Theatrical Poster for film Who Does She Think She Is?

Here’s a post I wrote in 2011, but didn’t publish. It’s been in the drafts file. Here it is.

I once said as a kid, “I need a wife.” (I forgot why, maybe I was super busy with high school classes and volunteer work.) My mom pointed out that that was a really sexist statement — that it wasn’t okay to say that you needed free, unpaid labor in the form of a wife. (and of course she was right.)

People still say it. Women say it with a laugh.

Earlier this year, I saw the film, “Who Does She Think She Is?” as I may have mentioned once or a hundred times already. The film is about the challenges women face as mothers trying to make a life in art, make a living in art.

I found it incredibly inspiring and wish every woman artist out there would see it, mother or not. It covers other societal expectations of women too.

In May, I attended the conference “Creative Breakthrough,” hosted by the Arts Alliance Illinois – terribly bold title for a conference, right? Supposing you would have a creative breakthrough at their conference?

Here’s the thing — I did.

I had been very, very stuck before that.

At the conference, they used the arts to demonstrate to us how to use the arts to affect change. In the afternoon breaks, when energy might be flagging, live music in the hallways kept our energy up. In the morning, when we were maybe groggy, none less than Joel Hall got us up and moving.

It was the best run, most inspiring conference I’ve ever been too. Instead of panel discussions where each voice is diluted — firey hot passionate artists were given 20 minutes to speak about their art. Three of these per day, then break out sessions where you could go and ask those folks questions, or go to another open discussion.

Their passion was infectious and reignited my own.

The other thing about the conference was that I was there all by myself — a huge, luscious hotel room all to myself, delicious food, not cooked by me. A whole weekend with no responsibility to anyone but me.

It was nurturing. And it made me realize how low on nurturing I was. That smidgeon of nurturing in my life cracked the door open to an expansion of my definition of myself as an artist.

It expanded to include being an acrylic mixed media collage painter. See, metalsmithing takes so many years to perfect, that I rarely allowed myself to explore other areas of art making.

I had been stuck as a jewelry maker. The one area I was interested in exploring was image transfer.

Here’s an image of jewelry I made with image transfer techniques.

Bronze clay and image transfer pendant (c) Elaine Luther

Bronze clay and image transfer pendant (c) Elaine Luther

The image transfers were fun, but frustrating. I was starting to want to work with images, but making them so small was limiting.

I asked myself, why don’t I just work larger?

And that’s where the 2011 post just ended. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hit publish, it wasn’t quite finished.

The continuing story is over on my other site,, in this post: How I Started Painting.


Learn more about Who Does She Think She Is? at the film’s site.

Buy their DVD and home party kit directly from them, or from amazon. Want to arrange a screening? Licensing is easy and you can do it right on their site.

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