Tom Scherschel & Laurie Zupan
Meet Tom & Laurie, the Makers behind a fistful of mud
"In a fistful of mud, we try to inspire young artists to believe in themselves and their capacity to express themselves through art, writing, dance, etc. The more in touch we are with our feelings and passions and the ability to represent ourselves artistically, the better our collective future will be."
Read their story below
How’d you get your start?
Laurie: We met while teaching elementary school at the same site. I feel very lucky because Tom and I became friends and appreciated each other’s creativity. We first worked on pairing a single painting of Tom’s and a poem of mine that worked together. Then we did more collaborating. a fistful of mud came from both a place of creativity and that teacher-brain that we share.
What inspired you to get your start, any roadblocks along the way?
Tom: Our first book collaboration, Elemental Long Beach, was published by Red Bird Chapbooks. We were inspired by photographs of favorite Long Beach locations. I created the visual art and Laurie wrote poems to capture the mood. We enjoyed that collaboration so much that we looked for a way to combine our artistic leanings to ignite young artists to create. a fistful of mud was rejected by several publishers, but because we wanted to get it in the world, we self-published. I spend about 12 hours a week working on my creative endeavors.
Laurie: Ditto. And since I’m not retired, like Tom, I have much less time to spend on creative work!
"In a fistful of mud, we try to inspire young artists to believe in themselves and their capacity to express themselves through art, writing, dance etc. The more in touch we are with our feelings and passions and the ability to represent ourselves artistically, the better our collective future will be."
Tell us about your perfect day out and about?
Laurie: I know it’s cliche, but I really do like long walks on the beach! I love to stroll around downtown LB and 2nd Street. I love Fern’s Garden and Thai District for food, and if I can get my son to join me, it’s even better!
Tom: What she said! I, too, enjoy walking daily in different Long Beach neighborhoods. I enjoy shopping locally to support the city's merchants. It’s exciting to get to do brunches and Happy Hours again! In my immediate neighborhood, I enjoy Manaow for Thai and Panxa for Happy Hour.
What other skills or crafts have you been working on?
Tom: I’ve been attempting to master wheel throwing.
Laurie: That’s pottery in case any one is thinking Tom is heaving wheels at people. I’m in the process of gathering materials to try it, too. There’s something exciting about the idea of taking a big, grey lump of something (or a fistful of mud) and making it become beautiful or useful.
Tom: She took the words right out of my mouth.
"You don't have to wait until you're grown up.
You can start today.
We believe in you and your creative genius"
What holds more value for you: creativity or knowledge?
Tom and Laurie: Creativity!
Laurie: Creativity is active. I think of knowledge as being passive. I love the action, energy, and power of creating and the idea that whatever is created will live in the viewer’s or reader’s experience, mind and imagination!
Tom: Ditto x2!