The Mother Artist: Portraits of Ambition, Limitation, and Creativity

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Product Details
$28.99  $26.96
Broadleaf Books
Publish Date
5.88 X 8.56 X 0.77 inches | 0.94 pounds

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About the Author

Catherine Ricketts writes about the arts, grief, joy, and spirituality. She studied writing at the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MFA in nonfiction from Seattle Pacific University. Her essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, The Christian Century, Image, The Millions, Paste, and the Ploughshares blog, among other publications. While writing, she has supported the work of other practicing artists as a live arts presenter, having held jobs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia's FringeArts, and the public radio station WXPN. Ricketts lives with her family near Philadelphia.


"Chronicling the work and lives of mother artists, Catherine Ricketts has written a sprawling and glorious blueprint detailing the imaginative hows and urgent whys of maternal creativity. The Mother Artist is a hopeful, luminous answer to the question Can and should a mother still dream? A brilliant and openhearted gift of a book." --Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch

"Part art history, part memoir, part cultural critique, Catherine Ricketts's The Mother Artist is capacious, provocative, and utterly original. It's a delight to follow the rocket of Ricketts's gaze from, say, the floorboards in a Rineke Dijkstra photo, to a meditation on the author's own postpartum experiences, to an analysis of the politics of parental leave. The Mother Artist is enlightening and entertaining and urgent." --Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Great with Child

"This beautiful landscape of mother artists illuminates the way in which, in spite of the innumerable obstacles and grievances, motherhood has been a fertile ground for creativity. I'm thrilled that this book exists, and I think that every mammal interested in art should read it." --Jazmina Barrera, author of Linea Nigra

"A remarkable celebration of women's creative power. Ricketts demonstrates what we all gain when mothers make, and why we must support them. She masterfully weaves intimate personal stories with gorgeously rendered encounters of art. Her writing is generous, inspiring, hopeful, sensitive to the diversity of motherhood experiences, and downright beautiful. This is exactly the book I need now--a decade into motherhood--and it was the book I desperately needed when I became a mother. I want to buy it for every mother I know! And I encourage every artist to read it--it serves as inspiration for all artists seeking to create in the confines of their lives." --Heather Lanier, author of Raising a Rare Girl

"This marvelous book is, all at once, a work of curation, creativity, criticism, and care. Ricketts writes evocatively, as a witness, at the intersection of two creative vocations: motherhood and artmaking. Her vulnerability as a memoirist is deepened by her generous insight as a critic, opening up the work of others. The result is a strong but subtle apologia for why the world needs 'maternal humanism' today more than ever. Read this if you're a mother and an artist, to be sure; but read this, too, if you're human and hope for a different world." --James K. A. Smith, editor in chief, Image journal, and author of You Are What You Love and How to Inhabit Time

"These richly interwoven stories of artists' lives and the ways in which they have pursued their own paths of creativity through, with, and around the work of care and mothering were often new to me, even though I thought I was familiar with their work. In lucid and engrossing prose, Catherine Ricketts adds her own story to theirs with such clarity, both vulnerable and meaningful in how she shares her interior world. It reminded me of all the books I've loved of late--Julie Phillips's The Baby on the Fire Escape, Sarah Knott's Mother Is a Verb, and the best of Eula Biss." --Michelle Millar Fisher, coauthor of Designing Motherhood and curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

"I am changed. Skillfully traveling through the wisdom and stories of female artists, Catherine Ricketts has offered us a labor of both love and loss, grit and frailty. What is at stake in the heart of an artist as they become a mother? What is born in us? A necessary pilgrimage for all who dare to nurture, to care--for children, yes, and all who once were and have since hungered for the compassion and tenderness the world so often withholds." --Cole Arthur Riley, New York Times-bestselling author of This Here Flesh