Museum of Motherhood

Rampant Sisterhood and The 3 Muses: “Fe-Mail” dialect flourishes

Do you have a piece of art, say a postcard from a museum or bookstore that inspires you? Some image that permeates your consciousness because of it’s literal content or the deeper voice that calls you with the images portrayed?

That call is what these 2 cards do for us. This week’s mail Art cards have become iconic for “Fe-Mail”. They are 2 postcards we have had reproduced in to high quality archival giclee’ prints for sale on our website. They are visions we created early in our collaboration that began in February 2007, that continue to speak to us of our sisterhood, of our life missions and of our pleasure. What we create in our cards is often a foreshadowing of future developments. Whether by the laws of attraction or desire, whether our sub-conscious works through our hands to create visions of what is to come, these 2 cards say volumes of what is “Fe-Mail”Art.

The ‘call and response’ style of our collaboration builds with every card we mail to each other. It is enhanced by the passage of time, enriched by meals we eat together, trips we take, books we read, poetry or as simple as the chocolates we share!  These layers of meaning are at play in our mixed media art creations.

The Three All Rights Reserved© Karen Arp-Sandel

Look at Karen’s “The 3 Muses”. She has used her own painted papers and found papers to create a strip collage background before which a portrayal of the 3 Muses stand, thus juxtaposing classical imagery of inspiration with the play of contemporary colors. The die cut circles of hand colored and found papers float like ideas lofted by the muses speaking to the artist from ancient times.  Karen and I make painted and textured papers together in her collage studio class at IS 183 in the Berkshires, that I have attended for 5 years. We will make more of these at her

Vibrant Visionary Collage Workshop at Kripalu, in mid-March. We are forever taking impressions of things on to paper and working them in to our collages.

Rampant Sisterhood. All Rights Reserved© Suzi Banks Baum



Now look at my image, “Rampant Sisterhood”. The background is a bubble wrap print of acrylic paint on watercolor paper. I love the pop color combination that reminds me of a dress my Mom wore in 1966. The dragonfly image is a packing tape transfer from a magazine illustration. The smoky patch is rice paper. The title, well, it is my Mantra. I found it in a newspaper as a title of a dance review.

I made “Rampant Sisterhood” in July of 2007. I had just graduated from my first Mastery class at the School of the Womanly Arts in New York City. I had also just celebrated the Solstice with our Moon Circle, a gathering of 13 women who, for over 12 years, have celebrated the full moon every month here in the Berkshires. Karen and I had just participated in our June Moon Sweat Lodge where we had kept company with a dragonfly who flitted in and out of the smoke from our fire.  I was full of the richness of Sisterhood, which is the wind beneath my wings all of the time, but particularly strong when I made this card.

A Touch Of Sky, Heaven. All Rights Reserved © Suzi Banks Baum



The blue side of this card “A Touch of Sky, Heaven” (I seem to work orangey pink vs. blue a lot) has a woman on a surfboard going over a rainbow touched waterfall with another dragonfly on it. This is exactly how I felt in that moment, completely adventurous and poised for the next phase of my journey as a woman. In another post we will talk about the symbology of these images.

Strawberry Fields Forever. All Rights Reserved © Karen Arp-Sandel



Karen’s card “Strawberry Fields Forever” is a similar color palette to “Rampant Sisterhood” with a her portrait sitting in a field of her favorite papers-Super Bubble gum wrapping, salt rubbed water color and vintage Japanese papers. There is a ripe fruit at her fingertips and a bird singing, chicory blossom in her hair, she is full of summer, even the stamps she chose are summer! The joy I read in to this card is evoked not only by the colors and movement, the happy thought of Karen picking strawberries, but also by her inscription of the quote “Now is the moment, the supreme instant of my life”.

Our cards represent supreme instants in our lives.

Our collaboration draws on the magic of these moments, ordinary and sublime.

Bios: Karen Arp-Sandel – I am a woman who wears many hats: artist, educator, yoga teacher, workshop presenter, Mother, wife, aunt, daughter and sister. In my role as a collage artist, I make art in my home studio and teach classes at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, where I am on the faculty of the Painting, Drawing and Collage department. When I am not in my studio or instructing adults, I implement an exciting Learning through Arts programs in the public elementary schools using the skills in my “visual artist toolbox”. You can learn more about me in my professional capacity by visiting www.karenarpsandel.com

Being committed to a Mail Art collaboration with fellow Artist /Mom, Suzi Banks Baum, sustains my Collage-a-Day approach to creativity. Please visit our gallery at www.femailart to browse our post cards to learn about our process.

Honoring myself as a creative individual, while honoring all my other jobs, including my mothering, is the most important work I do. Since my children have recently fledged the nest of home, I acknowledge this truth: one never stops being a mother.

I am dedicated to bringing creative people together, especially groups of women, in order to elevate the joy and sustenance derived from creative self-expression. This serves to keep alive my mantra: “Art is not Separate.”


Suzi Banks Baum is an Heirloom Variety Mom living in the hills of western Massachusetts. She is a writer and artist, raising 2 teen-agers with her husband.

As she writes her book Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Women she blogs on the sacred in daily life atwww.laundrylinedivine.com. Visit an online gallery and discussion of my mail art collaboration with Karen Arp-Sandel titled “Fe-Mail”  at www.femailart.com.

Links: http://www.kripalu.org/program/view/VVC-111/vibrant_visionary_collage_creativity_and_yoga_immersion



Visit the Museum’s MAIN SITE for more about this exhibit.


About M. Joy Rose

Woman, Mother, Human, Rocker, Educator, Activist Director; Museum of Motherhood President and Founder; MaMaPaLooZa Inc. a company by Women, Promoting (M)others for social, cultural and economic benefit. Dedicated to a more educated, more peaceful, more musical planet.


3 thoughts on “Rampant Sisterhood and The 3 Muses: “Fe-Mail” dialect flourishes

  1. I LOVE what you are doing! New York Times special Museum issue comes out this Sunday March 13th and M.O.M. is mentioned. Keep your eyes peeled on the world – I hope they notice!! xo

    Posted by Joy Rose | March 9, 2011, 09:19
    • Thank you Joy! I am utterly grateful to you for this opportunity to share “Fe-Mail” and stand as a steady beacon for re-framing Motherhood. We have so much to celebrate. So much to give thanks for in our very smallest acts. And these big ones, creating the Museum of Motherhood, is just an outpicturing of this internal move, to celebrate- the tears, the laughter and the stretch marks….who was it who said, “When I stop growing, I will be dead”?
      xoox S

      Posted by suzi banks baum | March 9, 2011, 12:54
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