Welcome to the "virtual exhibit" of Currency of Strength, my art-piece first exhibited at the Bell Arts Factory located in the city of Ventura in March 2010. The theme of the exhibit was titled "MARCH: Women and Strength". Due to the theme I was finally able to bring to life a long-held and cherished idea to create currency with images of women, instead of the currency that circulates in the United States that has pictures of the Founding Fathers...
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the American Founding Fathers of this country, but there were Founding Mothers too, not to mention the many women who have fascinating accomplishments in the history of their lives, who left legacies which remain with us still. Before we begin to look at those amazing women let me briefly discuss something many of us can relate to: a beautiful wallet!
A wallet full of valuable currency...
This wallet was made of leather that I have in my vast arsenal of materials and it was sitting around unused until this project. The original design was actually going to be letter-envelope shaped, but when I began to play with this cut piece, I really liked the strange waves that nearly fit together when 'closed'. I decided that this was what the shape of the wallet would be...it was unique and different, with sharp edges and soft curves...like many women ;)
I had discovered the buttons at my local Joann's fabric shop and knew I'd be using them, so they were purchased before I began to work on the wallet. I had only made one skirt from a soft leather before this, so I knew that sewing leather through a regular sewing machine was not easy and with the overlap it would be even more difficult. I realized I would have to hand sew the wallet. I located a few tutorials online with some good basic instructions and I used a cotton thread that once belonged to my grandmother, that is now among my tools, to sew it all together and it only took a few short hours! Now let's open the wallet to reveal the valuable contents within...
Let's open the wallet and spread the wealth of Strength!
Feel free to click on the images below to read the information on each bill...
The Women - Amelia Earhart & Wilma Rudolph
Amelia Mary Earhart
I did not have a strong connection to Amelia Earhart when I began this project, so the design of her bill came together quite quickly, in fact it was nearly done within a few short hours. However, when I began to research her history, I came to find a connection I could relate to: Fashion!
Amelia had sewn her own clothes, especially those for her flying activities and she designed flight clothing for the Ninety-Nines club. It was eventually advertised in Vogue magazine and she began to design clothing for active women - the beginning of sportswear before Claire McCardell. I marvel that she is the person responsible for the luggage standards still being produced for flight travel today...
Wilma Glodean Rudolph
I did have a strong connection to Wilma since childhood when I first read about a young girl with "infantile paralysis" (caused by the polio virus) who overcame that illness and became one the first African American female Olympians to win THREE gold medals in one Olympic event. Due to my strong admiration for her achievements, she turned out the be the most difficult bill I would assemble, finished mere hours before the deadline for submission to the exhibit!
Her story is so amazing for the physical difficulties she overcame to make her great achievement - the polio virus was a deadly disease for decades and she still had a slight deformity which makes her gold medals all the more valuable, not to mention how African Americans were still being treated at the time of her Olympic winnings. The award named after her, The Women's Sports Foundation Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, was first presented to Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1996, two years after Wilma's death from cancer...
Here are some quotes from these amazing women that you can take inspiration from as you set out to achieve your own goals:
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward."
"I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself. I remind them the triumph can't be had without the struggle."
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Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read about these amazing women. Your comments from yesterdays post were wonderful and I'm so glad you are enjoying this 'virtual exhbit' and the story of how I created it. I hope you'll stop by for the next installment of Currency of Strength!
BTW: there is a giveaway happening this week - check it out here and leave a comment of your greatest achievement this year to win one of the prizes! I'd love to hear about your accomplishments! They have been fabulous so far and you should ALL be proud of what you have achieved this year!