Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who the heck is Mother Junker?

"Amy honey, That's a terrible name to use. It sounds too much like something dirty. Whatever you do don't  tell your Father about this" -Alice (AKA - My Mother, age 81)

      So, once again the question keeps coming. What do you mean by "Mother Junker"? Who the heck is Mother Junker"? Aren't you "Butter Beans Antiques"? Answers... I'll explain, I'll explain & YES... Yes I am.

First and most importantly lets address the "white elephant" in the room. While I am known for (putting it mildly) A "bawdy" sense of humor no innuendo is intended or implied. I am a Mother. I am a Junker. Simple as that. As for Butter Beans Antiques, that is my business name, but Mother Junker has been here all along. My hand made creations and assemblage art pieces are made and sold under the "Mother Junker Studios" moniker. Think of Mother Junker as "The crazy old Auntie" of Butter Beans Antiques. Now on to the story of Mother Junker...

I have been in love with the creative process all my life. My Mother was an Artist, so I guess you could say, "it's in my blood". Mom was vigilant about taking me to Saturday morning art classes at The Toledo Museum of Art. My home life being consistently "turbulent", I was never more at home or felt more safe, then on Saturday mornings... Creating & dreaming for a few hours each week, in those musty basement classrooms.

In later years, I studied sculpture at The Toledo Museum of Art under Resident Artist, James Hightower and worked for a summer as an Artist Apprentice learning welding and assisting with large-scale installations. Sculpture still captivates and inspires me and Henry Moore remains my favorite contemporary Artist. I continued my Artistic studies throughout college in both art history and studio courses. It has taken me many years to find my own Artistic voice & medium, but the bells rang loud &clear when I ventured into the world of mixed media collage and assemblage. The freedom and range of possibilities with altered art & collage are endless. It is my therapy, my healing, my heart's song and a great way to connect and communicate with the world around me. A member of the ZNE artisits community since 2006... Mother Junker was proud to be their featured artist in the march 2007 edition of Variazione (

I am the Mother of two Sons. On many days they are the muses for the happiest of my creations. Both of my Sons were adopted at birth. I remain a committed and vocal advocate for the adoption community and am always happy to share the story of our adoption journey. My boys are now 4 and 8 and if you listen carefully, they often express more wisdom & humor about life than many adults I know.

I am also a writer and my first children's book was published in 1996 entitled "All God's Creatures Go To Heaven". I continue to write as part of my art including sentiments, observations and original poetry on many of my mixed media pieces.

      In 1990 I started Butter Beans Antiques & Design. My specialty at the shop has always been taking something old, discarded and mundane and creating a new, beautiful & useful item. Painting vintage finds, rebuilding a broken down treasure, sourcing vintage fabrics for treasured clients and restoring quilts and the memories they embrace for families throughout the country. Mother Junker stems from this desire to re-use, re-cycle and re-create from remnants of the past. Old images, old books, bits, pieces and parts are living in boxes in my barn & studio waiting to be born again as beautiful objects to bring a smile to you, my Patron.


Mother Junker is ageless, delightful and ever so divine... She has always been an Artist and has always lived in my imagination, she is my artsy-fartsy-fairy-God-Mother. Mother Junker usually "wakes up" after everyone else has gone to bed. We work at an old farm table, in my cozy studio, creating whatever whimsical gem Mother J. has dreamed up.

Although she is not visible to the human eye, I have visited her in my dreams. Mother Junker looks just like Bea Arthur but with Bernadette Peters style hair, in a metallic, silvery, peppery grey. She sings like Rosemary Clooney, Laughs like Phyllis Diller, Loves the earth and always smells like fresh baked cinnamon buns. Her sense of humor rivals Lucille Ball and her favorite color is the rainbow. She loves her collection of 1960s, paisley caftans because of the way their bright, billowy sleeves blow in the wind. She lives with an "Auntie Mame" outlook on life and her favorite time of year is always the current season.

Rollin' down the road in her 1940s Ford pick up truck (she changes the oil herself), she dreams of Autumn breezes, Summer beaches, Winter snow angels & Spring gardens. She is full of fascinating stories of exotic travels, humorous happenings and life's lessons learned the hard way. She never misses a garage sale, slows down for a closer look when she spies a dumpster overflowing with an old chair, teakettle or piece of weathered wood. She trolls the neighborhood trash from time to time for little bits and pieces that might just make it into one of our creations.

Mother Junker has raised with love and joy many children, all of whom have grown up to be confident, wonderfully kind adults who each have made the world a better and happier place in one way or another. She has been in love many times... Always with an open heart and mind. Her life is filled with friends that love her whimsical ways and her rabid spontaneity. She is everything the world is not and the world is everything she is not, together they are a great combination.

She encourages me to always eat dessert first, because life is far too short. She knew great fear as a child but became the class clown at 10, a hippie at 17, the life of every party at 21, but an Artist since birth. Desperate for a means to express herself freely... She's a little bit of the best in me and a little bit of the best in you and a little bit of everyone I have ever known. She believes with her heart that all you really need is love. The rest of the stuff in life is just the ketchup. She is a junker, a Mother, a muse, A lover and when needed, a fighter. A friend, a figment and a delightful thing to think about... She is not real but she is REALLY fabulous. She gives me permission to be creative, an Artistic voice whispering encouragement. She challenges me to express the feelings of the moment, to share what lives in my soul... Faith, love, fun and sometimes even fears... Whatever I can fathom. She has made a home in my heart.... OK. Feel better? Yup. Me too. Now that we have that out of the way we can move on... Stay tuned. Namaste.

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