arts & music

Women with Spark! Inspiration to Kickstart Your Year

by Bridget — January 1, 2019
spark, sparkler, sparklers, woman, inspire, inspiration, female

A little female spark of inspiration to start the year off with positive vibes! Some of our favourite things created by fabulously dynamic women…

We made it! It’s 2019 and I don’t know about you but I sure could use some creative motivation right now, an extra spark (or sparkle!) to start the year off in style. For this group post we’ll be sharing the creations of women who inspire us. Here we have moving thoughts & words, ideas & concepts, and wearables–because we’re a creatively diverse bunch of women. Grab a cup of tea and read on… –The Head Empress

Cheney Brew – CANBERRA, Australia

spark, Tatiana, white noise, model, find yourself, criticism,

I read a lot of the internet, and hardly any of it lasts in my mind long enough for conversation material in the office tearoom. But every now and then I read something that sticks. This article was written more than a decade ago, which basically qualifies it as ancient online scripture. It was written by Jenna Sauers, who at the time was writing a column for Jezebel under the moniker Tatiana, The Anonymous Model. No one knew much about Tatiana then, except she was a working runway model who wasn’t afraid to peel back the glamorous veneer of that world and tell it like it was.

I learned a lot from Tatiana–like how much debt many working models were in, or how elaborate hairstyles from runway shows meant your hair was often left literally burnt or falling out in clumps. But the article I return to the most is this article where Tatiana describes the critiques she receives at model castings. She describes that period of time, where she was seen as nothing more than a set of body parts, as an eventually liberating experience that led her towards showing up as who she really was. It was a really valuable lesson in an unexpected place. I re-read that article at least once a year to remind myself to ignore the “white noise” of critiques women deal everyday about their appearance.

Amber Henry – Alumna YELLOWKNIFE, Canada

The line “never say never” was something that stuck with me long after I saw the movie Fried Green Tomatoes [based on the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flag] and is still with me today. At the time I believed it to mean: try new things. But with age and perhaps wisdom, I now know it to mean that ‘never‘–a solid, definite word–does not reflect the human population. We are not solid in our convictions and we’re certainly not definite in our path. The things we believe in today may not be the things we believe in tomorrow. I will never have children, I will never be poor, I will never run a marathon… While it may seem impossible today, tomorrow our perspective will change. I believe we’re doing ourselves a favour to leave the path ahead open, removing all road blocks and taking a step forward without the chains of never holding us back.

JoAnna Pollonais – NEW YORK, United States 

I recently read Michelle Obama‘s book, Becoming, and enjoyed it thoroughly—the narrative moves at a measured and engaging clip (kudos to her ghostwriter) and it was fascinating to learn more about the life of a woman I had presumed was afforded many of “the” things throughout her life.

Turning 40 this year ushered in a new dawn for me. This, quite literally, new age has seemed to upend many a thing and thrust me into an uncomfortable, eye-opening, bitter tasting, soul-shaking period. I’ve come to learn all the things I thought would have fallen into place by now haven’t because I spent too much time adhering to false expectations. Those ideas of what life was supposed to be like came from fractioned, incomplete and cobbled together codes and stories of others. Information learned at home and in school, among friends and in the workplace. I now see the first 20 years of my life were about indoctrination, while my 20s and 30s were focused on an awakening…realising the truth. It’s lead me to where I am now, which is at the crossroads. I either choose to stay in a state of eyes-half-shut-semi-sleep or wake up fully and set as many fires as I can. 

Begin razing. Rebuilding. Reconstructing. 

All that is to say that as I move through this unmarked territory (A valley? A forest? A bog of quicksand?) I’ve been on the lookout for mentors and icons. Guides and sages. I’ve been seeking women (WOC and women 40+ in particular) I can look to, or connect with, and/or learn from as I cover more distance. Women who talked the talk and walked the walk but—when they realised they didn’t care for direction they were headed or the speed/style of their gait—learned how to check themselves, and sucker punch fear, and turn themselves inside out and back again, and make blind choices, and believe in the power of these actions. I have an abundance of admiration for women, the wild ones, the rebels, hermits, and queens, who have mastered this art. 

Or damn well trying. There is merit in that. 

Michelle Obama is one of these women and when I read her words and think about her story I am reminded: Anything is possible. Uncertainty is a given. We are resilient beyond measure. And there is enough—for her, for you, for them, for us, and for me too. 

It’s time I claimed all the enough earmarked in my name. That’s part of the process.

Myranda Bolstad – YELLOWKNIFE, Canada

I’m sharing this article of Joy Demorra‘s because it is a good reminder that words have value, and no story is too unimportant to tell, no matter what someone might try to tell us.

spark, book, magical, words, powerful words, share words

Lem von Brünken – MUNICH, Germany

spark, NASA, software engineer, female engineer, woman, woman engineer, smart woman, Margaret Hamilton

I‘m inspired by the work of Margaret Hamilton and her work as an MIT software engineer for NASA‘s Apollo Program. She not only did badass code work for the Guidance Systems, she also coined the term “software engineering” as a means to legitimize her work and set it apart from other engineering fields in a time when programming was not seen as science nor taken serious at all. 

By the time I was between the ages of 14-16 and got curious about software and programming, a lot had changed. The programming field had been taken over by men, and I was told that writing code is science and nothing for girls. We were told at school how to type with 10 fingers, while the boys were allowed to write code. Margaret Hamiton and other female pioneers of software engineering remind me of the fact that writing code has never been a male only domain, and that the foundations of this field of science had been built by great female mathematicians, scientists, and programmers. We should look at these foundations with pride, continue to build upon them, while encouraging girls and women to work in these scientific fields. After all, we are not new to them–women have always been a part. 

Bridget Steis – HONG KONG SAR, China

I’m sharing the creations of a woman who thoroughly inspires me as an artist, entrepreneur, and human being, Nathalie Melville. Originally from London but living in Hong Kong long enough to become a citizen, she has busted her butt and grown not one–but two–incredible jewellery businesses. The first is her own ethical brand Melville Fine Jewellery, and the second is a teaching academy and studio the Hatton Jewellery Institute.

Lucky to know this creative woman personally, Nathalie is one of my all-time BFFs. We often introduce each other our as our Hong Kong Wife. Someone who’s excellent company while our husbands work late, a there through thick and thin type of friend. Never having to worry about running out of things to talk about, we often have rousing debates and have been known to change each others views.

I love Nathalie for numerous reasons but surely the most inspiring is the creative talent and the spark that started both of her companies out of nothing. She started with one make-shift bench in her HK flat and grew her empire from there. I’m proud of her and awed by her. I love going to her amazing events–frequently as her stand in spouse–and yes sure, I’m also green with envy. Who wouldn’t be? Talent, style, brains and beauty. I’m still searching for my own niche, like searching for the puzzle piece that’s the perfect fit. In the meantime, I will continue to be grateful to have Nathalie as a collaborator and friend. Always inspiring, always on the go!

Nathalie Melville, inspiration, spark, jewellery, jewels, art, design

These are only a small taste of Nathalie’s creations. Follow her on Instagram for even more. Oh, and that might be me at the bottom modelling the necklace and ring.

We hope you feel inspired… Feel free to let us share other inspirational women and their work in the comments!

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