Whether they're getting crafty with a daring new design project, finding new ways to add a pinch of fun to everyday meals, or simply encouraging the pursuit of artistic happiness, moms inspire creativity in many ways. There's a universal bond between mother and child, each entity feeding off the other's energy, and this unbreakable relationship that's ignited by unconditional love makes for the greatest catalyst for creativity.
In honor of Mother's Day, we wanted to celebrate a variety of projects by, with, and for moms who foster the power of creative action–those who have inspired their children to dive into the arts and those whose love for their family has allowed them to embark on a creative journey of their own.
Collaborations by Ruth Oosterman and 3-year-old Eve
Ruth Oosterman found an unusual artistic collaborator–her 3-year-old daughter, Eve. Together, they produce beautiful works of art that display both the vibrant, unrestrained creativity of a child and intricate details that could only be done by a talented artist. The tag-team style paintings are often started by Eve who doodles on paper with a pen or paint. Then Oosterman takes the lead, transforming the abstract marks into animals, landscapes, or portraits. With both of their contributions visible, the results reinforce the idea that two heads are better than one.
Family portraits by Lisa HollowayLisa Holloway is a self-taught fine art photographer who uses her 10 children as models to create breathtaking composites that feature the genuine, unique personalties of each child. Balancing her time between the kids and a photography business, she focuses her camera on capturing her offspring's true expressions within touching images. “My family has so many different strengths, interests, talents, and personalities,” Holloway says. “No one is ever lonely, and my home is never dull or boring. The house is filled with laughter, love, and good energy.”
Upsee by Debby Elnatan
Debby Elnatan had a dream to for her son to experience greater mobility, and so the Upsee was born. Rotem has cerebral palsy, a condition which effects motor skills, muscle tone and posture; doctors told Elnatan that her son would never be aware of his own legs. Elnatan needed a more efficient way to help Rotem get around and thought up this ingenious device to assist his movement. An adult wears the Upsee around their waist as the child wears a harness, and both parties share sandals that allow the grownup to guide the feet of the little one. Though it may seem like a simple invention, this device makes a huge difference to kids suffering from neuromuscular disorders, and it all started with a loving Mom who dreamed of a better life for her child.
(See more: Website)
Food art by Samantha Lee
Malaysian mother Samantha Lee proves that creativity can happen anywhere–even on your plate. In 2008, after the arrival of her youngest daughter, she started creating adorable food art for her eldest by cutting up bread, fruits, and veggies and arranging them in playfully whimsical compositions. Disney characters, Harry Potter, and Charlie Brown have all been immortalized in food form, to a great response from her kids. “I was very lucky and blessed that my creations never failed to impress my elder daughter and it made her looked forward to the next meal,” Lee wrote. “Now, she has her little sister fighting over which character they should get during mealtime. It makes meal time extremely fun.”
(See more: Instagram)
Mother Daughter by Carra Sykes
Carra Sykes, a photographer, graphic designer, and artist from North Carolina, has created an amazing series of photos that focuses on the dynamics between her and her mother, Marti. Inspired by her “uncle always joking with my mom and asking her if she is wearing my clothes,” the series forms an adorable juxtaposition that show's the similarities and differences between the tight-knit pair. It's not only an extremely fun series, but also shows an intimate look into the strong mother-daughter bond.
Sons with farm animals portraits by Elena Shumilova
Russian photographer and mother of two boys Elena Shumilova creates heartwarming images of her sons interacting with various animals on their farm, such as dogs, rabbits, and cats. The touching shots seem to be taken from the pages of a fairy-tale where animal sidekicks are necessary additions. Her photos of these little guys and their furry, feathered, and fluffy companions in the beautiful, rural landscape tell a captivating story of love.
Napkin illustrations by Nina Levy
Brooklyn-based sculptor Nina Levy infuses artwork into her son's school lunches by including amazingly detailed napkins amongst their meals. Levy started the ritual in 2006 with her older son Archer, and she soon grew obsessed–she'd stay up in the evenings dreaming and sketching new designs. Since then, her napkin artwork has grown incredibly complex and incorporates detailed watercolor paintings. This special extension of a mother's love has produced over 2,000 napkins to this day.
(See more: Instagram)
Lugs by Sarah Ivermee
Sarah Ivermee is all too familiar with the struggles of fitting a child with a cochlear ear implant. Her four-year-old son was diagnosed with profound deafness and hearing loss just months after his birth. These conditions have an often-overlooked issue–the alienation that a child might experience as the only one among their peers with a hearing device. Ivermee created a solution to this problem with Lugs, her company that produces custom-made kits to decorate hearing aids and cochlear implants. Utilizing creative designs and bright colors, children now want to show off their devices rather than feel self conscious or embarrassed.
(See more: Website)
A Boy and His Cats by Beth Mancuso
Photographer and mom Beth Mancuso proves that cats are the ultimate furry pals in an adorable series called A Boy and His Cats. In it, she captures sweet moments–both candid and posed–between her three sons and their two Ragdoll cats, Lucy and Irie. The gentle creatures offer companionship when the kids are playing, exploring the outdoors, or reading a book. “We couldn't have asked for better cats,” Mancuso says, and intends to continue the project for as long as she can.
(See more: Website)
Malice of Alice by Kelly Lewis
A young girl named Alice Lewis embodies the spirit of iconic figures like Joan of Arc and Wonder Woman, all with the help of her adoptive mom Kelly Lewis. Together, Alice and Kelly use cosplay costumes, styling, and props to transform the girl into the different characters, which she then acts in her photographer mom's fantastical images. This collaborative creative project allows Alice to explore who she really is and to reinvent her identity on her own terms after six years of abuse, neglect, and many foster homes.
If I Had Known My Mother Back Then by Danielle Delph
For her heartwarming photo series If I Had Known My Mother Back Then, Portland, Oregon-based art director Danielle Delph inserted images of herself into old snapshots from her mother's childhood as a way to imagine the friendship that could've blossomed if the two had met while growing up. Her seamless edits blend Danielle in beside younger versions of her mother, the final images appearing so natural that if one didn't know they were edits they could simply be candid shots of two best friends rather than mother and daughter.
These specific projects pay homage to only a tiny fraction of the amazing, creative, inspiring moms out there, but let it stand as a testament to the creative and revolutionizing power of a mother's boundless love.