Mary Anne Radmacher is an inspiring apronary whose words and art dance with movement and meaning. What’s an apronary you ask? Read on to find out. This cool term might apply to you, too!
So much of your work is a mixture of words and art. Which comes first – the words or the art?
As in most relationships, it’s not 100 percent either way. They (words and art) are in a relationship with each other, though they emerge from two different parts of me.
When I write, most of the time my work and words come out with intention and purpose. I know what I want to say. It’s an internal process before it becomes externalized.
When I create (paint, draw), I think I’m going to do “this.” In actuality, it might look something like “this” but I don’t really know. In my visual art, it’s like what Picasso said: “If it is known exactly what is going to be done, why do it?”
For me the art is a discovery and adventure. The written is an outward manifestation of what already exists inside of me.
How did you develop your style?
When I was a youngster I loved to dance. In community college at 17 I took ballet. The teacher said to me, “I want you to know … of all the students I’ve ever taught, in your heart you are the greatest dancer.” But, I didn’t have the hips and body for it. She told me that my challenge will be to find a “dance that is not ballet.”
I wanted my letters to have dance, movement and evoke emotion. In 1986 I created my proprietary handwriting process.
When did you begin incorporating art into the lettering style?
All of my skill was weird and interpretive. I couldn’t draw body shapes, so I went into journalism. But throughout high school I would write in my journal that I wanted to be an artist. My lettering became more flourished – moving the pen in different ways. I wrote that I wanted to be an artist for so long that in my early 20s people told me I WAS an artist. Their affirmation, externally, affirmed the longing I held inside. I became an artist.
You define yourself as an Apronary … what is an Apronary?
The reason you’re not familiar is because I made it up.
My super hero name is Apron Girl. One of many I’ve had since I was a child. My father was a production manager. In the divisions he supervised he had an industrial apron on. I always associated getting things done
with putting an apron on.
You’ve said that Honey in Your Heart is your favorite book. Why is that?
For six months, everywhere I went I brought a notebook with me. I suspected that the things that brought me the most satisfying joy had nothing to do with amassing stuff. Every time I felt that “yeah!” feeling, I wrote it down and turned the page. At the end of six months, I had a litany of those things that evoked that response in me. I invite people to explore the things that bring them the greatest joy.
Tell us more about your latest project – She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman
I wrote She
with co author Liz Kalloch. It is 25 love letters about different qualities that are manifested in the world. Letters – specifically love letters – are my all time favorite form or writing.
Liz and I discussed every aspect of the book collaboratively. Liz did the illustration and was integral in selecting the people who became the role models for the book (including Mother Teresa, Pearl Buck, and Lucille Ball).
You have developed some wonderful programs to bring your work and inspiration directly to people. What are those sessions and events like?
People kept asking me, “How do you do what you do?” I was so resistant to becoming a teacher. I was happy to be a model – freely sharing what I knew. Putting a price tag on it, selling it, having people attend … seemed so uncomfortable to me. But people kept asking. Then I had less and less time to freely share my processes and when I did people would say, “This is going to change my life.”
Over time I began creating curriculum and began teaching and travelling. Now I am a corporate consultant. I go into enterprises and teams to help them better articulate their creative side and to better create through visuals.
Who better to teach than someone who was told they have no artistic talent? I love to empower others who feel they don’t have an artistic bone in their body.
What is your “Monthly Bundle”?
It is a diversity of product that I work on each month. I set a specific number of items I’ll create. I don’t know what it’s going to be each month until I’m developing it so it’s totally fresh and edgy each time.
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