Tasha Tudor has been one of the biggest influences on my mothering and art career. Her birthday is on August 28th. She was born in 1915, lived to be 92 and would have been 105 this year. I hope this post inspires you to make art and the life you want to live.
The black and white photos through this post were all taken by Tasha’s friend Nell Door, a fellow artist, who photographed Tasha and her children. Her book: Mother and Child is one of the most beautiful volumes of photography I have come across.
Tasha was a woman who believed in the power of hard work. She never stopped believing in her destiny or living the life she chose. I believe she was a very staunch person and became hardened to life over the years (to the detriment of the relationship with most of her children). But, her legacy is one of love. Love made visible by work.
When Tasha was 23 she was married. She and her husband started farming and raising a family right away. Tasha was also busy in her illustration career. This was right before WWII. In 1945, with the royalties from her books they bought a 1789 Colonial home and 450 acres of farmland in rural New Hampshire. The house was in serious need of repairs and had no electricity, running water, or other modern conveniences. Over the years Tasha worked hard to turn it into the beautiful family home it became, filled with children, joy, and love.
When I was a younger, less sure mother, trying to manage working, raising babies, I struggled to make art. Thankfully, I ran onto this amazing book in my university’s library and it opened doors for me.
This book put me on a better path. It showed me that mothers can still make art and raise their families. The work Tasha was doing on her farm was much more demanding than my teaching job. If Tasha could make art, I could too! She showed me the way.
There were hard times too. Tasha’s marriage did not last, and her second marriage is not even mentioned. Many days she fell into bed exhausted beyond her endurance. Her children often had to work very hard and even spent time in boarding schools as Tasha grew more wealthy. Things changed, and not always for the best. There was a terrible falling out later in her life with some of her children. Her oldest, Bethany, whom she was especially close suffered the most, even being cut out of her will. Bethany later forgave her mother and spoke of her:
She did her best. As a woman and a mother, I understand that. -Bethany Tudor Holmes
A very poingnant phrase for most mothers. It seems like our work is never done and it can really become depressing and hard to shoulder.
This is my favorite picture of Tasha, a young mother, nursing her baby. I treasure the few pictures I have of mursing my babies and keep the memories in my heart forever.
With all that out of the way let’s focus on Tasha’s good. There is much of it, especially in her mothering years. Make yourself a treat for tea and join us as we have Tea With: Tasha Tudor.
Well friends, you got this far, and this was as far as I got last Tuesday. Then things just fell apart. We did not have a Tasha Tudor tea. My cinnamon raisin bread didn’t have raisins and it was awful, I got an ear infection, family was with us unexpectedly, my hubby got a terrible cavity, school has gone completely nuts, and I was just grabbing onto anything to stay afloat. I was going to redo my bread, try to have the tea again, and then finish this post but… then I couldn’t even figure out the new WordPress editor which is not user-friendly even for the simplest stuff like turning a picture around. Plus it is super-slow and full of bugs. I will not be paying to renew my fancy blog stuff unless they fix this! I might even move to a different platform!
Then I thought about all the times I looked on social media and saw perfect homes and families and how Pinterest makes me feel so bad and I said who cares? Maybe this is what people need right now? To be reminded that it’s ok, that really we don’t have to be Pintrest-worthy- God loves us anyway.
I will try another time to do a tea with Tudor post, maybe in the summer. Tasha loved the Fourth of July.
In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful pictures in this post, and know that this woman, Tasha Tudor had many times like this as we all do. The important thing is to put people before things and to just keep going.
With lots of love to you from Kansas Street,