Hello, Rose Buds! I hope you are all thriving in your individual environments, whatever they may be. Welcome back to The Garden!
I know I hinted at doing hairstyle inspirations, but that’s going on hold because the Influential Women Collection dropped recently, and HOLY COW! We have to discuss this collection and the wonderful women who inspired it.
For those who’ve been around since a year from now probably remember the first ever Influential Women Collection. It was in this collection that the iconic Eve dangle/stud was born. This earring has become THE Rose and Clay staple and has evolved into the Rosette dangle/stud that is simply, elegantly gorgeous.
This year, our sweet and intuitive Rose Buds hand selected the women who would be highlighted in this collection. What a fun collaboration this was! We loved seeing who and how these women influenced you, and it even sparked a really open conversation on instagram. How wholesome are you guys?
Kelsey wonderfully created mini bios to go with each earring description on the website, but we thought we would select a few from the collection to whom we will pay homage and tribute.
I would be devastated if I ever came across someone who didn’t know who this artistic, feminist saint was. She exudes color, life, and passion! She has influenced me as a person in ways that I could not describe them all to you.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was born in Mexico City, Mexico, on July 6, 1907. Her father emigrated from Germany, ending up in Mexico where he met and married Kahlo’s mother Matilde. They had four daughters together; Frida was the third.
When she was six, she contracted Polio, which put her on bedrest for nine months and gave her a limp. She may not have known it then, but this was the first of many illnesses and injuries that would cause her to be bedridden. Her father took an unusual approach to her recovery and encouraged her to play sports to help improve her limp and mobility.
When she was a young adult, Frida was in a horrific accident that left her with serious injuries and impacted her health later on in her life. During this time of recovery, she started painting her iconic self portraits and became politically active in her community.
Frida was known for her love of traditional and colorful clothing. She celebrated her heritage and lived in vibrant color. She married an up and coming Mexican artist and had a non traditional, almost tumultuous, relationship with him. But because of the opportunities that were presented to her husband she was able to travel around the Americas and Europe and was given opportunities for commissions and exhibitions.
What is most impressive to me is how she was able to present such vibrant works and stay in-tune with her craft, becoming a better artist, despite her many challenges. She suffered the loss of her father, the pain of her husband’s affairs, multiple illnesses, depression, injuries, and accidents, but kept her artistry and evolved despite everything against her. She even attended one of her showings in a four poster bed because she was bedridden at the time but was determined to be there.
Years after her death, the resurgence of the feminist movement delved into her work and created her as an icon of female creativity.
Fun fact about Frida . . . she wore skirts to hide the deformities in her legs, which is interesting because she loved traditional Mexican fashion and those colorful skirts became a part of her brand identity.
The earring that Kelsey designed after this remarkable artist reflects the colorful and vibrant nature that we think of when we see Frida’s self portraits. This artist reminds us that it's fun to be loud and colorful and to pursue our passion with all the vigor we can muster, because that is a life well lived.
If you want to learn more, check out the in depth bio links I will include.
Works Cited: https://www.biography.com/artist/frida-kahlo
Where to begin with this woman? She had no official birthdate. She came from an enslaved family that worked on the plantations in Maryland. She suffered the separation from her eight siblings. She experienced brutality that created physical scars, physical injuries, and permanent damage to her health, including seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes due to a two pound weight thrown at her head.
Despite all this, she refused to give up on her dream of freedom and her reunion with her family. After the death of her owner, she began to fear that she would be separated and sold as she was sickly and considered “low value.” I can’t imagine how that must have felt to be degraded and dehumanized in a way that she was restricted to this valuation. She saw her chance to escape was now and left behind her husband, who was freed and didn’t want to leave Maryland. She even used the Underground Railroad herself, which was a series of safe houses from the South to the North.
Harriet took two of her brothers with her, who eventually returned when they saw a reward posted for their capture. Scared of what would happen if they were caught, they went back and Harriet accompanied them to see them safely returned. She then returned to the Underground Railroad, making 19 trips, guiding about 300 people to freedom, including her parents, siblings, extended family, and others to freedom.
When the “Fugitive Slave Law” was enacted, requiring those in free states to return fugitive slaves, Harriet again refused to give up and instead re-routed the Underground Railroad to Canada and continued her mission.
Not long after, the Civil War started and Harriet worked as a spy, her cover was an army cook for the Union. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition, the Combahee River Raid, which freed over 700 enslaved people from plantations in South Carolina.
Even after the war and her people were declared freed, she did not stop. She advocated for impoverished former enslaved people and gave freely to others even though she had her own financial issues.
Harriet’s legacy inspired and still inspires civil rights activists. Several monuments have been made in her honor and multiple schools have been named after her. She is one of America’s most famous civilians, and rightly so.
Her tenacity and giving heart is so inspiring, as well as her perseverance through extreme hardships. Due to her efforts, she freed people and that is a gift that cannot be matched, nor did she ask for compensation. This was a woman whose determination helped change the world. I hope we all can take something from her example and let it influence our lives.
The piece that Kelsey designed after this Influential Woman is significant. It’s a necklace with a small black pendant, highlighted in three gold mica lines, representing the Underground Railroad, a path to freedom.
Works Cited: https://www.biography.com/activist/harriet-tubman
The “People’s Princess” as she was often referred to, is an icon for good reason. She was not just a fashion queen, but an incredible philanthropist. I 10/10 recommend you watch her biography on Disney+ if you are interested in learning more about her. I would also recommend you have tissues nearby because wow did I bawl.
Lady Diana Spencer was born July 1, 1961 to a noble family. At the time, her father was a viscount and later inherited the title Earl Spencer, which in turn allowed her to inherit the title Lady Diana Spencer. Diana parents divorced when she was young and all the children stayed with their father. She was known for her love of children, which led to her working as an assistant at a kindergarten.
She was courted by Prince Charles when she was very young and married him in 1981, becoming “Princess of Wales.” This “Wedding of the Century” was viewed by billions of people around the world. She will forever be immortalized by the gown, crown, and veil she wore. This was just the beginning of her unofficial fashion career.
Life as a royal was not easy. Every aspect of her life was publicly viewed; she was given royal duties to perform that were extremely taxing. She quickly developed bulimia and depression, while also suffering the infidelity of her husband. She threw herself into charity work, especially after the divorce. She served in charities that helped the homeless, those with HIV and aids, and children in need. Diana included her two sons in her charity work, setting an example of sacrifice and love for others. Even after the divorce, Princess Diana retained popularity in the Commonwealth. She was truly beloved by the public.
When she died, due to sustained injuries in a horrific car accident in France, thousands flocked the streets of London to attend the funeral procession. Billions of people all over the world watched on their televisions.
Even after her death, she continued giving. A memorial fund was created in her name that supported charities she had publicly supported.
The earring Kelsey designed after her reminds me of her wedding gown, the most iconic piece of fashion she will ever be known for. This influential woman reminds us that there is good in the world and we should help support it.
Malala was born in 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan. Her father was an educator and founded the school that Malala went to. In her early years, the Taliban tried to take control of the area. The Taliban is known for their extreme beliefs, especially the beliefs regarding women being educated. At only eleven years old, Malala gave a speech defying the Taliban, demanding that they cannot take away her right to learn.
She also became a blogger for BBC, writing about living under the threats of the Taliban and wrote under a pseudonym to protect her identity. Eventually her identity was revealed, but she was growing a platform and used it to talk about the right all women had to education. Her activism was rewarded with Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
Unfortunately, her activism also put a target on her back. The Taliban had issued a death threat against her, but she and her family disregarded it, thinking that the group wouldn’t actually harm a child. They tried to put her to death when she was just 15. A masked gunman boarded her bus, the one she took to and from school, and shot her in the head.
Remarkably, she survived, but she was in critical condition and flown to a military hospital. Once stable there and put in a medically induced coma, she was flown to Birmingham, England, and treated for her injuries. Her shooting actually gave her more power and her platform grew. She continued her activism for education while away from Pakistan. She delivered an emotional speech to the United Nations. In 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest ever to receive such an honor.
Her earring that Kelsey designed includes a golden wreath, a symbol of bravery and her award of the Nobel Peace Prize, and a pink clay butterfly, a symbol of all the women she fought for and represented, and also how she gave herself and others wings to fly.
Works Cited: https://www.biography.com/activist/malala-yousafzai
Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. Her mother and father were often separated due to the fact that her father couldn’t quit drinking nor find a stable job. Because of the instability of her family life, Amelia was determined to be independent.
She worked a number of odd jobs after graduating. She joined the army ranks as a nurse during WW1 and met a number of pilots and immediately fell in love with the idea of flying. She eventually got the chance to fly as a passenger. While it was only 10 minutes in the air, she knew she had to become an aviator. She scrimped and saved to take lessons from a female pilot; she cut her hair short and wore fitting leather jackets to fit in. She was the 16th woman to be licensed as an aviator.
From a series of events, she had to postpone flying and became a celebrity figure while writing about flying in local Boston papers. She was asked to join Charles Linburgh on a transatlantic flight, to be the first woman… passenger. She felt like a piece of luggage although the tabloids ate the story up. She was nicknamed “Lady Lindy,” a play off of Linburgh’s nickname “Lucky Lindy.”
She used the opportunity to write a book about their transatlantic flight and ended up marrying her publisher. Together, they conspired to get her to fly her solo trip across the Atlantic on the five year anniversary of Linburgh’s flight. She flew from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, to Culmore, Northern Ireland, in 15 hours, not quite making it to Paris as she had intended, due to inclement weather, but was met with much fanfare once she made it to London.
Amelia had another passion: fashion. She had created her own clothes before and played with the idea of clothing with purpose, but also being sleek and feminine. She hoped that her influences would inspire other women and negate the stereotypes about women. She used her voice and celebrity to advocate for women.
Unfortunately, while trying to accomplish another huge feat for women, she disappeared on her flight around the equator. Her disappearance is still a mystery today; however, she still represents courage and tenacity.
The earring that Kelsey designed after her reflects the checkered pattern associated with aviators. What I hope we all take away from Amelia’s influence is her determination to conquer the world. It doesn’t have to be in big ways as she pursued, like setting records, but by going for that job, asking for equal pay, and being an advocate for other women. Remember our mission? To support and uplift women. We are women lifting other women.
Works Cited: https://www.biography.com/explorer/amelia-earhart
How Have YOU Been Inspired by these Women?
I know I have shared what inspires me from these influential women, but how do they inspire you today? What can you take away from their example? How can you better support the community of women around you.
Creating and selling jewelry isn't our only goal here at Rose & Clay. As Kelsey has mentioned before, she knows what it feels like to be self-deprecating. But something simple, like getting dressed up, decked in beautiful jewelry, can help you better appreciate yourself and make you feel like the gorgeous human you are. We aim to support women and lift them up and we hope you feel that from us.
We love you, Rose Buds, and wish the absolute best for you. Have an amazing week you beautiful souls!