Happy Mother’s Day
May 08, 2021
On Mother’s Day, we honor the women who gave us our start—as well as our wings to soar.
Marietta Bolster, a member of our design team, celebrates her mom, Patience Brewster, the creative force behind Patience Brewster by MacKenzie-Childs. Until her recent retirement, Patience spent decades illustrating the whimsical characters that are captured in the collection’s handmade and hand-painted ornaments, figures, and other decorative items.
Like so many other families, the Brewsters have traditions and traits that link generations. For Patience and Marietta, there has always been a connection to creativity.
Patience grew up one of six siblings, in a family known for its wide range of interests and skills. Her father made furniture and could fix just about anything. Her mother painted, sculpted, and sewed when she wasn’t golfing, swimming, or driving an obstacle course in a horse and carriage. Her grandparents took Patience to museums and taught her the art of telling a good story.
Patience started drawing almost as soon she could hold a pencil and doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t. Years of illustrating and painting led to a degree from the Philadelphia College of Art. After that, she worked as a freelance artist, illustrating children’s books and greeting cards. Eventually, she started her own greeting card company and later began to turn her illustrations into figures and ornaments.
Marietta and her older brother, Herm, were surrounded by their mother’s creativity, as her business operated out of the family home. Marietta remembers reading, art, and other imaginative activities were ever-present. Watching TV “was just not an option.”
Now, Marietta’s youngest children, daughters Luna, 4, and Nova, 2, race from room to room, through that same house, giggling, before settling into their grandmother’s light-filled studio to draw and paint.
“Moonma,” as the girls call Patience, fills their paint trays with small squirts of paint, adds a little water, and distributes paintbrushes. Already they’ve made it known that they prefer grandma’s paints and brushes over the common kiddie versions. Soon, swirls of color fill the paper in front of them. Patience takes it all in, admiring and encouraging each dab and dot.
Patience can see the girls’ personalities reflected in their artistic styles. Big sister Luna is the more deliberate painter, filling her brush with color and making bold strokes. Little sister Nova is more reserved, making smaller swirls and strokes. But she’s eager to experiment and quickly discovers how to add even more dots of color by using an eyedropper dipped in the paint.
The scene takes Marietta back to her childhood when she and her brother would draw and paint in the same spot and in much the same manner. As she got older, her mother began to encourage her to add more details and layers to her paintings. After graduating from college, Patience joined her mother’s business and later returned to school to earn an additional degree in graphic arts.
After marrying and giving birth to Luna, Marietta brought the baby with her to her parents’ home, “the office,” every day. When Luna wasn’t sleeping in Patience’s studio, she was observing, watching her paint and draw. Eventually, Luna would sit with Patience at her desk and paint with her on occasion.
Their tradition of creativity has truly come full circle, extending from Patience’s grandparents to her granddaughters, three generations later.
Today, on Mother’s Day, Patience and Marietta plan to gather for a family brunch. Patience also plans to make her usual stop at the farmers market for annuals and perennials to plant for summer bouquets.
Marietta will also celebrate with Luna, Nova, and her two stepchildren, Avery, 11, and Ben, 10, who are quite creative as well. Marietta says Avery, whom Luna and Nova adore as a big sister, is also an amazing artist immersing herself in theater and dance. Ben, whom Marietta calls “one of the dearest people on the planet,” has a knack for science and math.
All four children and her husband, Thomas, have made Marietta’s life amazingly full, she says. “Meeting Thomas and his two children was all so wonderful and welcoming that I feel like I just flowed into this loving family. Then Luna and Nova came along, and it’s been a boisterous and extraordinary ride ever since.”
Both women say that motherhood is an experience like no other, and they’re grateful to have shared it with each other.
Says Patience, “Where does one begin with the rewards of motherhood? The profound gift is moving over, making this new one growing within you, and then beside you, your priority. Suddenly, sacrifice has no meaning, love has no bounds. To this day, a cord that once bound us physically still binds me constantly to my children emotionally and spiritually. There it is, every day of my life. And now it extends to my grandchildren.”