About the Girl Stories Project
I am an artist whose work has always revolved around storytelling. As a lover of stories in all media, my work involves elements of illustration and narrative, telling visual stories on the surface of my porcelain pots and sculptures. I love folklore, pop culture, and stories meant for children, so my work has always looked like something out of a children’s book – bright, colorful, and sometimes a little strange, but fun. Stories, especially fiction, interest me because they are treated as entertainment, but they both reflect and influence the culture we live in.
I’ve always been annoyed at the lack of diverse female characters in the majority of movies, books, and video games that I loved, but having a daughter of my own brought my interest in girl’s stories to a head. I wanted stories for her that depicted girls as more than just princesses or damsels in distress, and while they existed, they weren’t nearly as plentiful as I’d like. I began researching gender bias in the media, and it influenced my artwork so much, I decided to do a project.
In August of 2012, I launched a fundraiser on an internet site called Kickstarter, calling for backers interested in my project to donate money to help me make my project a reality. My original idea was to create a series of girl character jar sculptures with stories to go with each. I smashed my goal of $700 in less than 24 hours, and ended with over $2500 by the end of the month. I definitely wasn’t alone in my desire for better stories for girls.
Since I received more money than I needed, I decided to use the surplus to encourage other girls to tell stories with art too. I teamed up with Beech Grove Clay Works and Big Brothers Big Sisters to make a free workshop available for girls and their mentors. I was inspired by Girls Rock Indy and the Girl Scouts, both programs who focused on single sex environments to encourage girls to feel safe expressing their ideas and try new things, without feeling self-conscious or shy.
I hope to continue this project, making workshops available to girls who need them most, and who might otherwise not get an opportunity to use a ceramics studio, or may not be able to afford it. It is my hope that by creating artwork that tells good stories about girls, and encouraging more girls and women to tell stories of their own, the next generation of artists, filmmakers, programmers, scientists, writers, and leaders will come from girls who learned to value their voice and ideas, and tell stories of their own.
“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is - it’s to imagine what is possible.”
― bell hooks
― bell hooks