Monday, November 19, 2012

Spotted: Misha Blaise on Apartment Therapy

I just stumbled upon a piece of my art hanging in a home that was recently featured on the Apartment Therapy blog!

You can see the whole shoot here; it is the the home of the owner of an awesome local business, MakeATX, where you can play with LASERS! This image that was featured (below) is called "Night" and is available at my Etsy shop!

"Night" by Misha Maynerick Blaise

Saturday, November 10, 2012

East Side Studio Tour 2012: Show is up!

The tour is ON! We will be open Nov 10/11 and Nov 17/18 from 11am-6pm.  3209 Walnut Ave.  Some pics of the art hanging around my house, by me and Anis Mojgani...
Art by Anis Mojgani

Art by Anis Mojgani--detail
Hanging the show, Anis Mojgani

Art by Anis Mojgani

Art by Anis Mojgani

Art in the dining room.
Chickens! Misha Maynerick Blaise
Art by Misha Blaise

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Birth Resources

I have been chatting with some of my friends who are pregnant or have new babies, and I thought I would share a bit about my birth story and compile a few of my favorite pregnancy/new baby resources in one place for those who are interested!

Surprisingly, Austin Texas is a veritable hub of midwifery, with several birthing centers and hundreds of independent midwives. I chose to give birth to my first son with no drugs in a midwife center. There was no option for epidural or other pain killers, nor were there any drugs like Pitocin available to speed up the labor. Make no mistake, my labor, like many labors, was long and difficult. I definitely hit a point where I wanted an epidural, but not enough to transfer to a hospital in order to get one. Once I accepted I was going all natural, I got down to business and didn't think of pain killers again. I was amazed by the overwhelming power of labor and the incredible journey of birthing in this way. I definitely felt like a warrior when I finally gave birth to my beautiful son.

I hadn't originally planned to give birth this way. In fact, at the beginning of pregnancy I told my husband that I planned to get an epidural as soon as possible during labor so that I wouldn't have to feel any pain. I hate feeling any physical discomfort, especially cramps, so the idea of feeling cramps x1000 for 24 hours was the last thing I wanted to experience!

We stumbled upon a movie that was available on instant demand on Netflix: A documentary by Ricki Lake called The Business of Being Born. I was tremendously impacted by this movie. There was just so much I didn't know about birth and the birthing "industry". I think this movie is a great starting point for any pregnant woman who wants to be more educated about her childbirth options.

For the birth of my second son, labor went a LOT quicker and I definitely had more of a handle on it, since I knew what to expect. However, I will say my saving grace in my second labor was NITROUS OXIDE (i.e. laughing gas!). The birthing center I was at (Austin Area Birthing Center) had just begun using it. As soon as I started using it, my labor transformed. I progressed very quickly and I completely relaxed into my body. I still felt pain, but I was in a sort of altered "go with the flow" state. As it turns out, generations of women in parts of Europe, all of Australia and Canada have turned to nitrous during labor, but in the US, it is virtually unheard of. As usual, there is a bunch of red tape around it and hospitals have realized that epidurals make them way more money than a tank of nitrous, which costs like $60 and can administered by any trained nurse (i.e.-doesn't require skills of an expensive anesthesiologist). If your hospital or midwife does not have nitrous, you should be sure to express your desire for it and advocate for it--there is no reason why women should not have access to it during childbirth! Here is an excellent article about it in the Atlantic.

Here are some of the books I would recommend for those interested in learning more about birthing options and birthing with a midwife. I am too lazy to write my own reviews, so I'm just cutting and pasting the reviews from other sites :) I think these books are totally inspirational; even if you are planning a hospital birth they remind you of the sacred process you will be a part of. I could not put these books down and I read them each several times, both times I was pregnant!

Misha's Picks 

Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga By Carol Leonard
Often laugh-out-loud funny and irreverent, occasionally disturbing and deeply sorrowful,Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart is the saga of Ms. Leonard's fated journey as a young midwife. Her story intertwines three threads: Her dedication to the mothers and babies she was groomed to attend; the growing renaissance, despite formidable opposition, of the profession of midwifery in New Hampshire and then in the United States; and finally, a powerful, tragic love story.

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife By Peggy Vincent
More than a collection of birth stories, Baby Catcher is a provocative account of the difficulties that midwives face in the United States. With vivid portraits of courage, perseverance, and love, this is an impassioned call to rethink technological hospital births in favor of more individualized and profound experiences in which mothers and fathers take center stage in the timeless drama of birth.

Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin
This is staple reading. This woman was key in revitalizing the midwifery movement in the U.S.

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner.
If you are interested in a very hard core investigation into hospital births you can check this book out. Despite being a wealthy nation, the US has very poor maternal outcomes. The book gives a good review of the stats around American overuse of labor drugs and c-sections, and pretty brutal though and should only be read while pregnant IF you are not prone to freaking out about the risks around birth. I just wanted the facts and this book definitely provides them!

*Starred Review* The outspoken former director of Women's and Children's Health at the World Health Organization believes maternity and perinatal care in the U.S. are seriously flawed. To make the point, he cites recent Centers for Disease Control findings that 28 countries have lower maternity-mortality rates; 41, lower infant-mortality rates. This despite the fact that the U.S. spends twice as much or more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation. Wagner places responsibility squarely on the shoulders of obstetricians and the lobbying power of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

This Article by the Atlantic, Using Laughing Gas to Relieve the Pain of Childbirth, is about using laughing gas instead of an epidural during childbirth. I did this for my second birth and it was incredible. The laughing gas totally helped me to relax and let my body take over. I started progressing really quickly after I started using it. The great thing about it is that you are in control--you inhale it when you need it, and as soon as you take the mask off, the effects wear off. 


Basically, the second after you give birth, your entire focus shifts from the anticipation of labor to survival with a newborn. Namely, your chief concerns will be handing breastfeeding and SLEEP!

Once again, ol' Ina May Gaskin has a must have breastfeeding guide, named appropriately Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding. You will need it. Just buy it. 

As for sleep, we tried several different books and methods. The one that worked for us and that we still use today when we encounter issues with our older child as well as our baby, is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.  This guy is a bonafide sleep doctor and his recommendations are totally evidence based. He offers several approaches to sleep training and not all involve crying. But, he is quick to say that the method that involves crying (Extinction Method) is extremely effective and works faster than any other approach. And in our experience, he is right. Don't be a hater until you have only slept a few hours a night for weeks on too might want to try it and experience the peace of consolidated sleep! 

As for websites: Besides which is basically the Amazon of all things pregnancy and baby related, is a great online site for all things breastfeeding related, and other parenting issues. 

Best of luck and I hope these resources are useful to you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

East Austin Studio Tour 2012

I'm thrilled to be partnering with my long-time bud, Anis Mojgani, for the East Side Studio Tour here in Austin, Texas! Anis is a totally badass poet who travels all over the world performing and has won both national and international slam poetry competitions. This is the debut of his art in Texas.

We will be showing work together at my house, 3209 Walnut Ave., Nov. 10/11 &17/18 from 11am -6pm.  Here is a little more of a sampling of the work we will be showing:

Anis Mojgani
Anis Mojgani
Misha Mayerick Blaise

Misha Maynerick Blaise
Misha Maynerick Blaise

Our home is also the first Passive House in Texas. Along with showing our art, my husband Nick, who built the house, will be available to give tours or answer any questions.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

East Side Studio Tour Opening Reception 2012: Austin, Texas

For the second year in a row, we will open our house up for 2 weekends and participate in the East Austin Studio Tour.  Tonight was the opening reception for the show; there was some really excellent work and this year's show looks awesome.

Our home will be open November 10/11 & 17/18  2012 from 11am - 6pm.  Anis Mojgani will also be showing at our place. Stay tuned for an official flyer that I will post here soon.

My piece hanging at the show (Misha Maynerick Blaise)

Misha Maynerick Blaise

Friday, November 2, 2012

Art, Typography, and Mike Ditka

I've come to feel out of touch with all fall and winter holidays now that I live in Austin; without cold air or snow on the ground I can't quite wrap my head around these seasonal transitions. Out of nowhere, Halloween was 2 days ago! Around 2pm on Halloween day I thought to myself, "hmmm...what should I dress up as this year?" and then promptly decided to do what I have done for the past few years, which is to just dress in black and pretend that it counts as a costume, even though I would wear the same outfit on pretty much any other day.

Luckily my husband has been planning our son's costume for about the past year. My husband is originally from Chicago and he has very precisely cultivated a "Chicago guy" voice with which he says things like "Go Bearz....Sausage...Ditka."  Very SNL circa 10 years ago. So this Mike Ditka costume idea was really all him.

Now that it is the day after Halloween, the TV is already lighting up with Christmas commercials!  Although the x-mas holidays seem like a vague idea at this point, in the world of retail everyone is already cranking out their holiday gift lines.  I have been working on my own new stuff for a few holiday shows, and I'm posting them in my Etsy shop today!

These typography prints are 7.6" x 9.5" and will pop easily into a standard frame matted for an 8"x10"print.

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