What is your name?
Rana Salame Striedinger
Where are you from?
I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. My family moved to the USA in 1986 during the Lebanese Civil war, which displaced nearly a million people. I grew up in the South side of Dearborn, Michigan, in a yellow duplex with my grandparents, parents, and cousins. My grandparents farmed on a plot of land next to our home.
Where do you live?
I currently live in Anderson, Indiana, in an 1895 farmhouse surrounded by woods and gardens, with my husband Nathan and our 17-month daughter Lulu Pearl.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
I have always known I wanted to do something creative. I was constantly trying to find the right creative fit; I have several unfinished journals, paintings, and works of art. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties when I knew I wanted to be a jewelry maker or as I call myself, Quartz Curator.
Who influenced you as an artist?
People in general, other artists, musicians, reflections; my influence is all around. My favorite artist is most likely nature.
What is your favorite medium?
Gemstones, gold, silver, brass & photography, all tie for first place.
Do you have a studio? Where is it?
My studio is on the second floor of my house. It was the first room we refinished, in our not-very refinished creaky old home. I have created art in almost every room and all around, so my studio isn’t always limited to four walls.
When did you become a mother?
October, 2012. Although, I did consider myself a mother to a few of four-legged fur balls that came before Lulu.
What are your challenges as a mother artist?
Finding the time to do more and a bit of anxiety about it all. I spend my hours between 7am-7pm mostly being mommy, domestic duties, a sprinkling of office work for my position as workshops & event coordinator for Homespun: Modern Handmade, mixed in with getting some studio time and really just trying to be mom. It is impossible to find time to do it all in one day, that’s why I am ok with not.
What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist?
I find that the only way to balance it all is to not feel guilty about the way you balance it. It is ok to work on emails or earrings while my daughter looks through books or watches an episode of clubhouse. I do as much as I can to benefit her throughout the day, but I understand she benefits from independent time as well.
When do you spend time making art?
If I want to make sure I have full focus with no interruptions (which are welcomed if Lulu is awake), I try to focus my art time to her sleeping time. I do sometimes work in my studio or on projects while she is awake, however some things I do are too dangerous for babies, perhaps when she is older.
How many children do you have? Do you want more?
Lulu is our first and only. We may think about another someday, but as of now we are happy as we are.
Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother?
Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art?
Yes, I have the most wonderful love, support and encouragement from both my family and friends. I am truly blessed and grateful to have such an amazing bunch of people in my life.
Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist?
Sometimes I feel that people expect my work to be cheaper or free, simply because I am an artist. I have not felt that adding the word mother has changed it one-way or the other. Artists usually have to work harder to be taken seriously, unless they are of course within a community that thrives on creativity and design.
Has becoming a mother influenced your art?
I do often consider someone yanking on my jewelry and making sure it holds up to toddler handling. She has also greatly added to my inspiration and joy, so yes..
Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?
I can see several sides to this question. I see why we are and I see why we may not be. It depends who you ask. There are people who don’t take artists seriously, there are those who don’t take mothers seriously, and there are those that do. I want to give people the benefit by saying that when I see other mother artists I feel empowered, stronger, braver, and inspired, so I would hope that’s how society views us.
What do you say when someone asks “what does your husband do for a living?” are you offended by such a question?
I say, “he is a web developer for a company based in Chicago, he telecommutes from home.” I then talk about his company a bit and the platform they specialize in. I am never offended, I feel questions are the only way to get information and if someone is asking me they would like more information about my life and I don’t assume otherwise, unless of course their response after that is ignorant.
What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions?
Once I stopped thinking of them as two separate things, I found balance. I am passionate about creating art in many forms and have created the most masterful piece of all, a child. That may sound cliché but I am grateful for both. A life without passion and love would be a miserable existence.
What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions regardless of their situation?
I suppose the same thing that I was told about my birthing plan, it may have to change and you will just have to relax and go with it to ensure the best outcome. I suppose this applies to life in general, but it just makes sense being a new mom. Creating will come, and when you do create, make sure you are doing it with all your heart.
What is your story?
I’m a lover, a dreamer, and perhaps a bit naive at times, but lets just call it optimistic and inquisitive. I made the choice some years ago to keep growing, learning and exploring. I happened upon jewelry making after a very difficult time in my life, my husband, then boyfriend at the time, noticed that I wasn’t making any art and signed me up for a jewelry making class at the local art center (we were living in Chicago).I was handed a torch and pointed toward a vat of acid and some heavy machinery, needless to say I was intrigued. The shiny sparkly gemstones were the closer on the deal and I was hooked. I learned some things through research, trial and error and lots of video tutorials.I listen more, see more, and do more than I ever have before. With another life to care for, I want to show her how to live a meaningful and loving life, to be accepting and open minded, to pursue her passions, to constantly educate and challenge herself.
What do you want to be remembered for as an artist?
I want to be remembered for helping make the world a more beautiful place. It brings me great joy to see people wear my jewelry and smile. I have been told that my jewelry evokes emotion, all of which are positive.
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