a running fifteen-year dialogue about our struggles to balance our personal and professional lives. Even finding time for a conversation like this one was a challenge, as we live in three different time zones.
Kari: Most of the time I’d pay ten dollars for ten minutes [of kid-watching]!
Beth: I was finally able to find someone really great for ten dollars per hour. It's awesome. I’m hoping it will help take enough stupid stuff off my plate so that I can actually make pots again with regularity.
Leanne: Are we trying to be twenty-four-hour women? Artist, mom, wife, educator, intellectual, and still stunningly good-looking in our forties?
Did you two have a role model for being an artist and a mom? I had short interactions with several people in the field over many years but other than my mother, I can’t think of anyone significant—except for Lisa Orr. Seeing her balance motherhood and professionalism was a turning point for me. Through her, I finally had a flashlight and could see the road ahead, and I stopped hearing the voice that said, “You must choose between being successful in the field or being a mom.”
Beth: Lisa Orr was one of the first people I called when I got pregnant and was trying to puzzle out what this whole life-as-an-artist-with-a-child thing might look like for me. She was one of the only people I knew personally in the field who had both a career and a young family. Her advice helped me realize, among other things, it wouldn’t be a good idea to schedule a workshop a month after the baby was supposed to be born. Seeing her in action during Art of the Pot the year before I was pregnant helped put motherhood in the context of an active maker....