anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘women

Wild Woman

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The wild woman who wants to feel her feet in the grass, dewy blades poking up between her toes.

The wild woman who stands outside on a winter morning, just to feel the cold wind on her cheek, telling her that she is alive.

The wild woman who seeks solace in the night sky, the stars a reminder of her tiny presence on earth, but its vast potential.

The wild woman who finds beauty in the smallest moments; the surprise of a wild strawberry on the forest floor, the change of color in a leaf, the unfurling of a fern.

The wild woman who finds adventure in her backyard, who explores new lands and cultures on the ground and in her imagination.

The wild woman who has the courage to say yes, but the wisdom to say no.

The wild woman who is open to the universe, hears the wind in the trees, feels the stillness of the forest.

The wild woman who wants the freedom of an afternoon for exploration, whether it’s afar and at home.

The wild woman who sits still, and the wild woman who runs.

The wild woman who embraces her being, and releases the confines of expectation.

The wild woman who forges her own path.

The wild woman who knows that she is the only one who gets to define her happiness.

The wild woman who is thankful for her time on this planet, and empathetic to all the beings around her.

The wild woman who searches the forest for fresh nettles on a spring day.

The wild woman who catches the glint of sun shining through an icicle on a winter morning.

The wild woman who rides her bicycle to feel the surge of freedom.

The wild woman whose face is crusted in the salt of the sea.

The wild woman who gives everything to her community, and the wild woman who prefers to be alone.

The wild woman who takes time to breath, time to feel, time to create.

The wild woman who feels pain and joy.

The wild woman whose wildness is hers and hers alone.

 

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Written by Anna Brones

May 16, 2018 at 10:48

Isabella L. Bird

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“Everything suggests a beyond.”

– Isabella L. Bird

Born in England in 1831, Isabella L. Bird was outspoken from a young age. For health reasons, in 1854 a doctor suggested a sea voyage. This would lead to a life of travel, her adventures taking her to the U.S. (where she spent time in Colorado, riding horseback across the Rockies), Australia, India, Kurdistan, Turkey, Morocco and many more.

Bird wrote about her adventures in several books, likeA Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, and was a respected photographer and naturalist, exploring and documenting the world around her. In 1892, she became the first woman fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Imagine being a female adventurer in her day – a time when women were expected to stay home, to stick to their routines. She upended all of those expectations, fueled by an interest in adventure and a desire to tackle new challenges. In Colorado, she became the first woman to climb Long’s Peak, nowadays one of the state’s most popular “fourteeners.”

It’s so easy to only focus on the minutiae of the world around us; our to do lists, our daily lives, our routines. But Isabella’s quote is a reminder that there is always more; a challenge to open our eyes, to look beyond, to think differently. The world is full of potential for discovery, whether it’s far away or in our own backyard. We simply have to open ourselves to it.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 18, 2018 at 10:45

Annie Londonberry

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“I am a journalist and ‘a new woman’ if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.” – Annie Londonberry

I learned of Annie Londonberry several years ago in Peter Zheutlin’s book Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonberry’s Extraordinary Ride.

Born in 1870 in Latvia, Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky was the first woman to cycle around the world. Despite never having ridden a bicycle before, in 1894 she set off on an adventurous journey, promising to circle the globe in 15 months (with the help of a few trains and boats too).

She pedaled off with a change of clothes and a revolver, and in exchange for $100, promised to place a placard for the Londonberry Lithia Water Company on her bicycle. Today, sponsorship might be the norm for many grand adventures, but at the time, it certainly challenged the era’s gender norms.

The 1890s were a time when the bicycle was intricately linked to feminism, and as Annie set out she became a symbol of the movement. Annie was a savvy storyteller and promoter, telling tales wherever she went, some true and some not-so-true. Eventually, she completed her journey, calling it “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman.”

After her return, she wrote a column for New York World, with the byline “The New Woman.”

What was a “new woman” in the late 1800s might be seen as a modern woman today, and yet, we still struggle with some of the obstacles Annie faced over 100 years ago. Annie left three children behind to take off on her journey; today female athletes and adventurers are often questioned about their mothering skills, and can experience severe gender bias. Women suffer from a pay gap, both in sponsorship and professional sports salaries. In some countries it’s still considered improper for a woman to ride a bicycle.

Annie is reminder that society doesn’t get to dictate who we are or what we do. We can set our own goals and our own definitions of success. We can be who we want to be.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

 

Written by Anna Brones

April 17, 2018 at 12:11

Rachel Carson

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Writer, scientist, ecologist, conservationist, activist. Rachel Carson was many things, and her work continues to be instrumental today.

Her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, galvanized the environmental movement (and also pissed off the chemical industry; Monsanto published 5,000 copies of a brochure parodying the book). But her writing extended far beyond that. In fact, she was first published at the age of 10 in a children’s magazine. She was a woman ahead of her time; in 1936, she was the second woman hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.

Carson believed in the wonderment that comes from the natural world, and she sought to share that with her readers, reminding us that we are but a part of the larger system around us.

The quote that I used in this portrait of hers is part of a longer one from Silent Spring, and I wanted to share in its entirety:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

And if we contemplate and understand the beauty of the earth, it becomes that much harder to continue to act in a way that destroys it.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 6, 2018 at 08:38

Astrid Lindgren

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“Give the children love, more love and still more love – and the common sense will come by itself.”

– Astrid Lindgren

Usually when I make papercuts I need silence. I can’t listen to podcasts because it’s hard to focus on both the words and the cutting at the same time. After all, quiet is good for the creative brain.

But as I started to work on this one of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, I realized that I wanted to know what Lindgren sounded like, I wanted to know what she had to say besides a list of her quotes that I had compiled. So I found an interview with her from 1993.

As I cut and listened, I realized that her voice, her words, her story, it was all magical and comforting, evoking the same emotions that I associate with growing up in a half-Swedish household. She talked of nature, her own childhood, her first time going to the Stockholm library, her home in Skärgården (the Stockholm archipelago, which would later become the central point of her series Vi på Saltkråkan, but only after she had spent several decades living there, an acknowledgment that to write about a place you must know it) and she sang. In moments, she sounded like my own Swedish grandmother.

I found myself with tears in my eyes as the interview drew to a close. My personal connection to Sweden – besides language, besides family, besides friends – is very much tied to the magical world of books, those by Lindgren and another literary great Elsa Beskow. It was a world filled with exploration, adventure, nature, enjoyment, simplicity, and growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was a link to the Swedish part of me.

It was a world that took inspiration from Lindgren’s childhood home Vimmerby, the memories and landscapes of her own life translated onto the pages and making their way into millions of children’s rooms around the globe.

I have donated many books from my childhood, but all of my Swedish ones remain. Their pages are filled with their own worlds, worlds that comfort and that inspire. When asked if she would ever start writing “real” books, Lindgren responded, “I want to write for a readership that can create miracles. Children create miracles when they read. That’s why children need books.”

Lindgren is of course most well known for Pippi Longstocking. When I read Pippi as a child, I never specifically thought about the fact that she was a central female character. I just liked the books because they were fun and unexpected. But as I have grown older, I have been reminded of the value of seeing a female heroine, one who is adventurous, strong, funny, courageous.

I came across a great Pippi Longstocking quote yesterday:

‘He’s the strongest man in the world.’

‘Man, yes,’ said Pippi, ‘but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that.

In this context it means physical strength, but I think Pippi also embodies emotional strength. Strength is of course not the only thing that we as women can strive for, but there is value in seeing a girl take on the world around her with no fear. Even today, I still need that.

“Astrid touched the everyday Swede,” wrote Suzanne Öhman-Sundén, co-editor of a book on Lindgren’s public influence. “There was a combination of common sense, straightforwardness and warmth in everything she did, which made her unique.”

But Lindgren’s influence has today gone far beyond just Sweden. As of 2017, there are as many as 101 different translations of her books. And that means that still today, children – and even adults – have the ability to step into her world.

“Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination,” Lindgren said in a reception speech for the H.C. Andersen award. I would say that love and imagination are two of our most powerful tools, and we have Lindgren to thank for them.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

March 8, 2018 at 07:09

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