fathers day blog continued

Posted by Mara on June 13, 2013

Okay, so as I was saying…Father’s Day is coming up this weekend!!

It’s funny because LA is a BIG CITY with A LOT of stuff going on, but for some reason, we’re mainly conquering Atwater Village.  Which is a little ‘hood–adjacent to others that have been in magazines and stuff because fancy, extremely hip people live there–not so much Atwater.  Atwater is flat and plain, you wouldn’t know it was there.  Except that, as happens in the rough, it is a gem!  It has a sweet vibe, some favorite cafes and shops, and a bunch of families and normal, lovely people who live there.  Plus they have a great Farmer’s Market!  That is growing like crazy and happens to be managed by a friend of mine–hence our privileged participation.  (LA is all about who you know!)

We’ve had so much fun running a table for Hand Drawn at the market these past weeks!  By “we” I mean Me, Matt and Quinn–my two amazing boys who’ve been at my side for most of it (nap-time notwithstanding)!  And we’re totally looking forward to setting up shop again this coming weekend, AGAIN in Atwater, in a slightly different context, this time at the Atwater Art Walk.  Another friend of mine asked if I would vend at this upcoming event, and I was more than happy to oblige!  It takes place this Saturday, June 15th from 5-10pm…in Atwater.

I decided to submit some paintings to the Walk as well, and I’m delighted to be showing two: one, not uncharacteristically for me, is a painting of a naked lady and the other, appropriately since it’s the day before Father’s Day, is of Matt.  I’m showing it here (even though it’s way cooler if you see it live).

And here comes the long part…

There are 3 men in my life who’ve contributed to my work as an artist so deeply that I can honestly say I would not be who I am without them.  One, a sort of father figure, is my art teacher.  He taught me everything I’ve ever learned about making art.  And he has supported my ongoing efforts in the field so generously and without one whiff of doubt or reservation that I…well, I blame my storage problem on him almost exclusively!

The second is my very own Dad.  A musician and composer and, as I’ve only realized in my adult years, a beautifully eccentric individual, my father has always been my original role model as an artist.  Even as, throughout my entire life, I’ve flailed from this discipline to that medium, always knowing I need art, and never (still) knowing exactly how to do that, I’ve always followed in his creative footsteps.  He planted the seed!  I’ve also noticed the older I get, the more like him I become–and I can honestly say that with pride!

Finally, the third and most important man in my life is Matt Ford.  That painting of him is a little misleading because he doesn’t usually have that much hair.  He grew that mop and beard for a play he was in a few years back (dang, when I saw him enter the stage looking 9 feet tall, which they did on purpose by augmenting his 6”2′ frame with heeled boots and a tall hat–wow, what a presence this man!)  Anyway his hair is always a bit unruly, which I adore, but he usually keeps pretty clean shaven, which is fortunate because Quinny has a bit of a thing about men with beards…BUT my point is he, Matt, is also an artist.  He is a great actor, a brilliant builder and a passionate lover.  In the picture I describe him as both wild and placid, and that essence, hair or no, is true.  I’ll never forget before I met his family, he told his young niece about me, and she asked if I was pretty.  His answer was, “She’s an artist.”  I feel so ridiculously lucky to have a partner who sees the beauty in me is my art.  Love that guy.

Interestingly, these 3 preeminent male influences, and I’m not leaving anybody out, they’re it in their category, are ALL Sagittarius.  Coincidence..?

Okay, that’s all I wanted to say with Father’s Day right around the corner.  Father’s Day blog is finally concluded.

Hope to see you in Atwater Village this weekend!




fathers day blog to be continued

Posted by Mara on June 9, 2013

This will be shortest blog I’ve ever written–BECAUSE it is To Be Continued.

For now, I just wanted to let y’all know that we will be at the Atwater Farmers Market again this Sunday (tomorrow) from 10-2 selling beautiful hand drawn art for all occasions!  We will be featuring our Father’s Day cards and are excited to be presenting some new items as well.  Including this inspired piece…





Posted by Mara on May 4, 2013


Well, there it is, folks.  Our LA debut!

We had so much fun vending at the Atwater Farmer’s Market last Sunday–that we’re going to do it again this Sunday!  Provided the 30% chance of rain in the forecast doesn’t manifest.  That would be an ironic ruse by Mother Nature after I was heard gloating about our SoCal weather in my last blog post..!

Speaking of Mothers, I hope anyone reading this who happens to be in the ‘hood will come up and see me at the market.  Especially because after this Sunday (May 5th), the next Sunday is Mother’s Day.  And we have lots of beautiful cards for the Mamas in your life.

I, for one, have been hard at work making and selling cards for Mamas.  (Which by the way is so special to me to have a hand in making the vehicle in which a person sends their love!)  BUT I have not yet caught a scent of any celebratory Mother’s Day preparations around my own home.  Like in honor of me!  Being a Mom is so great, it’s like having 2 birthdays a year!  I get just a tad excited about these things.  But Matt is like a vault–he never gives anything up before the actual holiday!  So I’m left waiting in dithery anticipation.

Matt has a classic memory of being in a department store as a kid.  He and his brother were buying each other gifts for Christmas.  Their parents took them to separate lines at the check-out to keep the surprise.  Little Matt was in his own world, when he heard his brother calling, “Matt…hey Matt!  Hey!  DON’T look over here!!”  Naturally he looked over there, and his brother was holding a huge ball in his arms.

His brother just got so excited about the surprise!  That is often how I feel.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the next couple Sundays.  So I just wanted to say that and also that I hope to see lots of happy card consumers and hi-sayers at the market.


spring has sprung, so has hand drawn by mara

Posted by Mara on April 12, 2013

Hey y’all!  Happy spring!  Felicity and I have both recently returned to California from the beautiful resort town of St. Louis.  It’s just so charming there, it’s the only place we ever want to go on vacation!  Just kidding.  Our family is there.  Obviously.

We both sojourned home for the Easter holiday.  By the time we arrived, the snow from only days before had melted.  (Much to Giovanni’s personal chagrin, as he is most interested in snow plows these days.  Living in San Francisco, he doesn’t get a lot of that.)

If you’ve read even a few of my blog posts, you might notice that we do a lot of complaining about the St. Louis weather over here.  Does this mean that after almost 20 years of living on the west coast, I’ve become a Weather Wimp?!  I might have to entertain that possibility.  But dang, man, it is glorious out here today!  My little house is tucked away–so tucked that you miraculously can’t hear the freeway!  I’m outside now, and aside from the helicopters, you might not know you were sitting in the middle of a major metropolis.  Our garden is popping with brilliant shades of green and red and yellow and purple, the breeze is perfect, there isn’t a cloud in the blue, blue sky.  I have bare legs and a light sweater.  All I need now is some champagne.

Well, I’m out here blogging on this beautiful day to let you know that, as Spring has sprung, so has Hand Drawn by Mara!  The littlest boy in the next generation of Heseds, Luciano, is already 3 months old and practically taking care of himself these days.  So Felicity, his Mama, is back in the saddle.  And just in time for Mother’s Day!!

I am going to ask you this question: What Mother would not love a custom drawing of her and her sweet, wonderful family for Mother’s Day?

The answer to that is a double negative–no mother.  No mother would not love that!  And since every mother would love a Hand Drawn by Mara portrait for Mother’s Day, it is fortunate that we are open for business and accepting custom jobs NOW!!  Also remember, we can print your family portrait or any design (family logo, family name, get creative!) on T-shirts or any gift item that suits your family’s personal thing.

Also awesome is the fact that Hand Drawn by Mara is slotted to vend at the Atwater Farmer’s Market the 2 Sundays before Mom’s Day, so you can get all your goods there with no shipping cost.  Or you could just come on out, grab some grub, and say HEY to me, as I’ll be sitting there all day April 28th and May 5th.  We’re excited to be expanding to the market circuit here in LA.  We thoroughly enjoyed our St. Louis experience–except, of course, for the 100 degree weather!  Call me optimistic, but I’m anticipating some fine weather conditions this time.  And I’m totally looking forward to hawking my wares in Atwater!

Hope to see you or hear from you…

welcome, 2013

Posted by Mara on January 19, 2013

Hey y’all!  We’ve crossed over–and we’re already almost a month into the twelve we’ve got in 2013!

With the new year, I’d like to welcome my littlest nephew…

Luciano Emmanuelle HunzekerHesed was born on Dec.30th, 2012.  That baby came out of my sister weighing 10 full pounds!  And he is a real cute baby Italian.

Of course I’ve only met him through Skype at this point.  We’ll be making a sojourn to San Fran next month probably.  But for the moment, the little family is all well and enjoying Felicity’s husband’s paternity leave.

Speaking of leave, Hand Drawn by Mara is still sort of unofficially on leave (because not much can happen without Felicity).  And she’s up to her elbows now with these 2 little boys she birthed.  BUT we’d still love to hear from you if you have thoughts or needs.

Meanwhile as we gradually get back to full swing, I’m going to use the rest of this blog to post a short piece that I wrote in my other life as a yoga teacher.  I read this in a super cool Evening of Readings at the end of last year.  And since it’s a lot about babies, and that’s mainly what we’ve got going on right now, I’m going to share it here:


Zoe asked me to participate in this reading, and naturally I said Yes…having nothing to read.  So I’m writing a thing to read.

She contacted me weeks ago, and I knew I had nothing to read and would have to write a thing to read, and somehow I just didn’t.  Until tonight (2 nights before the reading)…

When I was an actor in Seattle, I used to do this annual Theatre Festival called 1448.  The idea was that a group of writers, directors and actors would present 14 plays in 48 hours.  So basically the writers would write all night, then the directors and actors would have like a day to throw the thing up–which is occasionally what it resembled.  And yet the audience turn out was always huge!  There was a lot of beer and adrenaline involved in these events, and maybe not a lot of inspiration.  But what the people loved to see was the raw performance–they wanted to see us lose a line and have to flail a bit.

That is what I somehow felt would be best for tonight.  Something raw.  And flailing.

Brad Warner and I hatched a plan whereby it might be cool for me to go up with a newspaper, read it, silently, for 6 minutes, then thank everyone earnestly and sit down.  That might have been more enlightening than what I’ve decided to do, which is to write something totally honest and raw and read it, aloud, while Brad and everyone else is stuck there listening.

I will add that part of my waiting to write this thing was simple unavoidability.  You see, I have a 1-year-old child.

I’m mainly with the babe and my boyfriend is mainly the breadwinner, but since we’re both freelance, it’s fluid.  Being self-employed for pretty many years now, and in fact never having held down a full-time job, my sense of time is kinda loose to begin with.  But it is interesting with a baby how time becomes a whole different thing than it was.

You really have no time to do anything.  I used to have to discipline myself to get work done or go to yoga or finish a project, or all three on a good day.  Now these are luxury items, relegated to naptime and post-baby-bedtime.

And yet…in a way you have all the time in the world, because what are you really doing all day?  Taking walks, reading books, eating snacks, singing songs, talking, looking, listening.

I heard Mary Oliver speak at UCLA a few years back.  And one thing I remember her saying was she got a comment from a fan about how nice it must be to be so wealthy that she could just sit around and look at nature all day (because her poems tend to be a lot about nature).  And she was like I beg your pardon, and vehemently expressed that she had in fact sacrificed a great deal materially and personally in exchange for the time she spent alone with nature.  And why?  Because it seemed like that was an important thing to do.  This was, of course, before she won the Pulitzer.

But that’s sort of how I feel about my days with my baby.  Which occasionally seem tedious and redundant, and lonely sometimes, and fiscally unsound pretty much all the time—but it seems important.

It’s worth the sacrifice to get to watch him learn everything in the world, thing by thing.  Though watching a baby is a bit like watching nature–phenomenal, yes, awe-inspiring, yes, boring, oh yes!  How many times you wanted to be like Move It Along, People!  But you have to remind yourself to stop and go slow.  He’s exploring and there are a million things we take for granted knowing that he has to learn.

He had to learn how to chew food, for instance, and how to get it to his mouth, and next how to get it there with the use of a utensil.  He’s learned to walk and even run, and now he’s starting to learn to walk and run around things in front of him instead of just trampling over everything in his path and usually tripping.  He’s learning to talk, but before words, he’s learned incredibly clear ways of communicating with gesture and tone.

He’s learning to love too.  The other day I was crying, and he stopped what he was doing and looked at me for a long moment.  Then he came over and gave me a hug and a French kiss.  His kisses have evolved from head butts to open-mouth-with-tongue.

It’s moments like these that make all the times you wanted to eat sushi while you were pregnant and didn’t worth it.  All the times you were hungry for that matter, but fed him first; you were parched, but he was breastfeeding…worth it.  In fact all of your comforts, your personal likes—getting a full night’s sleep comes to mind—or dislikes—poop, say—these natural human tendencies are subjugated to the whims of a tiny, little baby.

All of the things you once were, your entire ego is crushed by this beautiful, perfect creature.  Your clothes don’t fit right because your body has undergone such trauma, but it doesn’t so much matter because you haven’t showered and you’ve got like bits of banana and snot all over you.  And who cares anyway, no one’s looking at you when you’ve got this little ray of sunshine in your arms.

I took a picture of myself the day that I lifted the baby up overhead, like oh cutey baby, and he chose that precise moment to puke.  In case I’m ever tempted to try to collect the shards of my shattered ego and piece them back together again, I have that photo of myself looking utterly beleaguered with puke running from my hairline down my forehead to remind me what enlightenment looks like.

But even that, even when he peed and somehow shot it into my mouth and I did not have a sense of humor about it at all..!  Even when he’s cranky and squirmy and fussy and dreadful and impossible…you’re still not sure that he isn’t actually you.

You see yourself in him and your lover so beautifully in him.  You’re mirrors of each other.  And you can see somewhere way deep inside the other.  Because he lived inside of you, and he knows you inside out, literally—and you loved him so completely even before the first moment you saw him, through the morphine and the fear.  And you knew your heart was now going to be running around outside your body, because there he was on the planet.

And through this, I have begun to understand Union.

Patty used to always say she was a teacher of Asana, not Yoga, because she could fathom the physical part but all the other bits seemed intractable.  I think she’s teaching yoga now needless to say.  But I’m feeling just the opposite these days, like I’m not sure I know the first dang thing about asana.  But on some level, I feel like I’m beginning to understand something about the Life parts of yoga.

It helps that I have a very cute Guru.  And probably that he can’t talk yet.  That’s good too.

It so happens that this was a good night to get to writing.  As it is raining outside.  These are the final lines from the poem by Mary Oliver called “Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me”:

Imagine! Imagine!

The long and wondrous journeys

Still to be ours.



maternity leave (again)

Posted by Mara on December 21, 2012

Happy Christmas!  Well, we’re in the thick of it now, eh?

I’m sure anyone reading this is much more on it than we are and has already finished all shopping obligations for the holiday.  We were out this morning getting our last few items shored up.  Little stressful, as this time of year tends to be.  But I can’t complain because I, unlike my sister, am NOT 9 months pregnant.  (That was like a quadruple negative, weird grammar.)

My point is that my sister is not only prepping for her family Christmas, but she is also preparing to give birth on the same day that Mary did like 2000 years ago.  She’s due this Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, she’s making trips to the post office to send card orders out.  Needless to say, after this order, we’re closing up shop for the remainder of 2012.  We will re-open for custom work first thing in 2013.

Thank you to everybody who sent Hand Drawn by Mara cards this year!

From our fave ongoing business client about his year-end custom cards:  ”My team and customers have come to appreciate and expect these every year. I hope to retire in about 15 years, so you may be hearing from me every November for many years to come :^)”  This happy client made our year(s)!

We’ll see y’all in 2013.  May next year be beautiful.





cyber monday story

Posted by Mara on November 27, 2012

Well, here we are, as promised…Happy Cyber Monday!!  (This one is hard to forget, since if you so much as look at the interweb, you’re going to see a Cyber Monday ad pop up.)

On a personal note, since we’re in the business of personal, my little family made it home safe and sound.  But not without a little drama.

We had planned to leave around 6pm so that Quinn would sleep through the whole 6-hour car ride, and we would still get home at a halfway reasonable hour.  Ah, the best laid plans…at 6pm Quinny was in the middle of a baby spaz, induced partially by an inconvenient diaper rash and partially by mere vacation exhaustion.  By the time we’d calmed the child and gotten him fed and ready, it was creeping towards 7pm (read 1am arrival time).  Pushing forward, though a bit exhausted by the weekend revelry ourselves, we said our lengthy good-byes–which consisted of Giovanni giving us each several rounds of hugs and kissies–we got everyone into the car and started to drive.  We drove about 30 feet before realizing our back tire was completely flat.

For a moment, we thought we’d have to leave the next day.  But this was Saturday night, and as everyone in California knows, you never want to drive this route the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We discovered this by trying it a few years back–the 6-hour trip took us 12 HOURS!  We obviously weren’t about to make that mistake twice, especially Lawd help us, with a 1-year-old in the car!  The tire had to be changed!

We pulled the car over, and Matt commenced to look for a spare.  As it turned out, the spare we had was a real deal tire, so Matt and Uncle Drew set to the man-tastic job of changing it.  Amazingly, the guy whose house we parked outside, came to help and promptly opened his garage to reveal like an entire arsenal of tire changing tools.  And so the day–or rather night–was saved.

We finally did get on the road a little after 8pm and arrived safely home about 2:30pm.

That story told…Buy Our Cards!  You won’t regret it!


Posted by Felicity on November 24, 2012

I, Mara!

I actually wrote that blog down there!!  It is showing you Felicity’s avatar because I’m using Felicity’s computer!

(And actually I need to make a pregnant avatar for her, because that there is currently an inaccurate rendering–this woman has a baby in her belly!)

Anyway, as not to confuse the voice, it is mine, Mara E. Hesed, esquire.

sell, sell, sell

Posted by Felicity on November 24, 2012

Hey y’all, Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone had a good’n.

Matt and Quinn and I packed up a drove North to San Francisco for the holiday.  So I’m coming to you live from the city by the bay.  We’ve had many wonderful moments here wrangling babies, visiting, cooking, eating AND working.  Fortunately, these are all things we love to do!

We’ve just finished our lunch of leftover turkey, gravy, cranberries, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans.  And at this moment, the babes are napping, like the little angels that they are.  The menfolk are working (Felicity’s husband does computers and works from home…and Mateo is currently fixing the futon that we broke yesterday, oops!)  While Felicity, exactly 8 months pregnant, is resting.  And yours truly is writing blogs.  A fine post-holiday afternoon.

So I wanted to blog to you to apologize a little for the Christmas blitz you’re in for from Hand Drawn by Mara!

I kid.  BUT we are going to send you a couple emails in the coming weeks to remind you of a few important things, they are:  Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, to buy your holiday cards from us and last chance to buy your holiday cards from us.

These official consumer holidays are funny–but we’ve just jumped right on them with the rest of the retail lemmings.  We heard it was Small Business Saturday tomorrow, so we were like, “Hey!  We’re a small biz, about as small as small biz gets, let’s sell cards!”  Well, that AND we kinda actually liked the idea of this as the progressive backlash to Black Friday.  We think you should buy your holiday cards from us rather than Walmart.  In our view, it is better for you and your loved ones and in a tiny way better for the world.

It is precisely because we feel this way that last night, fat and happy after our feast–the babies sleeping and the big boys smoking cigars–Felicity and I got to work folding cards!  This is a product that we render entirely by hand, people.  I draw it.  I scan it to Felicity.  She prints it.  Then we cut, score, fold, package every single card ourselves.

So please just rest assured that when you buy from our smallest of small businesses, you get every bit the small business product you pay for.  That is to say, we care about you and what we’re selling to you.

Our only questionable labor practice maybe is employing an 8 month pregnant woman after 10pm on a national holiday–but other than that, we’re clean!

Hope to see y’all in our online boutique this year…


all my friends

Posted by Mara on November 10, 2012

I’m back!  For more shameless self-promotion, a friend-promotion, and a funny story…

My friends, who are tech geeks (different friends, not promoting these guys, but I will say they’re super good at what they do), called me one day and said, You Should Be On ZAARLY!  Zaarly?  What does that even mean?

Zaarly is an online marketplace that connects buyers to “amazing” local sellers.  (I’ve noticed they use that word a lot, “amazing”.)

Well, following the lead, I called the good people at Zaarly.  They checked out my work, said it was amazing…and the rest is history.  Hand Drawn by Mara now has a storefront on Zaarly.

Their thing is to have pictures of the merchants, to make it more personal, which, you know, I’m totally on board for personal.  But that was kinda funny having the photographer come over and take pictures of me in my studio.  You may notice that we have included exclusively hand drawn renderings of ourselves on our website..?  This is because we are not personal in the least!  Kidding.  I think it’s because we’re shy.  In any case, the photographer did a great job (she’s on Zaarly too if you need a photo taken: Angela Torres), and she took mostly pics of the work, but the star of the shoot was of course Quinn Ford.  I tried to do my best “head shot smile”…what do you think??  Zaarly is sorta like Facebook meets Etsy.  I’m pretty sure I dig it.

Similarly, we now have a Pinterest Page.  Do you know this new-fangled thing, Pinterest?  My friend, who is also an artist (this is still not the one I’m promoting, though I’d like to suggest you view her paintings because she’s great), she’s helping us maintain our Pinterest Page by pinning all these cool images to tickle your gaze.  Check it out, maybe even follow us or like us or something..?

Okay, let’s stop talking about ME and shift the focus to yet another one of my many, many cool friends (!!!)  So this gal lives in St. Louis, we grew up together, went to grade school and high school together, and then ended up on compatible career paths.  I’ve done some drawings for her Snap Stories.  And now she’s launching a very new, very hip product called Indie Mats.  These are like these beautiful, colorful frames that you can put your cutey pictures into and then tape them up to your wall.  What with the holiday buying season coming right up, I would strongly recommend you check out some of her delightful product!

Now then, funny story:

In yoga class the other day, my friend (yes, another friend, a wonderful yoga teacher) was saying that her Zen Master’s Zen Master broke all the Zen teachings down to the simple directive we’ve heard a million times: Pay Attention.  Then the story I’m about to tell you was told to me.  The teller is from Detroit where he grew up without a ton of money.  He remembered his teacher said, Pay Attention.  And one of his spunky classmates responded perfectly innocently, Mrs. Smith, I’m Too Poor To Pay Attention!

Thanks for paying attention to our blog!!!!!!!!

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