I asked Kat Deschan Illustrator, if she would have a quick chat with me, while I was admiring her stunning hand drawn art work, she was kind enough to say yes. Her art work was on display at the Byron Bay Festival of Design. The black and white pencil A1 drawing of a pair of one piece togs, covered in sunflowers and strawberries is the art work I was admiring. Kat told me that it took her about 25 hours of work.
I wish this was my sole income source, this is all I want to do. I just want to draw. I have a lot of support from my friends, but I have never really shown anyone my art work, this is the first time today. I really hope one day that this will be it for me. I loved her instantly, as this is exactly how I feel about my writing. She was honest and generous in how open she was, especially as I put her on the spot with the interview.
“So you have never sold your art work?”
“No. Nowhere, I mean I have never tried to.”
“Seriously? You have never tried to sell this beautiful art work!”
“No, I mean I have sold some things, I have done mostly drawings for friends. My friends are happy to pay for my art.”
I studied design and photography and film. When I was studying I got carried away and thought that I wanted to work in film, I finished my study, but soon realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I came to Australia from Germany and met my partner about two years ago. Only a couple of months ago, I remembered that I like to draw. I did draw when I was small. And now I am back doing it. But this is what I want to do now that I am in Byron Bay.
I have my Instagram account for now but will eventually get someone to set up a website for me. I would love to do workshops that would be so much fun. Where I work everyone is so interested and want me to show them how to do it. I mean it is so relaxing. At home I listen to audio books and music and draw. I would be happy to do that all day, twenty four seven.
Lounging in the sun at a coffee shop enjoying a heavenly caramel latte, with my photographer friend Marina and her pot of tea. We were discussing her love of photography, the sentimental importance of photographs, and the memories they can induce. Marina reminisced about her grandmother when speaking about photos that are most valuable to her.
“I look at the photos that I have of her, I remember the times that I spent with her”.
“The best gifts I received as a child were from my Grandmother, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, she would find beautiful presents, sometime months in advance and buy them for me and put them away. I remember as a little girl – I don’t know how hold, but small enough that, one time I saw package/ box on top of the cupboard and dragged a chair over, stood on tip toes and peaked in the box at a lovely new dress.”
“I spent most summer holidays with her; I loved spending my time with her. We didn’t have a car so was difficult to get to her home, but my father passed her village on his way to work and would drop me off on the way and pick me up after work, or leave me for the weekend or a fortnight. Her kindness, her cooking and her hands are clearest in my mind. She had rough hands, scratchy hands from working and cooking. I would pull up a little stool and sit between her legs pull up my top and she would run rough, scratchy hands over my little back.”
Marina stops and laughs and scratches her back “my back is itchy know as I tell you this”.
“We moved house at one point, I didn’t see her for a while until she moved 500 metres down the road from us with my uncle. I spent time with her every day. I am the oldest grandchild so got to spend a lot of time with her.”
“Once we moved from Kazakhstan to Germany, I only saw her twice in 9 years. I knew she was sick, but didn’t think that she would pass. We didn’t talk on the phone much, but I always knew how she was doing from my Mum, who spoke to my aunt. I was in Australia when she passed. I found out a week after she was gone. My poor Mum couldn’t cope, and my dad was looking after my Mum. I think they were stressed and that is why it took a week.”
“As a child we moved to Redcliffe when there was still dirt roads, we had to clear our own piece of land so that the house could be built. When Grandma was pregnant with your Aunty Kelli, I would take our dog for a walk in the pram practicing for when we had a new baby. When all the kids were born (mums 3 siblings) I would ride kilometres and kilometres to the Catholic girl’s school where you also went to primary school. I would have to ride past your fathers, Grandparents house and Grandfather would come out every afternoon on my way home, and give me a bunch of flowers for your Grandma”.
“Once we got married we never went on many holidays, only a couple of times beach camping. Then you girls came along and your father worked all the time.”
From my point of view as the eldest daughter, Mum has handled being a wife and mother with grace, dignity and elegance. She always had the whole family’s happiness as her focus, even Dad after he had torn her heart out.
“I think that I did ok raising you girls, I mean you’re good girls who have lovely families.”
I find perception amazing. Yes it was sad and devastating and it took a long time to adjust to the fact that we became a single parent family, and the way that happened. But it was almost a relief to just have the four of us girls at home. A decision had been made and it felt much more stress-free.
“I felt like such a failure, he left me for a women that was at one time a friend and had three daughters the same age as you three girls.”
Mum continued with routine and family traditions – like always eating our meals together, where we shared our day and what was happening, there was always something baked for afternoon tea (Mum makes the best caramel tart with whipped cream). Even through her pain, “There was some days that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.” I never felt as though she let us witness those painful days, after the initial heartache had worn off. Mum always got up and presented herself in gorgeous clothes, shoes and had her hair styled.
Mum is a wonderful role model for me, she has taught us work ethic, through having her two jobs, always having an impeccable house and yard. She is also a stickler for routine, which made me feel safe as I always knew what was going on. She showed us how to be kind and generous and supportive by looking after Dad’s sisters in the palliative stages of their breast cancer journeys. She taught us to always be respectful and use manners and morals as a guide. Mum showed grace, courage and strength by never arguing with Dad in front of us, she always remained polite and accommodating, towards him.
“I always preferred when your father came to our place, to see you girls and having you girls with me than your father taking you away. Even though every time I saw the tail lights head down the drive way, I felt like I had taken 10 steps back”.
Mum always made sure that we had everything that we could need and never felt like we went without.
“I was left with $50″.
The school swimming carnival of that year, I needed new togs Mum took me to the surf shop and brought me a pair of pink Roxy one piece togs with little flowers on them, I LOVED them. But felt bad as I knew she couldn’t afford it.
As a mother myself of two boys and fumbling my way through as a wife and mother, I can only hope that I will be half the mother and granny that Mum is. I lean on Mum for support and guidance in the way that I mother my boys and live my wife life. Mum always offers sage advice, sometimes I don’t want it and sometimes it’s not just words that I need from my Mum. Mum has always made us kiss and cuddle each other goodbye, and sometimes even after a long chat I just need to feel like a child again and be held in Mums arms and feel her heart beating. At times just having mum cuddle me brings me to tears, knowing her support and love is always there.
Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.