Former Hearth Member
Illustrator, Author, Maker
What’s your story?
I was raised by an art teacher and an architect who gave me huge sheets of paper, clay, carpet samples, museum visits, and a stocked dress-up box. Though I was always told I didn’t have to be an artist, I ended up studying illustration, art history, creative writing, and ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art and then went on to receive an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. Along the way I discovered a love of teaching and now work as an adjunct professor and art instructor.
What do you make?
Books, illustrations, stories, clay creatures, prints, cookies, scarves, dresses, miniatures, paintings…
Mostly, I make stories, though the format and medium of the stories vary. Most days, I arrange words and plot elements (occasionally productively procrastinating by baking) to create graphic novel scripts or picture book texts, formats that rely upon the intersection of images and text. Other days, I make puppets and mixed-media miniatures for my photographic illustrations. My ceramic work focuses on human-animal hybrids, exploring characters from mythology. Sometimes, I even get to relax with a knitting project while enjoying someone else’s narrative work. You can check out my illustration at www.marikamccoola.com
How did you get involved in Miranda’s Hearth?
I was introduced to Miranda at a dance weekend. We quickly realized we were both passionate about the arts and one conversation led to another and we haven’t stopped exchanging ideas since! Attending my first Dinner, Art, and Music night, I was excited to talk with people and hear about the range of things they make. Since that first Dinner, Art, and Music night, I’ve begun leading the Hearth Bookclub, and have been excited by the engaging conversations. In particular, it’s been exciting to see how what we make influences our relationship with what someone else has made.