August 6th, 2015
I can hardly believe it, but I’ve now lived in the Pacific Northwest for seven years.
In that time I’ve done my very best to see as much of the region as possible, and document it all in my sketchbook.
So in honor of seven years, here are seven sketchbook drawings—
—presented in no particular order—
—of some of my very favorte places
in the place I now call home.
July 15th, 2015
Because we’re having a record-hot summer this year, everything is coming into season early. And it’s all ripening at once, which made us look at the shelf of canning jars in panic.
But there was nothing for it but to dive in and start filling jars (and jars and jars).
June 28th, 2015
For the first time in anybody’s memory around here, the height of the season has actually arrived by the time the official solstice declared it “summer.” And as if on cue, it’s summer around our house, too.
So it seemed fitting to take a break from the more pressing repairs on our new house and focus on rehabilitating the vintage 1950s brick grill in the back yard. The Tailor’s parents were here over the solstice, and he and his dad got the grill back into shipshape—and then re-christened it with some seriously good kabobs over the charcoal from some fragrant cedar logs.
And we’re not the only ones celebrating summer at our house: this gal has been a regular visitor all month (she’s helping us prune back our shrubs…and pilfering a few apples as payment). When we stepped out back to hang some laundry outdoors, though, we were startled to find her napping in the shade back there. She watched us put the sheets up on the line, and waited patiently for me to grab my camera.
I suspect she’ll demand some more apples from us pushovers after this—ah, well. We can put up garden fences next year—and buy our apples for this year’s canning.
June 26th, 2015
Babe Didrikson Zaharias and other LGBTQ public figures of her time didn’t have the option of living their lives they way they chose. But we think it’s a bit of poetic justice that the Supreme Court made their landmark decisions on all three LGBTQ cases (Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, United States v. Windsor in 2013, and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003) on June 26: Babe’s birthday. So since today is also the start of Pride Weekend, we’re dedicating this weekend to Babe—happy birthday, happy Pride!
June 21st, 2015
If you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest right now, you might find yourself surrounded by plus-fours and golf claps. This weekend marks the final days of the U.S. Open golf championship, which is being hosted in our hometown for the first time ever. The Chambers Bay golf course is one of the most beautiful and challenging in the world, and the U.S. Open attracts talented athletes and a ton of media attention. Yet all the coverage has reminded us of the need for a more level playing field for all athletes. So for our newest Dead Feminist broadside, we’ve unleashed the irrepressible showmanship of a golfer and all-star athlete who was a real contender (regardless of gender):
It’s not enough just to swing at the ball. You’ve got to loosen your girdle and let ‘er fly. — Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Babe is best-known for her prowess as a golfer. On the course she was more than a champion: she was a superstar. By 1950 she had won every golf title available to her, and she is still remembered for her 17 straight amateur women’s victories—a feat still unequaled by anyone. Even though her life and career were cut short by illness, she is still one of the most decorated golfers of all time.
But Babe came late to golf—actually, she only switched focus entirely because she couldn’t maintain her amateur status as a golfer unless she gave up her other sports. Many have forgotten that she was also a champion at basketball, track and field, boxing, archery, tennis, diving, bowling, baseball and softball, roller skating and billiards—basically, a master at everything she tried. Babe was an all-star athlete in so many sports it’s hard to believe she was just one person. In fact, she demonstrated this fact by entering a 1932 amateur track and field championship as a one-women team. Babe qualified for three Olympic events (the maximum allowed at the time), but she actually finished first in five events and tied for first in a sixth, single-handedly racking up 30 team points. The second-place team? Well, they scored 22 points—with 22 members competing.
All of this is to illustrate how exceptional Babe was. People love to celebrate multi-event athletes like Michael Jordan or Deion Sanders for excelling at two sports, but how many of those guys were champions at half a dozen or more? Quite simply, Babe Didrikson Zaharias may just have been the greatest American athlete who ever lived. Period.
And this is where things get political. Just take a look at this list of the “Top 10 Greatest Multi-Sport Athletes“—Babe’s numbers blow every name on that list out of the water. (And she competed in many men’s events, as in her day there were often no women’s equivalents.) But Babe’s not on there. No women are. And that’s because even forty-plus years after Title IX, women athletes and women’s sports are of lesser value than their male counterparts. In fact, the words women’s and ladies’ are used as qualifiers, to denote an exception to the default. When you hear the name of a sporting event, and no gender is named, the assumption is that it’s a men’s event. (Heck, I’ve been hearing it all week in the golf coverage: it’s the “U.S. Open” and the “U.S. Women’s Open”—no mention of a “U.S. Men’s Open.”) When an athlete is recognized for her achievements, she is mentioned only on all-women lists. Some sports, like baseball and American football, have no “official” women’s equivalent—while others have different rules for the women’s version, like the arbitrary ban on body checking in women’s ice hockey. Women’s sports make a fraction of what men’s sports make in ticket sales and merchandising revenue. Men’s events still dominate the mainstream coverage air time on television, radio and news. And “you throw like a girl” is still an insult heard every day in America. We’re not advocating for co-ed sports here; we fully understand the practical rationale behind sex-segregation in athletics. But the differing value and respect our culture places on each is another matter entirely. Even the money male and female athletes win and earn is vastly disparate; take the U.S. Open, for example. The winner’s purse in the men’s tournament: $10 million. In the women’s tournament? Less than half, at $4 million. Apparently golf is played on a grass course with a glass ceiling.
In Babe’s lifetime, she was not only hampered by a host of restrictions on women competitors, she was also plagued by a media that ignored her accomplishments and focused instead on her tomboyish looks, brash demeanor and (lack of) relationship status. The pressure was relentless: the New York World-Telegram wrote, “It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring.” Even Babe, known for her arrogant show-boating and fiercely competitive nature, started wearing lipstick and more feminine clothing, stating, “I know I’m not pretty, but I try to be graceful.” Many have even argued that she switched to golf and married George Zaharias simply to conform to societal pressures to look and act more ladylike. She certainly treated these changes as a media makeover—perhaps to get the press off her back and shift the focus back to her abilities. So Jessica and I can’t help but wonder how her career might have been different if “pretty” weren’t a factor—if she could have been recognized and remembered for who she was, rather than what she wasn’t.
Since Babe was a marvel whose skill transcended all gender divisions, we wanted to make our broadside design as gender-neutral as possible. Instead, we focused on the game itself. Our 22nd broadside, Title Nine Iron, is a tribute to Babe’s best sport (with a nod to her beginnings as a track star), decked out in golf plaids and bright fairways. Follow the flags around the course with Babe’s quote, and let her words lift you over the rough and onto the green. And to keep our visual puns on par with our message of athletic equality, Babe’s bright red pennant is bedecked with a symbolic “Title IX” club: a nine iron.
Babe struggled throughout her career for recognition in the face of gender discrimination. Unfortunately, women athletes still face this sort of battle today—which makes legislation like Title IX incredibly important, even all these years later. So to help give girls everywhere equal access to sports and athletic training, we are donating a portion of our proceeds to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation works to advance the lives of girls and women through physical activity.
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Title Nine Iron: No. 22 in the Dead Feminists series
Edition size: 143 prints
Poster size: 10 x 18 inches
Printed on an antique Vandercook Universal One press, on archival, 100% rag (cotton) paper. Each piece is numbered and signed by both artists.
Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (1911 – 1956) grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. Babe reportedly earned her nickname playing baseball with neighborhood boys. She mastered every sport she played, including basketball, track and field, golf, tennis, diving, bowling, billiards and archery. When asked if there was anything she didn’t play, Babe said, “Yeah, dolls.”
In 1932, Didrickson entered an Amateur Athletic Union track and field championship as a one-woman team. She won six events, setting world records for the high jump, 80-meter hurdles, javelin and baseball throw. That same year, she won Olympic gold medals for the javelin and 80-meter hurdles and a silver medal in the high jump. Babe began playing golf in 1935, competing in the men’s PGA tournament paired with golfer, pro wrestler and future husband George Zaharias. Over her career, Babe won an unprecedented 17 straight women’s amateur victories and a total of 82 golf tournaments. A founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, she was fiercely competitive and an entertainer on the course, challenging accepted notions of femininity and athleticism despite constant media scrutiny.
Babe was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 1953. A year after a colostomy, she won the U.S. Women’s Open, inspiring cancer survivors with her victory. Golfer Betty Dodd played LPGA tours with Babe, eventually moving in with her and George for the last years of Babe’s life. Their intimate relationship was never publicly acknowledged. Babe’s cancer returned and she died at age 45. In 1999 the Associated Press named her Woman Athlete of the 20th Century.
Illustrated by Chandler O’Leary and printed by Jessica Spring, in honor of those who embrace their unique identities, “ladylike” or not. Printed by hand in Tacoma during the U.S. Men’s Open golf championship.
Now available in our Dead Feminists web shop!
June 13th, 2015
Holy cow—we made our Kickstarter goal three days early! I can’t tell you how much it means that you helped us reach our goal, and so quickly. This project has truly been a labor of love, and it feels so good to know that you support local and women-owned businesses like us.
Production is going to begin shortly and the coat will start being shipped in early fall, so I’m sure I will have updates to give you in the near future. In the meantime, there are still three days left of the campaign if you’re looking to get in on the coat and other rewards. And the Tacoma News Tribune did a great article about the women involved in the project in today’s paper—you can read about it here.
Thank you so much again for all your support and help spreading the word. We truly could not have done this without you, and we are so looking forward to the day when we can all wear our coats! Many, many thanks.
June 11th, 2015
There’s a very big sporting event coming to my town next week—and even though I’m not a ticketholder (or even all that interested in the sport itself), the spectacle is already proving to be a big source of inspiration.
So here’s another piece of what Jessica and I are working on—look for more next week!
June 7th, 2015
Amidst all the Kickstarter hubbub, I have another deadline to attend to: Jessica and I are releasing a new Dead Feminist broadside in a week or so. Normally I would have postponed that for a bit, at least until the Kickstarter was behind me, but we’re timing the new broadside to align with a big event. So, yeah. It’s not ideal, but the timing is out of our hands for this one.
Anyway, I thought I’d show you a snippet of what we’re working on. No, the broadside won’t be in black-and-white, but every design goes through a black-and-white phase before it goes on press in living color. It’s actually a good thing to do, even if it weren’t necessary to the production process: viewing a design in shades of grey is a lot like showing it to a pair of fresh eyes. Without color to distract me, I can look at the design objectively and make one last call to make sure it’s working as a whole. And besides, the color separations for the new piece are really, really complicated (as you’ll soon see). I’ve spent two days staring at this greyscale version of the design in Photoshop, checking and rechecking that I did it right and all the layers line up correctly. I don’t want Jessica to be in for any nasty surprises when this thing goes on press tomorrow.
Wish us luck! More soon.
June 4th, 2015
UPDATE as of June 12: Just four days left, and we have less than $2000 to go! We’re almost there!
UPDATE as of June 8: One week left, and just over $6000 to go! We can do it!
Thanks to you, we’ve blown past the halfway point of the funding goal on the Constellation coat! And we’ve been named a Kickstarter staff pick! Our Kickstarter campaign is winding down, though, and we’re not yet at our goal. This is our big chance to make the coat (as well as the Constellation scarf) a reality—if we don’t make our full goal, we get zero of the funding already pledged and we are back to the drawing board. So if you haven’t yet made your pledge, now is the time. So head on over to Kickstarter and help us get to the finish line!
May 28th, 2015
Photo by Emilie Firn.
Wowsa! Thank you so much for your overwhelming response to the raincoat! Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign is already closing in on the halfway point, and we are that much closer to making the project a reality. Thank you so, so much. Please keep spreading the word—it’s working!
If you haven’t already made your pledge, or you’re looking for a way to support the project but the coat itself isn’t for you, there are lots of other rewards to choose from. Each features my Constellations design in a different format, and each is an affordable piece of art in itself. First up is an 11 x 14″ archival art print of the Constellation pattern. The print is set up like a giant Polaroid—square on a white bordered background—and can fit in a standard size frame for easy display. This print is done the same way as my 50 States and sketchbook prints—digitally printed with museum-quality inks on 100% cotton paper, and signed with my insignia. The difference is that this print is only available as part of the Kickstarter campaign—I won’t be offering it in my shop afterward. This print is available at the $40 reward level.
Next are my brand new Constellations of the Zodiac greeting cards! I singled out each of the 12 zodiac signs from the pattern, and turned them into individual cards—each card is blank inside, and comes with a matching envelope. I’ve been offering these cards in my online shop and at craft fairs as a “teaser” for the coat project, and they’ve already been a big hit.
Here are all 12 designs, and how they look on the cards themselves. Each card makes a great and unique form of “personalized” stationery (I recently had a Leo buy a whole box of them to use as her “from the desk of” cards)—or you can get a box of all 12 designs to use as birthday cards for the people in your life. At the $10 reward level on Kickstarter, you can take your pick of a single card; or at the $50 pledge level you get the whole box of 12.
Last but not least, Sonja and I are offering the Constellations design in the form of a wearable scarf! We haven’t had it produced yet, so I don’t have an “action shot” to show you, but you can see the finished design here. Every constellation in the pattern is featured, along with our logo/insignia and a hand-painted border that’s unique to the scarf. The finished scarf will measure 20 x 20 inches. To be honest, I am just as excited about the scarf as I am about the coat, and you can bet I’ll be wearing mine constantly! You can snag one of these babies at the $70 reward level on Kickstarter.
Photo by Summer Hess Briggs.
And of course, there’s the coat itself, at the $240 reward level. When pricing the coat, Sonja did her best to make a product that is both designer-quality and competitive with what else is out there on the market. Since many of your average made-in-China, plain-jane jackets are $300 and up at department stores, I think she did pretty darn well. Also, as I said the other day, Sonja is limiting her first production run to 200 coats. If she offers this coat again in future, or releases other colors or lining designs, the price will very likely increase. So in exchange for putting their faith in us and helping get Sonja’s new apparel line out into the world, our Kickstarter backers are getting the coat at the lowest price.
So there you have it! Thank you so much again for all your support—and keep it coming! We can’t wait to get these things into production and into your hands—the finish line is ahead, and we’ll all get there together.