anna brones

writer + artist + activist

In the Footsteps of Creative Women

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I’ve always been drawn to the Southwest. Perhaps it’s because there are so many stark contrasts to my native Pacific Northwest. Lush, wet greens replaced by dusty pinks, light and dryness instead of wet grays. The reasons that I love the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest are also what drive me to seek out places elsewhere, not because I am trying to replace them, but because I am so inspired by the differences to be found elsewhere.

The colors of the sky, intense and dusty all at the same time. The smell of sage brought out by the heat of the sun. That feeling of the desert resonates with me, even though I’ve never lived there, and perhaps never will.

I am not the only one to have drawn inspiration from that landscape.

“I found out that the sunshine in New Mexico could do almost anything with one: make one well if one felt ill, or change a dark mood and lighten it. It entered into one’s deepest places and melted the thick, slow densities. It made one feel good. That is, alive.”

That’s a quote from Mabel Dodge Luhan, a woman with a colorful history who in the early 1900s made her way to Taos, New Mexico. She fell in love with Antonio Luhan, a Taos Pueblo Indian, and eventually they bought a plot of land and built a house on it. It started as a four-room adobe, but expanded to seventeen rooms, the Luhans wanting to create a space that was inviting to those with a creative spirit.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 19, 2018 at 07:32

Dolores Huerta

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“Every moment is an organizing opportunity,

every person a potential activist,

every minute a chance to change the world.”

– Dolores Huerta

What do we do with the precious time in our lives? Do we consume instead of creating? Are we passive instead of active? Do we succumb to the darkness or do we stand up to it? I think that this quote, from Dolores Huerta, the labor leader and activist who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, is a reminder of the opportunities that can be found in even the smallest moments.

Born on April 10, 1930, Huerta is still active today, and is the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Last year at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado, I not only had the chance to see the amazing documentary “Dolores,” which is all about her life, but also hear Huerta speak in person. Her energy was inspiring, and it was a reminder that every moment in our lives is an opportunity to take action, and we can continue to do so for as long as we live.

It’s easy to think of “activists” as people who are very visible or take bold actions. But as human beings, global citizens and community members, I believe that we all have a chance to be an activist in our everyday lives, choosing to stand up for what we believe in, no matter what the scale or what our platform is.

Every minute is a chance to change the world. What will you stand for?

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women. If you want to support this work, consider doing so on Kickstarter

Written by Anna Brones

February 3, 2018 at 12:46

Women’s Wisdom Project

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Going into this year, I knew that I wanted a bigger project to work on. A couple of months ago I had made a few papercuts inspired by the Unsung Heroines Instagram account, run by Molly Schiot, author of Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History. As I was working on those papercuts, going through an assortment of portrait photos and quotes for inspiration, I started thinking about all that the women of past and present have to offer. What insight do they have? What can they teach us?

I thought about a collection of papercuts, each done as a portrait of a woman, and paired with a quote of something that she had once written or said. The idea would be to compile the wisdom of many women through art.

And so the seed for the Women’s Wisdom Project was planted.

During the month of January, Kickstarter is running the Make 100 campaign, an initiative to focus on editions of 100. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch the Women’s Wisdom Project. Starting this month, I’m committing to making 100 papercuts this year, documenting a variety of amazing women and what we have to learn from them.

Over the course of the year, I am certain that the project will continue to develop (zine? book? calendar?) but this is a way for you to support in the initial stages, and if you are interested in doing so, you can check out the Kickstarter campaign here. There are limited edition cards and prints available as well as some other fun items.

Above is a papercut I made last week, in honor of Virginia Woolf’s birthday. “Once she knows how to read there’s only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself,” Woolf wrote.

Women deserve to be heard, we deserve to have a voice. Hearing the voices of others also empowers us to find our own. This is why I want to create work to showcase women from around the world – and throughout history – and their wisdom.

Supporting this work means supporting the work of women throughout the ages and amplifying their voices. The project will honor women of the past and women of the present, and I would also like this project to inspire community support for women overall, encouraging people to support women’s work in their local communities.

Throughout the course of the project, I will highlight these stories and the artwork right here on my website, in my newsletter and on social media channels. You can check out #womenswisdomproject on Instagram.

I look forward to working on this project and to sharing it with all of you.

Written by Anna Brones

January 29, 2018 at 10:40

Downloadable Vote Poster in Support of Women’s Rights

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I made this papercut, titled “Stars, Stripes and Uterus,” back in 2016 before the U.S. presidential election, but it’s as necessary today as it was then.

If you’re going out this coming weekend marching for the Women’s March 2.0, or if you simply want to show what you stand for, I’ve turned this papercut into a free downloadable poster that you can easily print at home. Hang it in a window, hold it above your head, print out a bunch and pass them out to friends. Stand up for women’s rights.

It’s available in two sizes: 8.5×11 and 11×17.

Written by Anna Brones

January 19, 2018 at 07:15

Posted in Portfolio, Women

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Florence Griffith Joyner

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“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening any more.”

― Florence Griffith Joyner

This papercut is a part of a series that I am slowly working on called Women’s Wisdom, featuring women throughout history and what we can learn from them.

Have any ideas of women who should be featured? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Anna Brones

January 16, 2018 at 09:00

Sliced Rye and Almond Pepparkakor

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Growing up, we always made a recipe out of the classic Swedish baking book Sju sorters kakor, called Franska pepparkakor, French gingersnaps, for Christmas. Why they were French I am not entirely sure. I have lived in France and never encountered anything similar.

A more apt name is skurna pepparkor, sliced gingersnaps. I like making these because they take much less time than rolling out and cutting traditional pepparkakor but still use the same iconic seasonal spices. This year, I adapted the recipe to be a little less sweet and also be made with 100% rye flour. I like making whole grain cookies, because they are far more robust in flavor than baking with traditional all-purpose flour.

These cookies are great on their own, but also pair very well with a little blue cheese. And a mug of glögg of course.

Sliced Rye and Almond Pepparkakor

Ingredients:

1 cup (5 ounces, 140 grams) almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces, 225 grams) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces, 50 gram) sugar
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) molasses
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons cardamom
2 teaspoons cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups (8.75 ounces, 250 grams) rye flour

Preparation:

Chop the almonds and set them aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and molasses, then mix in the spices and orange zest until well blended.

Mix the baking soda with the flour, then add to the wet ingredients. Work the dough together (it will be quite sticky).

Form the dough into cylinders, about 12 inches long and wrap in parchment paper or a tea towel. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Note: the dough lasts for a few days in the refrigerator so if you don’t get around to baking them right away it’s totally fine.)

Grease a baking tray and cut dough into thin slices. Place the slices on the tray and bake at 375ºF (180ºC) for 10 to 12 minutes.The cookies don’t spread out very much, so you can put them pretty close to each other.

Written by Anna Brones

December 22, 2017 at 07:36

Words for Winter Solstice

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A reminder to acknowledge the dark, and celebrate the light. Bring kindness into these dark days.

Kindness with no expectations, kindness given to someone else simply for wanting to put good into the world. Kindness to bring warmth to the coldest and darkest of moments. Kindness to keep us open, accepting. Because when we give kindness to others, we feel it in return.

One kind word to the postmaster who is dealing with the line of ten people, all trying to ship unruly boxes.

One kind word to the cashier working overtime.

One kind word to a friend who needs it.

One kind word to a stranger, because it could be the only one they receive today.

One kind word to a family member.

One kind word to yourself.

Written by Anna Brones

December 21, 2017 at 09:18