Like many artists, sculptor Emilie Brzezinski pours her pain into her work.
Emilie has experienced a lot of hardship over the last two years. Her husband Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, died in May 2017; Emilie survived two heart attacks a week later. She also was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
To improve her health, octogenarian Emilie is spending time in Florida’s warmer climate. But she needs her art — and recently made clear to her children that she misses her studio in northern Virginia.
Her daughter, Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, shared an inside look of her mother’s beloved studio earlier this week.
Mika began the studio tour by standing inside a large wooden sculpture called “Mother Earth,” a piece that Emilie is currently working on.
“This is her studio. This is her life, and she wants it back — so I’ve got to bring it to her,” Mika said of her mother.
“She misses her art. She misses her winch. She misses her chainsaw,” Mika said as she walked through the studio.
Emilie has spoken about the strength she finds through her work and her family. “[The way I know] my value is to be able to exist as an artist,” she told Mika last year.
At the time, Emilie was preparing for her first show after her husband’s death. “Why do I keep going? I keep going because my children poke me all the time,” she said smiling, referring to Mika and her brothers Mark and Ian.
“It’s different [now],” Emilie added. “I like to move forward a little bit.”
In her new studio tour video, Mika noted that Emilie continues to use same tools she has for decades: axes, mallets and heavy steel chainsaws (in addition to a dusty boombox “that’s been here since like 1980”).
“She likes all the heavy tools. She will not have her balance put off by these light new ones,” Mika said. “I’ve got to figure out how to recreate this in Florida, because she needs to follow her dreams.”
That desire of Emilie’s has resonated deeply with Mika, who said she is planning with a “joint mother-daughter event called ‘Rediscovering Your Value,’ because I feel like my mom and I are very much in a similar place.”