About Maxine

My love for art began more than 5 decades ago.  As I child, I was given a Kodak Brownie camera and began discovering the world.  As a result of that gift and the influence of an artist mother, I became an artist and later an art teacher.  A rewarding 25 years were spent mentoring and guiding high school and college students in the visual arts.

While working as a teacher, I focused my personal art on papermaking and multimedia collage. As a result of my own classroom needs as a teacher, I designed Deckle2-Go, a vastly superior long-lasting polycarbonate deckle box, frame, and mould for making sheets of paper.

Now, as a retired teacher, I am exploring ways of combining my love of the textures, colors and forms from the natural world into my collage images in papermaking to create works of art.

I use art as therapy, a respite from bouts of my own depression, and as a means of exploring how mental illness has affected my family.  I have completed an exhibit of 30 works of art reflecting my insights, frustrations, growth as well as my solitude. This art can be found on my website- www.amothersjourney.net These things have given me a goal/mission to break the silence and stigma of mental illness in our world. It is my way of advocating for my son and others who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia.

My dream is be to have this exhibit travel around the country and speak about stigma, open conversations, and encourage people the importance of learning about and treating mental illness.

A Mother’s Journey

Mental illness affects one out of every four families, hence there is a need for it to be addressed. Mental illness can affect anyone. While some illnesses have a genetic risk, mental illness can affect people of all ages, races and income levels whether or not there is a family history. Society must be informed as to the facts and be open to communication. Because it is a “personal” problem society in general does not want to get involved. Stigmas continue to grow, budget money is reduced, and people who suffer from mental illness are swept under the carpet, again.

Years of planning and creating have culminated in this art exhibit. It was a goal and mission which at times because of my own depression was in jeopardy. My quest is to have the exhibit travel to galleries conferences, and museums. This work is about a vital issue impacting so many of us in a very personal way.

The total exhibit includes 30 works of 2d and 3d art, focusing on four areas:

  • Social stigma and issues of mental illness
  • Our own dreams of a healthy child versus the reality of raising a child with a mental illness – It’s a roll of the dice!
  • Reflections of my struggles with my son’s mental illness and my depression
  • My refuge, through faith and nature which I experience at “Low Tide”

Much of my own “psychotherapy” comes through the time that I spend working on my art. During bouts of depression the work sits, rejected and separated from me. Uncompleted work is a constant reminder of the goal I set, yet haven’t reached. That goal is two fold. The first is to continue using the talents given to me. The second, to let others know that it’s ok to talk about, acknowledge, and share their own experiences with mental illness. For me, every work holds a special connection for each has its own story. The viewers will connect to the work on a personal level, feeling and seeing my story.

It is a roll of the dice as to who may be affected by mental illness. Involvement with groups, like NAMI, and giving one another support is crucial in breaking the stigma mental illness carries. Experiencing “A Mother’s Journey” has lead many individuals to realize that they are not alone, and they begin to talk.

Thank you for your interest in my quest,
Maxine Seelenbinder-Apke