find the Link above at NY HANDMADE COLLECTIVE
MARCH 08, 2018March is National Women's History month and today is International Women's Day! "International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific." (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/)The first time I heard of this "holiday" was on a visit to Italy back in 2001. It was a big deal over there and I had not heard anything about it in the US. Since that trip, I've become more aware of the day and the overall global growth of celebrating women. I find it inspiring and in joining the world in celebration today, want to share stories of female inspiration from NY Handmade Collective team members.The NY Handmade Collective member base is almost exclusively women artists and business owners trying to change their economic path, do positive work for the health of our planet and our bodies, and make really amazing handmade art and goods for consumers predominantly in NYC, but beyond our borders. I should note that our team does have men - creative men, that own Etsy shops and make gorgeous art, and help run our team - who are deeply appreciated.The stories below brought tears to my eyes, but even more, I was humbled. To share deeply personal stories about women is to share stories that shape us individually - not all stories are light and fun, but almost all of them leave you feeling connected and awed. I hope you enjoy these stories, as well as feel inspired. When you buy handmade, there is often a strong woman of the past celebrating not just your purchase, but the continuation of their lives, skills, and expertise from our hands to yours.Remembering Dorothy Finkle Kaufman, 1905-1987 - By Jan Finnell, "A woman who inspired me was my aunt, Dorothy Finkle Kaufman. Dorothy was unusual in her family of 8 siblings, as she contracted polio at the age of five in 1910 in Trenton, New Jersey. Her very devout Jewish father even brought her to the nuns at a local convent for prayers in the hopes of healing her. He parents were immigrants from Russia and Lithuania and her father owned a general store. Money was tight and he lost it during the Depression.Dot was a vibrant and capable member of her family who was not content to stay at home and be cared for; she was a graduate of Rider College and went to work as a secretary, wearing special shoes, leg braces and using canes to walk. She helped other disabled people find employment while working for the State of New Jersey and in her forties, married her boss, Benjamin Kaufman, a highly decorated veteran of World War I and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor and Croix de Guerre.Despite her disability, she traveled worldwide with Ben both politically and socially, unlike her able-bodied brothers and sisters. She and Ben, who were married for over 30 years until his death in 1981, became parents to her parents, served as the foundation of her family, and built a home that accommodated their physical limitations. She was my father’s closest sister and confidante, and my surrogate mother. it was a pleasure to be a part of her world, as she had exquisite, sophisticated taste and was a lovely and gracious woman with a twinkle in her eye and lavished love and attention on me as if I were her own daughter (she had no children).We had a special connection and I admired her for her fully realized life, despite a truly terrible health event. I like to think that my hours spent playing with her jewelry box, examining the decor in her home, its textures and colors and absorbing her many interests prepared me for my career as a designer, first in theatre, where I designed costumes for over 30 years, and now as a metalsmith, where the design journey continues. She died in 1987, but in the 30 years since she has been by my side, cheering me on, inspiring me to keep going and creating, no matter what.Jewelry Inspired by My Grandmother and Mother - by Deirdre Bialo-Padin, My grandmother, Esther Meyerson Bialo, was a single parent. Born in the 1890’s, in addition to being a public school teacher in NYC, she was a theatrical costume designer. As a kid, I poured over her collection of books on the history of fashion, and spent many hours draping and pinning fabric she had collected from all over the world on a mannequin in her apartment.My mother, Margarita Teresa Padin, as an underage teenager ran away from home and joined the army in WWII using someone else’s identity, and spent the war working as a truck dispatcher. She took courses in celestial navigation because she wanted to be in the Merchant Marines. After the war she obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. She collected tools and made repairs around the house. Because we had no money, and because I think she needed a creative outlet, she made all of our clothing when we were kids. Always practical, she used Velcro for fastening our clothing (to my mortification as a kid; as an adult I have to respect her engineer’s approach to problem solving), long before its use became popular.Both of these women also loved and collected jewelry, and under their influence I did as well for years before I began making jewelry. I absorbed their aesthetics and their appreciation for color and texture, and I think their influence is reflected in my jewelry. My current display incorporates some of the fabric they collected. My mother’s sewing machine is in my studio, and I still use some of her tools. My memories of them keep me company when I’m in my studio.Two Powerful Women: My Mom + My Wife - by Raquel Busa, My name is Raquel. I just joined the team this February. My Etsy shop iswww.maquina37.etsy.com and I specialize in making cloth doll caricatures of people. I also make quilts and greeting cards. A doll that is custom made to look like someone sends the message “I love you, just the way you are.” I would love to share the story of two women who have inspired me. My mom was 26 when she came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. She had six children and was a widow. She also started working in factories (sewing) to make enough money to bring her children over one by one. She met my father, was remarried and had me. All seven children grew up together. But unfortunately, my mother was widowed a second time when I was ten. Despite all the sorrow she has faced, she keeps going, and she is always happy and graceful. She recently retired at 69 years old. She is now taking English classes, traveling and enjoying life.The other woman who inspires me is my wife. My wife is a retired police officer. She joined the police department in the late 80's. She faced a lot of discrimination for being a woman and for being a lesbian. Despite the hardships she faced, she lived openly and had a successful career. I feel in love with her strength and courage. I asked her to marry me in 2014. We were married in August of that year. And in 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That same year, I ran the New York City Marathon and dedicated the race to her. At the finish line, a read this little speech I had prepared, "....Whenever I doubted myself, you were my confidence. And, you were always honest and nurturing. Over the last few months, you were struggling with your own race. And still, even when you weren't feeling good, you always managed to put us first. You were always selfless. You taught me that 'life is tough my darling, but so are you.' You were my strength...I dedicate my run to you. All 26.2 miles for my wife." I gave her a necklace with the pendant of the marathon with the inscription "for my wife" on the back. She beat cancer.Oh my gosh, I rattled on for a long time. The point is, my mom's work ethic inspired me to create a business of my own. And, my wife's story encourages me to embrace who I am and do the things that truly make me happy. The first doll I ever made that looked like someone was of her.Inspired by Nature and the Public Women Figures Who Fought for our Parks and Land - by Maha Saedaway, I am inspired by nature and every women who has worked to preserve and conserve nature, land, and parks such as Eleanor Roosevelt, a Former First Lady of the United States of American, and alsoSusan B. Anthony, a reformer, educator, and advocate of women's and human rights. Both women lived in NY State. The preservation of nature is directly related to that of women's right and human rights. It's shown in patterns, color and the textures of the different seasons.ETSY is a global market place that gives artists the right to engage and believe in humanity. It's also a place where a lot of women own small businesses.HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!Creative Genes Run in the Family - by Phyllis C. Stevens, I owe my inspiration to my mother and grandmothers, the latter of whom came to this country from Russia. My grandmothers knew very little English and would speak to my mother and father in Yiddish, bits of which I picked up over the years. Both grandmothers were very creative; and I remember how we'd put holiday stencils up on the windows, wrap and decorate Christmas gifts, etc., which were very innovative in their own right. However, the most creative and imaginative was my mother; and I'm sure I inherited her craft genes. We didn't have extra money for toys and dolls' clothes; so even though she worked full-time, on weekends she'd fabricate all my dolls' outfits which she'd sew by hand and make wonderful paper doll families for me to play with. I wish I had saved them.
Give thanks to the women in your life. Celebrate their success, failures, and inspiration. Happy International Women's Day!