In Honour of Creative Dads

As many of you may know, Margaret Berry from Scrapbag Studios is my mother. My own artistic yearnings have always been greatly influenced by her prolific artistic life. She has come up to stay recently, and over a cup of tea we were talking about the piece I wrote about her for Elliott Street. One of the things she reflected on was how impressive it made her sound. My response was that it was all true. I think we artists can often feel like imposters!  Her other comment, was how she forgot to include how important her dad was in forging her creative identity.

Sure, her mother taught her to sew and knit, but was often critical of anything “arty-farty”, or “airy-fairy”. Whereas Mum’s father recognised and understood that side to her, and most importantly, saw it as valid. He would often sit with her and they created together. She remembers how when she went through a watercolour phase he encouraged her enormously with constructive criticism.

Margaret Berry and her father.

It made me think of my own father, who also encouraged me artistically. A frustrated artist himself, he grew up in country Queensland, where boys went into a trade or profession. There was no such thing as an art career for a man! My earliest memories include those of him reading to me. Not just reciting the words on the page, but creatively engaging with me and the story. He was always tinkering in his workshop, making pendants and bangles out of silver cutlery, turning 25 cent pieces into buttons for me to sew onto to my favourite jacket, creating garden art for the beautiful garden he created under the magnificent mango tree in our backyard in Elliott Street.
He provided me with endless paper and art materials to create my own masterpieces.

Most importantly, he saw the value in art and creativity. He recognised it as necessary for society. And he recognised that need within me to honour my own creative side.

Our Dad, feeding the kids.

Who else out there has a creative dad? Or a dad who encouraged them artistically?