The Future is Female kicked off on January 14 with daily entries written and curated by myself and, now, 12 other women.
Each contributor is on an achievement path toward a goal.
Crispina Ffrench - Sunday
Crispina ffrench is the mother of ‘Textile Waste Alchemy’. She’s been turning discarded textiles into useful things since 1987. A passionate environmentalist, maker and women’s empowerer, ffrench has authored a teaching book The Sweater Chop Shop. She teaches, blogs, and makes and sells her work at select retail events and at www.crispina.com
Suzi Banks Baum - Monday
Okay. Who the heck am I? I am a writer. I am an artist. And I am a teacher. I make a ton of stuff with my hands. I travel to teach what I teach to places like the International Women’s Writing Guild, to the Ramsdell Public Library in Housatonic, MA, and to Gyurmi, Armenia where on Rustavelli Street I live in a thick walled old stone building. I am a gardener and I preserve the harvest–, quince, peaches, blackberries, or plums.
Jane Feldman - Monday
Award winning photojournalist. A former New York City fashion photographer and producer, whose dedication to human rights led her to international projects with Amnesty International and to create portraits of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, as well as Indigenous Elders from many tribes Worldwide. She is both Coauthor & Photographer of Jefferson’s Children (Random House) which she coauthored with Jefferson-Hemings descendants. Her work continues on a documentary based on the book. Jane’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, TIME, PBS’s Frontline, CBS Sunday Morning, the History Channel, and many other magazines. In addition to a variety of special projects, Jane works with clients in New York City, the Berkshires and on location around the world.
Cathy Wilkerson - Tuesday
Life is a journey and I am looking forward to the next six weeks of being uncomfortable by being vulnerable, learning and being inspired by this incredible ensemble of kick-ass women Crispina has assembled. Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, ends with “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
This will be at the center of my thoughts as I make, create and write here in this space for the next several weeks.
Shari Moraga - Tuesday
I love making useful goods that are simple and lovely. I was a decorative painter for 25 years, my start was in NYC. When I imagined that the fountain at Lincoln Center was a creek I knew it was time to head west. In Boulder I immediately began painting, then got married and the family grew...a son, dogs, chickens and ducks. From painting with brushes I began experimenting with drawing with thread.
Leo was my grandfather. He had an amazing old store in Newark, NJ. He opened after a long journey from Prague to Spain to South America. Picking up languages along the way, he ended up in NYC, then NJ. He married Lilly Rand and opened a dry goods store, classic awning that said "Leo's Dry Goods." Some Saturdays I would go down and sit on a big, worn wooden stool and help out. Once in a while a customer would give me quarter.
Back then nothing was made with anything but natural materials, and it was made well. Hopefully I am making a difference in supplying handmade goods, modern with a nod to vintage.
Beth-Marie Gardner - Wednesday
When there are two forks in the road I take neither and find the deer trail. I’m comfortable with discomfort.
What I am motivated by is the good life. Connection, freedom and bad assery are my core values. I’m living the cowgirl dream. I have an off-grid, homemade house, farm , gardens, cattle, sheep, hogs, birds and eight horses. My man has been my best friend for 15 years. He is my anchor, my refuge, my pain in the ass. My family grows, raises and processes much of our food. Teaching our kids how to work with their hands and the value of good food and where it comes from has been central to our life.
Damaras Obi - Wednesday
Damaras is an actress, author and Voice Over artist based in New York City. Her collaborations include audio and written books done with Schoalstic, Lincoln Center and Penguin Random House publishing. Alongside her artistic work, Damaras is an activist for Human Rights and Social Justice. You can visit her on Instagram: @Damarasobi
Madeline Stewart - Thursday
Hello! My name is Madeline Stewart and I like to climb trees.
I have just embarked on the final months of my Undergraduate career in Glass Art at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In approximately two and a half months, my Thesis Show will be displayed, followed by graduation a month after. I am stepping nearer to a major transitional period in my life…but before I get there, I am immersed in this home stretch of completing my Thesis; the accumulation of four big years of exploration, discovery, and creation.
Monica Callan - Thursday
In my 30s I finally forced myself to introduce myself as “Artist” by getting a vanity plate I would have to explain (with the name of my emerging company), and people did ask (because they wanted to know if I loved the drink Moxie too—I don’t). I am a theater maker, this arcane, ancient practice that only religion is able to maintain some presumed relevance and revenue, unless, of course, you’re Disney. My work is experiential, ephemeral, like a wisp of smoke, only there for a moment before it lives as memory -- if you happened to see it. You can’t eat it, wear it, touch it, drive it, trade it, often it’s even hard to describe. It’s work that affects its audience on a cellular level -- or it doesn’t. It’s completely obscure and contrary to our fast moving world of instant gratification, screen addiction, and strategic money mongering, which for me, makes it that much more important to create.
Siobhan Rodgers - Friday
Well I am an 18 year old, I currently go to Berkshire Community College, I am not working at the moment, I hang out with my friends as much as I can especially when they are home from school, I have 7 month old dreads, I have been vegan for almost 2 years, I am passionate about the problems that are happening the world, I like going to music festivals, I play the ukelele and I sing, blah bah blah.
That is just regular 18 year old things and those things don't define me as a person...
Jayme Hummer - Friday
Jayme lives in Denver, Colorado and travels to Hawaii as much as possible. She gets lit up about style, wellness, the Hawaiian Islands and gender equality.
Donna Motta - Saturday
My name is Donna Motta; at times I write and publish under the name of Laurel Joy Graceson... I will actually be writing more about the origin of my pseudonym, but for now I will begin with an introduction of myself, and what I wish to share and accomplish with my blog posts.
I am a 48year Ager...Wife; Mom of many ( I have 5 biological children, and 3 stepchildren); homeschooler of my two youngest girls, who are 12 and 13; Community Volunteer and Advocate; 4H Volunteer; Sunday School Teacher; Poet/ Spoken Word Performer; Writer; Visual Artist; Maker; Healer; Counselor... and it seems like I may indeed wear a few more hats.
Jill Schwartz - Saturday
Jill’s career as a jewelry designer started when she was 3 years old. Forbidden to have pierced ears, she craftily resorted to gluing beads to her ears. The daughter of two designers, you could say she has design in her blood. You could also say she crossed an ocean to find it.
While her design education from Cornell and Pratt gave her discipline, it was her travels through Europe in her early 20s that ignited her passion. Her love for shopping led her to bead stores, and her talent for putting them together in unique ways found her her first admirers as she travelled on trains. It was then she realized that she could be making money to buy her an extra day in Europe. That extra day turned into a year, and Elements/Jill Schwartz was born.
You’ll no longer find her jewelry sold on the beaches of Mykonos or hawked at cafés in Amsterdam. Her company’s brands are now sold in boutiques and major chains around the world. And while her mixture of unusual vintage and modern materials has evolved over the years, each piece is still unmistakably, inimitably “Jill.”