Creative Family Series

The Waire Family

by , posted on August 3rd, 2011 in creative family series

Over the past month, I’ve interviewed some of my favorite creative families to see what makes them tick. First we met Deborah and her family, then the de Aguiars, and last week we met the Logues.

In today’s Creative Family installment, we meet John and Sara Waire and their two children Mady and Liam. John is a Baltimore based photographer and Sara works with textiles.

There are several things I love about this family. First, they aren’t afraid to have fun. Second, they are incredibly supportive of one another. And last, but not least, they are one of the all-around coolest families I know.

When I asked John and Sara to be part of the series, they said, “I don’t know. Are we really creative?” I think the answer to that is clear in this interview.

Let’s meet them.



What does creativity mean to you?

she said:

I think creativity is when you turn your ideas and imaginations into art. I don’t think art is necessarily confined to what you might find in a museum or gallery. It’s in the books we read to ourselves and our children, the colors in nature, the animations in movies, and when you find yourself snapping photos of your life. Art is all around us.

he said:

self expression without bounds.



How do you nurture your own creativity?

he said:

I tend to throttle back and observe life and the art of others.

she said:

I’m always in the mood to make something new or turn something old into something new to me. I will sew into the wee hours, start painting a piece of furniture at midnight, and I often fight the urge to hang pictures while the kids are asleep.



How do you nurture it in your children?

she said:

We try to foster what naturally appeals to them. Mady loves art and dance. You will often find her dancing at the check out line at Trader Joe’s. It’s her form of expression and I prefer it to her tantrums. She could also spend hours coloring and painting and goes nuts in the crafts stores. Liam seems to be musically inclined. I think there are a set of drums in that little man’s future!

he said:

I think Sara nailed this one. We support anything the kids are interested in with enthusiasm. We allow them to take the lead, explore and experiment. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to creativity, so it’s important that we provide them with an environment that allows them with flexibility.



What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together as a family?

she said:

We love being outdoors with them, allowing them to truly be kids by running free and getting dirty.

he said:

I love trips to the zoo or a farm. The kids really light up with excitement, imitating the animals movements and sounds. If there’s dirt around our little guy will find it.



How have you been able to integrate work with pursuing your creative passions?

he said:

My work and creativity go hand in hand. Photographing families has to be my favorite kind of session—it truly gets my creative gears spinning and just makes makes me genuinely happy. I think I enjoy it the most because it mirrors the stage of life that I’m currently experiencing. Documenting the simple, everyday moments and interactions is powerful for me. I imagine that I’m shooting my own family and that hardly feels like work



What are you working on now?

she said:

I’m finishing up a dress for Mady, refinishing a piece of furniture that has been moved about 22 times around the house, and making a wreath out of flowers that my hubby has given to me throughout the years (almost done, need more flowers—wink wink).

he said:

I’m finishing up my some edits on my latest family session and gearing up for a very busy wedding season. I hope my wife remains patient for the next several months. There may be some flowers in it for her.



John, how did you get involved in photography? Sara, how did you get involved in sewing?

he said:

It’s something that I hemmed and hawed over for a long time. Sara finally told me to stop talking about it and do it! Like a good husband, I listened.

she said:

I learned to sew in junior high school and until John bought me a sewing machine for my birthday last year, it was the last time I had touched one. I was so happy that I picked it back up fairly quickly. I guess I just always had it in me. I love fabrics and being able to take something from one form and turn it into another.



Did you pursue coursework in creativity in school (e.g. arts, etc) or do you come by this on your own?

she said:

Big props to my 7th and 8th grade home economics teachers!

he said:

I studied the fine arts at the Mitchell Studio of Fine Arts (in Towson) from the age of 10 through 15. In my sophomore year in high school, I took a half year of photography. I learned the basic principles of the craft and spent a lot of time in the darkroom. Unfortunately, I didn’t pursue it until later in life and decided to fly by the seat of my pants.



From time to time everyone’s creative juices wane. How do you handle that? Do you do anything in particular? Does it cause you any anxiety or do you just let it pass?

she said:

For me, finding time to work on my projects with 2 energetic kids is sometimes creative in itself. I tend to sew when Liam is napping or when both kids are asleep for the night. Finding new fabrics usually gets me out of a funk.

he said:

This frustrate me to no end. Typically I will unplug and immerse myself into my family, where more times than not, the creative spark is rekindled. Unplugging is crucial for me because as much as social media can be a blessing, it can also be a creative’s curse. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and feel perpetually behind the eight ball.



Thanks John and Sara for the photos and sitting down for the interview.

You can follow John on twitter here or here and on facebook.

StumbleUponFacebookTwitterShare it!


9 Responses to “Creative Family Series”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    One of my favorite creative families too :)

  2. johnwaire Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    thanks again for including us :) we’re flattered beyond belief…

  3. michael dumont millhollin Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Great interview… It doesn’t get any better than this!

  4. joya Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    such a fun interview! i really love the photography- seems so real and editorial at the same time! (esp love the one of sara and the two children reading!)

  5. johnwaire Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    thanks so much joya. i love that photo too because everyone was doing their own thing. in this case, sara on her iPhone, mady on her iPad…and liam, for the 1st time…on my iPhone :) i called it ‘the modern family’ :)

  6. Erin (aka bridedesign) Says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    So cool to see the other 3/4 of John! And I love how “together” and yet different John and Sara’s answers were. It reminds me of my husband and I (engineer and artist…but both in the business of making and producing things) and how we approach parenting.

    I also love it that so many of my favorite peeps from all over the internet (Jennifer from The Switchboards, John from the wedding crew on Twitter) know each other as well. Maybe all the cool kids live in MD!? Great interview Jennifer!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks Erin! Perhaps it’s that you’re the nexus of all the cool kids, being one yourself.

  7. Kirsten Says:

    August 4th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    funny, I was just trying to explain to the hubs how I knew about John & how much I loved his photos. And then this popped up in my feed! Fantastic interview – real, but inspiring.

  8. Frances Says:

    August 4th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Love the questions and answers as well as the wonderful images of the family. I agree with Erin’s comment above. John and Sara have distinct points-of-view but their responses compliment each other very well. Great interview.

« previous  |  next »