My love for art began at a very young age. As a child I enjoyed sketching, painting, and multi-media art projects. I took as many art classes as possible in high school, although I also enjoyed the sciences. As a higher education and career choice, I went into ecology. I got my bachelor's degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the U of Minnesota, and my love for art fell into the background for over 15 years.
During my hiatus from art I pursued other adventures. After college, I spent a couple of years working as a SCUBA instructor at the Minnesota School of Diving, and enjoyed exploring underwater environments in Minnesota, Cayman Brac, Alaska, and Hawaii. That was followed by a three-year stint in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, combining my love of diving and biology to work in coastal marine fisheries. Upon my return to the U.S., I spent a couple of years traveling around the country and a bit abroad, both alone and then with my soon-to-be husband, Joakim. I returned to school to work on my Master's degree, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, then returned to Minnesota and worked for five years at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a biologist in Nongame Research. You may notice the influence of my years as a diver and as a biologist in my artwork.
Then something truly creative happened in my life. I became a mother. Kai Jostein was born in May 2007, and soon afterwards, I gave my notice at the Minnesota DNR. My philosophy about what I wanted to do with my life changed. Suddenly, my career didn't seem quite as important as it once did. After years of education, and small wildlife jobs leading up to the DNR position, I no longer wanted biology to be the driving interest in my life. Don't get me wrong - I still love biology, and care deeply for the environment, but it was no longer the primary focus of my energy. I wanted my son to have all of the benefits I did while growing up: a Mom at home, and as much exposure to nature and creative endeavors as possible.
Two and a half years later, my second son Renn Erik was born, and life would never be the same.
The timing of these shifts in my life coincided with several other factors to give rise to Babacool Arts. For multiple years, a small group of friends of mine have gotten together to have "pottery weekends" with a potter in central Minnesota, Haddie. Haddie's studio, Black Bear Pottery, is charming. It's located deep in the woods about 6 miles west of Garrison, Minnesota. Haddie's encouragement and support has contributed greatly to the birth and creation of Babacool Arts.
I've always had a thing for masks. I've collected masks while traveling, and have a selection from places including Nicaragua, Alaska (Inuit), and Papua New Guinea. Over the years, I have wanted to attend one of Haddie's "mask workshops," but my work as a biologist and other life commitments never allowed me the time. I tried my hand at mask making on one of our first pottery weekends, and loved it! It re-ignited the long dormant artistic bug within me, and inspired me to find the time and means to discover where I can go with it.
As for the metal art, I took a class at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Welding for Artists. Since then, my instructors have moved to their own place of business, Chicago Avenure Fire Arts Center, which I would highly recommend checking out if you are interested in taking metal art classes in a very woman-friendly environment in Minneapolis. Soon after the class, I purchased a plasma cutter, and along with our welder, I am able to create more masks and sculpture in metal at home.
In February 2014, my husband Joakim received a job offer in Lexington, Massachusetts, right outside of Boston. We decided to take it, for we had been talking about moving closer to the ocean for years. Our kids were still young (Kai - 6 and Renn - 4) and would adapt easily to big change. Minnesota's winters were also encouraging us to leave and find milder weather. Joakim started his new job in March, and in June the kids and I followed him with our sailboat, dog, and three chickens. It was a memorable roadtrip! We landed in the lovely town of Sudbury, which is steeped in revolutionary-era history and beautiful conservation lands. With many of our weekends spent on the ocean as we've been dreaming about for a very long time, we are very happy with the big move. In August 2016 we fell in love with an antique farm for sale in Bolton, Massachusetts...only ten miles away from the house we were renting in Sudbury. Bolton is a lovely rural-feeling village well-known for all of it's quaint farms and orchards. We bought the farm, and I am working on converting the beautiful old barn into my art studio - fulfilling a dream I've had for years. Stay tuned - I hope to open my new studio to the public in late summer 2017.
Many people have asked me where I came up with "Babacool." It's french slang for "hippie." In many ways, I feel like a modern-day hippie, with my love for organic food, gardening, and flowing clothes; with my first name being french (Yvette), it seems like it was meant to be.
Last but definitely not least, I have to mention the final influence that made Babacool Arts happen. My husband, Joakim. I would not have pursued this if it wasn't for his loving encouragement and support. He's also a brilliant super geek, and I have benefited. He helped me create this website. Joakim has provided what every partner can only hope for, his complete confidence and a sincere wish to keep me happy.
I hope you enjoy my work. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.