We had the good fortune of connecting with Robin Schaefers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robin, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
My art Parents can be a wealth of talent, support and inspiration for their children as well as unconditional love. I count myself among the lucky who can say I had all of these growing up. My siblings and I were truly blessed. My mother and father instilled and promoted a love for the arts from an early age. Their own creative and artistic contributions went largely unrecognized. Their talents and teachings created the foundation for my work today. My mother has an innate ability to coordinate the world around her. From the clothes she wears, parties or the look in a home; she brings the elements together into a complete vision of appeal. My mother has a remarkable talent for putting things together in uncommon ways to create a look greater than the sum of its parts. My mother believes in surrounding herself with art and people she loves. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive collectable or have a famous name, “if you love it you can always find a way to use it. Nothing is without potential; some things just take longer to show themselves.” My father on the other hand delighted in the details, the craftsmanship, the material(s) used. He appreciated art and insisted on learning all he could about the process. Dad would attend art shows or gallery exhibitions and spend hours talking to the artists. He took such care to notice and comment on every detail. Dad could talk for hours about what he liked about a particular piece. He would engage artists with endless question about their methods, techniques and material choices. A man of great many talents himself, my Father rarely received recognition for his own creations. As it was often said in our house; “Dad made things structural and functional, and Mom made them pretty and unique.” As often is the case, we follow in our parent’s footsteps especially when it comes to our own children. I am blessed with 3 boys. My artwork has been a springboard to launch many life lessons in thinly vailed relevance to daily life. For the upset child that made a simple mistake, I tell the story of my 6th grade art teacher who refused to let us have erasers in class. She said, “in art as in life, you will make mistakes. You must learn to incorporate them into something greater.” I have found these stories to be fundamental when trying to communicate with my boys. My younger sons are on the high-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. A fancy name for, what I believe is a remarkable look into how we communicate as humans and innate differences that can arise. Next to my parents; my boys are the greatest influences, critics and idea generators for my work. Their honest and sometimes blunt truths are invaluable to my works evolution. They push my bounds of creativity and skills to show me a truer and more honest representation of myself in my work. I can spend days or months sanding, carving, staining to achieve an imagine that is brilliant in my mind. But it is not finished until each member of my household gives me their opinion. In this practice, I am teaching them to be critical thinkers and priceless advisors to the overall process of being artists. There are millions of artisans in our world, how can I set myself apart. I may never be famous for my artistic endeavors but that has never been my goal. My deepest desire for my work is to show someone, something they may have never seen before. Help to develop an appreciation for the effort if not the final product. We all need to communicate better the inner most thoughts and feelings, why not with a souvenir of the journey.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From the materials I use to the end product, every piece is about using what is around us everyday in a new or renewed way to bring out the beauty within. I believe ours is a “disposable society”. When an item no longer suits its prescribed usefulness, it is discarded and replaced. Respect for craftmanship and repurposing is largely lost in today’s world. Since they were babies my boys and I would drive the neighborhood looking for usable materials for a host of project ideas. At first, I would point out and explain different ways something could be used again. Over time, it has become a game of how many different ways one item could be repurposed. I am attempting to teach them to appreciate what they have but to see life with multiple possibilities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a parent during a pandemic, outings have become increasingly more difficult. I like to go off the beaten path and explore with my dog Bär in local green spaces. I like to get into the overgrowth to get back to nature. I am always looking for interesting pieces of wood or debris add to an ever-growing collection of projects. There are serval wonderful parks in our area for daily get aways. When we need a family reset, the family loads up the gear to visit husband’s land in Oklahoma. It is 300 acres of completely uncorrupted nature where the mind and body can roam. As far as in the city, I am happiest sipping drinks on a patio with good friends and family. I am a person that most enjoys the intimate contact with friends without a lot of noise. Give me wine, fire pit and good conversation over a social gathering any day of the week.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Instagram: repurposed_everyday_designs & robincaruth_photography
Facebook: @repurposedeverydaydesigns & @redprimepix
All photos are by RobinCaruth_Photography