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Restarting a passion .. Artists Tamara McGarry (left), holding daughter Freida Bennett (3), and Helen Oishi, holding son Taiga Oishi (3), want an art space they and other mothers can bring their children to. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

Two Timaru mums are looking for a child-friendly art space for mothers.

Mother-of-two Helen Oishi and mother-of-three Tamara McGarry want to start an arts group where parents can bring their children.

Mrs Oishi said they wanted to provide a creative outlet for parents, where they could also bring their children.

“Many women have to give up art when they have children, and they lose that creative outlet,” she said.

“Once you have a child, your whole life becomes child-centric, but that means you can lose yourself.”

Ms McGarry said she was inspired to start an art group after mental health struggles.

“I have been using mental health services for at least 10 years, since having children.

“I felt that if I had an art space where I could bring my child then it would’ve helped with what I was going through.

“It would’ve also given me a space to be amongst other women at a similar stage of life, and share the same passions.”

The art group has had interest from local parents through its social media under the name Pact (Parents Art Collective Timaru).

Both the women are passionate artists.

Ms McGarry is a silversmith and Mrs Oishi a printmaker.

They hoped the space would house a creative environment with like-minded people to bounce ideas off.

“We are welcoming all levels of artists. It doesn’t have to just be professional level,” Mrs Oishi said.

“If someone wants to come in to do colouring then they can.

“But we also want to facilitate things like pottery, painting, mosaic, weaving or sewing.”

Once the ball was rolling, they wanted to get a resident artist who could run workshops.

The women hoped to find an art space of their own that was child-safe, uncarpeted, lockable and big enough to hold art equipment.

“We have a place that is being lent to us at the moment,” Mrs Oishi said.

“But we really need our own place.

“We need somewhere big enough, and uncarpeted, so we don’t have to worry about making a mess.”

They planned to hold art sessions during the day and at weekends to accommodate the different schedules parents had.

The women aimed to get a group together for term three.