In the Mix
Ten artist-designers share the best advice they ever got from their moms
In honor of Mother's Day, we reached out to a handful of creative friends to hear the best advice they ever received from the mother figures in their lives. Scroll on for inspiring words of wisdom—and some very sweet images!
Laura Baldassari of Atelier Biagetti
“One of the best pieces of advice I received from my mom was to surround myself with beauty. She is an incredible painter, so I grew up in her studio. Watching her work tirelessly, with extreme passion and talent, inspired me to seek my own fire. I found out who I wanted to be and started to paint when I was really young. Then, at age 18, I discovered my voice and began to study to be an opera singer. My mom has always supported me, and this is undoubtedly the best gift she has ever given me.”
Laura Baldassari is shown with her mom Noemi Zavoli, both in Ravenna in the 1990s and in Milan today. The painting is by Noemi, and the Parabola Copper Lamp is by Laura’s design studio, Atelier Biagetti. Laura's work for Atelier Biagetti is available through Patricia Findlay.
“My mother taught me through her actions, living by example—saying the most by doing. The biggest lesson I have learnt from her is that kindness and patience go a long way. People will understand you through your actions, so make sure they are in alignment with your intent. Oh! And start your pension early if you want to retire young.”
Simone Brewster is shown with her mother Misty in London, alongside the designer’s Tropical Noire Vessels collection. Simone’s work below includes her Supermodel Chair and a watercolor from her ongoing Woman in Parts series.
“My mother’s words that have resonated most for me over the years: Trust the journey… and cherish every moment.”
Vivian Carbonell’s mother, Yolanda Carbonell, is shown in the car, as the two took a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2019. “The sky’s the limit with this smile!” Vivian tells us from her studio in Miami, where she lives and works designing eye-catching furniture, like this Native Table.
“The best piece of advice that my mother ever gave me: Have respect and patience.”
Nofezile, Andile Dyalvane’s mother, is shown attending the festivities for the debut of his ground-breaking body of work, iThongo (Ancestral Dreamscape), in November 2020. It took place in the rural Eastern Cape village of Ngobozana, where the designer-maker grew up and where his mother still lives. The exhibition then traveled to Southern Guild in Cape Town, before moving on to Friedman Benda in New York, where it’s currently on view until May 22nd.
“The best advice I received from my mother was to always believe in what you are doing and stay true to yourself. My mother never pushed me to do anything; she always allowed me space to grow and choose my path. Artistic practices are a tough domain, and that can be scary for parents. But my mother steadfastly encouraged me to express my creativity. I’m a very lucky kid.”
Marlene Huissoud’s mother Chantal is shown in a field of sunflowers in France, where they are from. Marlene now works in London, and her work, like this Frozen Bench, is represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery.
“My mom always told me: Keep an open mind and never be afraid of yourself. Chase your own dream with a brave heart; this broadminded way of thinking will lead you to different experiences, challenges, and happiness. If it weren’t for my mom, I don’t think I would have grown up to be an artist. She supported my creativity and spirit in many different ways, and her liberal parenting style had a huge influence on my becoming more open-minded and international. She is such a dynamic, strong, energetic woman in comparison to her 1960s generation in Korea—most of them are generally quite conservative.”
Ahryun Lee’s mom, Munsuk Park, used to visit her daughter in Europe regularly, and they would travel around together exploring the continent. The pandemic, sadly, interrupted their trips. “We hope to be reunited very soon and wander the curious world again,” Ahryun tells us. Munsuk is shown in a traditional Korean outfit at her son’s wedding in 2020 and on a trip to Prague with Ahryun in 2017. Ahryun lives in Germany, focused on creating vibrant ceramics, like Spiky I and II shown here.
“When I was eight, I asked my mother if I could take dance lessons. She quickly left the room, and when she returned she handed me a telephone book. This advice didn’t come through language, but an action: If you want something, get it. No one is going to figure it out for you. Another piece of advice my mother gave me: You can’t change your past, but you can change your future.”
Linda Lopez and her mother Ngot Madera are shown on a trip to Ngot’s hometown, Chau Doc, Vietnam, in 1992. They also are shown together after getting their second vaccine shots this year in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where Linda lives and works. Her one-of-a-kind ceramics are available through Mindy Solomon Gallery.
“The piece of advice that my mother always gave me: Follow your heart, be humble, and generous.”
Carlo Massoud hams it up for the camera, while his mother Rita Karam Massoud patiently indulges him. They are shown at Carlo’s home in Beirut. Carlo often works in collaboration with his sister Mary-Lynn, like on this Unique Chair, which is available through R & Company.
“The best advice my mom ever gave me: Be here now, in the moment, with no thoughts! That is where peace and wisdom coincide within you… it’s your birthright. In this the silence, all ideas and inspiration arises.”
Jolie Ngo has shared some of her favorite baby pictures with her mom, Denise Povernick. These two capture moments from Jolie’s childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today Jolie divides her time between Philly and Providence, Rhode Island. She’s shown here with her 100 Vases projects, alongside one of her ceramic objects, Girl with Fans.
“My mother said that I should always finish what I start and be content with what I have.”
In Zizipho Poswa’s Magodi series—featuring monumental ceramic sculptures—she celebrates the majesty and heritage of traditional African hairstyles, locally in South Africa called magodi. Each of the works in the series is given a traditional Xhosa name in homage to actual women who have been influential in the Cape Town-based artist’s life. Nozibhedlele, pictured here, is inspired by Zizipho's own mother of the same name. The series is available through Southern Guild. ◆