Marta Buda spins a virtual web of iridescent inspiration on her instagram feed which showcases glimpses of her woven works-in-progress, textile design samples, paintings, reference images, and passing moments of life lived with her partner and young child, Anouk.
Pomelo is very excited to have had the chance to ask Marta a few questions concerning her creative and family life, and finding a way to somehow make it work, most of the time…
PM: Hi Marta, having gone through your instagram feed several times recently I have to say, it is such a pleasure. I love coming across tumblr/pinterest/insta accounts that have a very strong interior structure, where all the posts look as though they fit together somehow to create a bigger picture. I can’t help but think that this must be reflective of how you manage to weave the different elements of your life together in a cohesive and beautiful way. What are your feelings about social media, how important is it to your work? Do you enjoy it or do you feel like it is something that you have to do?
MKB: Thank you Bree, it’s so nice to hear that as I do usually try to think about how images work together as a collection, however I also have moments when I go on tangents or just post holiday photos! I often go back and delete images if I don’t think they resonate with me anymore. I have very mixed feelings about social media, my only outlet for it is Instagram which is also the only one I enjoy using. I never intended to use it as a means to connect with people I didn’t know and certainly didn’t think I would generate interest in my work from it when I first joined, but it has undoubtedly become an important platform for me to present my work. My personal website is a little out of date and I find it difficult to keep it updated, whereas my Instagram account is constantly being updated. It has evolved organically and although I use it to share my work, I also share my inspirations, life and anything else I think is noteworthy or interesting to me personally. I think because I don’t have a separate brand or moniker I don’t feel the need to be very professional or strict about how I use it, and when I am not feeling inspired by it I just take a break from posting images.
PM: You work and live on the flip side of the globe, in New Zealand. How did you chose this place as your home base? Did you grow up there and/or go to school there? How do you think living in NZ has affected your engagement with a creative community and work?
MKB: My parents moved here when I was 4 so that’s how I came to be in New Zealand. I grew up and went to school and University here in Wellington where I still live. I’m not sure how growing up in New Zealand has affected my engagement in a creative community. I guess maybe having the freedom of living in a culture where I have choices in what I want to do and also having liberal parents who let me explore the subjects I wanted, helped me to develop my own creative identity. I think I would’ve always had a creative spirit even if I was raised in Poland, although I’m not sure whether I would have had the same means or resources as I have here.
PM: A creative life with a small child can be so rewarding and also so frustrating. How do you manage your time in the day and the pressure of getting projects out the door all the while taking care of your little girl? Do you have any tips or tricks, or do you just wing it everyday? Did you ever consider taking time off or scaling back while she is small or is work the thing that keeps you excited and engaged in your day-to-day?
MKB: I think I must really give a false impression to people about how much work I actually do! I definitely am a full-time mother and a “part time/casual” maker and designer. I was actually a University student when I became pregnant, my graduation was the same day Anouk was born. Effectively I went from being a full-time student to a stay at home mother straight away, which was not entirely planned! I still feel like I am winging it and to be honest, I get through my work by cramming in the evenings and working right up to the last minute. I try not to work when I am looking after my daughter, I especially avoid working on the computer as this becomes a distraction to her and instantly ruins the magic of her imagination. This year is the first time my daughter will be having full days at kindergarten 5 times a week. I am hoping I will be able to adjust my time management and not have to work in the evenings so often.
PM: Has having a child changed your perspective on your career goals? Did you feel more ambitious before she was born or after, or has your vision not wavered at all? Becoming a mother seems to give some people clarity on these things and others, more confusion about the direction they want to take. Do you think having a child has put more pressure on yourself to succeed or has taken away some of your drive?
MKB: I have never really had an opportunity before or after Anouk was born to focus entirely on a career. I have personal goals that I would like to see happen but I am also realistic about the way we have chosen to parent and how this directly relates and affects the abilities of my work output. I am aware that I need to continue having some outlet for creative work if I want to have a long-term creative career, not just on paper but for my own intellectual stimulation too. It took me a while to find my own space after becoming a mother, but I think not rushing myself or forcing myself into things helped me to find my own direction. I think I have more clarity due to this and although motherhood forced me to slow down it also gave me a beautiful opportunity to take things as they come and be patient with success.
PM: How does your partner figure into things for you? Is he also a creative person? Does he struggle with the balance of work life and home life at all? Do you trade off domestic and child-raising tasks? Do you ever collaborate on projects together or hope to in the future?
MKB: My partner Doug figures hugely into this, firstly he supports us financially which means that there is not a massive pressure for me to go into full-time work and therefore we have not had to put Anouk into daycare. He works as a marketing and communications manager for a coffee company. He does all of the in-house design work and sometimes works as a free-lance designer too. When we both have freelance work on it can be a struggle for us as life can really feel like an uphill battle, we spend a lot of time in the evenings working on our projects which of course throws out the very fine balance of home life. He is hugely supportive of my work and is the person that pushes me the most -in a positive way. We often seek each others advice or opinions on work and have worked collaboratively in the past. We are not always very pleasant to each other when we work together as we tend to be brutally honest but it does get the best out of us.
PM: What projects are you working on at the moment? Are there any projects coming up that you are excited about? I would love to hear what you are up to at the moment and in the next few months.
MKB: At the moment, I am following up woven bag enquiries as I held off for a while taking on any more orders but now am in a space where I feel ready to commit to making more of these again. This year I hope to start a small business designing some products that I can have produced by other people. I found the last year to be incredibly taxing on me physically as I make my woven bags entirely myself. Realising this is unsustainable and bad for my morale, I am aiming to create a small range of items that I will manage rather than physically make. Fabric design for Penny Sage and Twenty Seven Names next summer collections has just finished up and I will hopefully be working on a fabric design for Bodha soon too. I also have a couple of collaborations with other New Zealand artists in discussions for this year that I am excited about.
Thank you Marta for answering so many of my questions! I really appreciate you taking the time. All the best for your upcoming projects, and to your family.