Interview by Megan Greenholt
Nathalie Borozny, our newest MamaCITA member (2016), has many of the creative qualities I seek to practice: perspective, intuition, spirituality, and wisdom. I have not had the opportunity to share many moments with her since she joined the group. Several weeks ago we were both in attendance at a member meeting regarding our upcoming guild show at Cheltenham Center for the Arts. Her enthusiasm is infectious and I found myself becoming more engaged in the discussion as Nathalie’s insightful comments were offered. Following, she responded to several questions regarding her work and life history. – Megan
How did you practice your creativity when you were a teacher of young children?
I went into the early childhood classroom about five years after my last classes in Design, Architecture and Art at the University of Cincinnati and Rhode Island School of Design. The lessons I started to learn there were with me as I began my life with young children and their families. Setting up an environment that provided unstructured materials in ways that freed children to create. This was how I expressed my own creativity. Italians say ” fino a mano”, do everything with a fine hand. So setting up an art area, serving snack, displaying the children’s paintings, allowed me to practice my own creativity.
How has your work changed through your career as an artist?
I devoted myself to sharing the lives of young children and families for fifty years before I came to practice art again. I don’t think I have a long enough history of art making to get a perspective on change. Recently I’ve felt looser and willing to play more with materials so perhaps I’m coming full circle back to early childhood again!
You currently explore the combination of papermaking and photography. What are the rewards and challenges of using the two together? How is the process similar? Different?
The first time I printed one of my photographs on paper I made, I felt a little anxious about violating the purity of the paper! Paper made by hand, whether cotton/abaca or the more exotic Washi using Kozo or Gampi fibers seemed to be complete in, and of, itself. Making paper, putting my hands in the vat, is completely, unthinkingly, sensory. Taking a photograph, even if I plot out the place and time, turns out to be a crap shoot . The reward of using my old inkjet printer with handmade paper and a photograph stored on my computer for years is that something happens I can’t predict.
Natural forms and landscape are your subjects, why and how do you manipulate the image to express your intention?
Natural forms and landscape seem to be my subjects because I am very comfortable messing around in the dirt, with tree roots, dead things, and lately, thunderclouds. I grew up on a dairy farm and spent a lot of time alone in the woods, in brooks, in fields. I usually look at a photograph for days, weeks, months, put it away, and take it out, look at it out of the corner of my eye until it tells me what my intention is.
Describe the conceptual space you enter when making art. How does it inform your practice?
I’m an impatient person, an impatient driver, and sometimes an impatient cook, certainly impatient with forms of sexism, racism, and ageism. But when making art I go into a calm, vast, waiting space. It’s part of letting things happen.
and last but not least…Why did you join MamaCITA?
I joined MamaCITA because art is a shared experience. And I’m a mother.
The shared life and creative experiences of MamaCITA members are reflected in the synergy present at every meeting and exhibit. Nathalie is a welcome addition to our collaborative and I can’t wait to see what her creative process continues to reveal. – Megan