We’ve got our loveliest friend Ashmae here sharing a little bit about her project, we Brave Women! Welcome, Ashmae!! If you’re looking for a meaningful gift this holiday, this is it!
The We Brave Women project is a set of flashcards featuring painted portraits of women from around the world with their bio and a quote from them on the back of each card. The project reaches far beyond just the cards however, the project actually exists in the magic that happens as we get to know the women on these cards. We come to know and love how and why we are brave ourselves. Look at #webravewomen on instagram to see hundreds of women telling why they are brave.
I began painting and researching two years ago, soon after I had my daughter, Thea. I realized that I wanted her to be familiar and surrounded by stories of brave women. Growing up I had never seen a female scientist, mathematician, or astronaut and so I assumed that women just didn’t do a lot of things. My hope is that through this project, both girls and boys will come to love and respect these women, their ideas, contributions and bravery, and in turn, better love their own story. As I’ve researched these women, I’ve come to think of them as friends and supporters, when they were once just names I vaguely knew.
I turned the project into a set of cards because I wanted kids to have something tangible to hold, look at and play with and take ownership of as they learn about the women. I actually had the idea one day when I saw all the kids in my neighborhood laying out and talking about their pokemon cards. Through a kickstarter campaign I was able to produce the cards and am dedicated to bringing the cards into classrooms and programs, particularly in low-income areas.
I have been truly touched and so excited to see the ways the cards have been used as they’ve gone out into the world. One mom took several weeks and went through a card a day with her daughter. They did activities, lessons, service projects and field trips that reflected the woman on the card for that day. One dad sent me a video of his son and daughter telling the stories of each woman to him. One little girl started writing her own book about the women she learned about. They’ve been used in girl scout troops, young women’s groups, sunday school lessons, classrooms, large family gatherings, pasted all over bedroom walls and hopefully, rooting their stories and inspirations in both boys and girls.
In all my work, it feels vital to create products that foster creativity and inspiration for both adults and children. I’ve been so happy to see the ways in which these cards have become meaningful in so many adult/child relationships. My latest children’s book, When You Are Young, functions on the same premise. It is a collaboration with the children’s clothing company Rags to Raches. The book was created with the joy, imagination and fun that Rags to Raches clothes feel like to me. I love their embodiment of childhood. The rompers encourage kids to play, romp and imagine. I wanted the book to be a meaningful read for both adults and children. Each colorful page features a child in a Rags romper, their wild imaginings and text that encourages the adults in their lives to slow down, to laugh and to listen together.