Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Rachel Epp Buller

As a creative person myself, I am fascinated with what makes other like-minded types tick. Thanks for joining me today as I share an interview with Kansas-based printmaker, teacher and mother, Rachel Epp Buller. As a fellow mother of three, she is always searching for balance and harmony, and I can really identify with her style of work and her creative methods.
Rachel Epp Buller, currently living in Newton, Kansas, teaching at Bethel College, a small private liberal-arts school

B.A. in Art (Printmaking), German, and History; M.A. and Ph.D. both in Art History

Current City/Hometown
Grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska; migrated south to Kansas for college and beyond, with various periods of time away spent in Germany and New York City

Describe your work in one sentence. 
Through words and images, my scholarship and my prints variously address critical issues of mothering that speak to my life as a feminist-art historian-printmaker-mama of three.

What are your passions?
Integrating my personal and professional lives as much as possible. It was a revelation to me some years ago that this was possible, in both my writing and artistic lives. The birth of my third child spurred me back to work making prints, something I'd put aside for 10 years. In my scholarship, I have turned to writing on the theory and practice of mothering in contemporary art, the maternal body, and feminist mothering. Other passions: raising children with a strong sense of self and a high level of empathy. Of course I want them all to find ways to excel individually, but just as importantly, I want them to understand the importance of being good to other people. We will be moving as a family to Berlin, Germany for much of next year and I fully anticipate that this will be an amazing experience for our children as they negotiate a different culture and language.

Who are your creative influences?
I am often moved by art that is explicitly feminist, from the 1970s on up til present day. I am also inspired by a wide range of printmakers, many of whom I've encountered at the Frogman's Summer Printmaking Workshops in South Dakota. Printmakers are a different breed of artist--quirky, experimental, and often so generous with information, advice, and even their own work.

What motivates you on a daily basis? 
 I work best when I am under the pressure of deadlines, preferably more than one at a time. Maybe because I've been staying at home with children off and on for the past 9 years, the possibilities of writing and making prints are motivators in themselves: this kind of "work" is my fun right now, academic and creative outlets amidst part-time teaching and childrearing.

Guilty pleasures? 
Probably good coffee and dark chocolate.

What's your working style? Do you work for 12 hours straight nonstop, or do you take lots of breaks?
I work in short periods of time, squeezed in amidst the other obligations of career and family. I first developed this style of working when my oldest child was an infant and I was trying to write a dissertation.I developed a very compressed and compartmentalized way of being and working. I felt able to be fully present with my baby most of the time, but the dissertation remained in the back of my mind so that when I reached the blessed naptime each day, I made the most of that 1-3 hours and worked steadily. Even though my children are older now, I continue to find that that style works well for me.

What are your websites/social networking links?
Facebook, of course, since 2003. I finally started a blog (more of a website, or blog/site combo):
You'll see that I have a whole host of links on the home page, both the websites of artists whose work I find compelling and links to
 organizations I find particularly worthy.

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