Both artists in their own right, Christine and Elissa use collaborative drawing as a way to stay connected and share their passion for art. What started out as a very personal undertaking blossomed into a full-fledged business creating paper and fabric products with their designs. Here’s their story (Christine is the mother; Elissa, the daughter):
What is DoodlesparkTM? Why and how did you start it?
Elissa : DoodlesparkTM is the business name my mother and I gave to a very personal process of collaborative drawing. Officially, DoodlesparkTM is a division of Loop ( loop, LLC ), an eco-conscious paper and fabric design business I started in 2007. We share the DoodlesparkTM story along with each product we produce, as follows :
“Mailed back and forth for many years, these drawings have grown and changed with time. Reflecting a process of changing and adding to each other’s artwork Doodlespark is the project of a mother + daughter who use the drawings to keep in touch, to spark their creativity, to cultivate their friendship.”
My mother had her second baby when she was 40, 12 years after she had me, so I started college when my brother started kindergarten. When I would return home from school, one of the ways we re- connected as mother and daughter, and as siblings, was to sit at the table and draw while we talked. We started exchanging drawings in a circle around the table, creating collaborative works that opened conversations and invited togetherness. (Sometimes even my father would join in! )
My mother and I continued this exchange through the mail, each of us adding and changing multiple drawings at a time, making notes on the back as to what we were thinking / feeling at the moment. It fostered a great friendship between the two of us and provided a creative playground for us as artists. We never intended for these drawings to be shown publically, but when I started my paper goods company, Loop ( www.welcometoloop.com ), I decided to add some of the colorful drawings as a counterpoint to my black and white patterns. The synergy was instantaneous, the product line developed, and the partnership evolved.
Christine : DoodlesparkTM grew from just that, a spark ignited from years of mother – daughter “art time”.
As a visual arts teacher, I wanted to instill my love for the process of creating art to my young daughter. We made time and space for creating art together, soon establishing a vehicle for sharing ideas, thoughts and precious conversation.
As this art connection continued throughout Elissa’s college years and beyond, our two styles merged into a collection of collaborative work. (The spark became a flame!) It became a kind of magical process and we would each anticipate the growth of each doodle to be returned. Drawing this way supported our individual day-to-day routine and helped us record thoughts and moments in time. It was our very own way of communicating from a distance; as Elissa mentioned, on the back of each drawing we would date and write a reflection of what we were thinking / feeling while drawing. Each piece then became a visual journal of our lives.
How did Doodlespark TM evolve into a full-fledged business?
Christine: Around the time Elissa turned 30, she decided to take a courageous leap of faith away from Architecture ( her field of study ), and Loop was born. Her paintings, patterns and drawings were transformed into an eco-friendly line of note cards that she debuted at the National Stationery Show in NYC. Many orders resulted and DoodlesparkTM became a division of Loop LLC.
Elissa : That’s right. After debuting the DoodlesparkTM line alongside Loop’s stationery and wrapping paper, the response was fantastic. The color and energy of the drawings were such a nice complement to the black and white / neutral patterns of Loop’s collections, and the story resonated with our largely female target audience.
A few years later, we met the wonderful team at Clothworks Textiles and began a dialog about doing a fabric line. I developed our Cultivate drawing into a complete quilting fabric collection for them, which debuted in the Fall of 2012. It has been so rewarding seeing our work – a largely personal undertaking –accepted and applauded on such a public stage!
How has collaborating on Doodlespark TM impacted your mother-daughter relationship?
Elissa : I think it helps us check in with each other in a unique way. My time at the drawing table is often very meditative and solitary; emotions and ideas come from a very different place there than they do when you’re having a phone conversation. It allows for a different kind of intimacy. And we have to trust each other as artists, that we’ll respect the other’s ideas without judgment, working our own marks and concepts into the pieces in a complementary way.
Personally, I find working on DoodlesparkTM drawings so freeing – I can play and experiment as an artist in a way I don’t with my Loop work. I am so inspired by my mother’s fluid style; it really brings out some wonderfully fertile ideas in me.
Christine : Collaboration has enhanced our mother/daughter relationship because DoodlesparkTM created a deeper connection to a common passion of artistic expression and a vehicle for communicating about our daily lives in the present moment…whether together at the same table or miles apart.
What do you admire most about each other?
Christine: I admire Elissa’s unique style…her focus (above and beyond) to achieve her high standards in creating Loop, taking the bold leap of faith in launching her artwork at the National Stationery Show and bringing our DoodlesparkTM collaboration into a line of its own. I am proud of her beautiful, authentic talents and determined, persistent energy.
Elissa : I admire my mother’s calmness and belief in the goodness of the world. I also admire her ability to, as one would say in yoga practice, ‘hold the pose’; she has helped me rise to the occasion of motherhood much more gracefully than I thought I could. I also admire the way she has transformed her life and her career a couple of times over in the last two dozen years. She gives of herself unconditionally, with a full and joyful heart.