Saturday, March 19, 2016

Be Named

Names have power.  Words have power.  I talk about this with my students all the time.

So, when it came time to name my newest adventure, I wanted to pick the right name.  The right identity.

At first, I was sold on "Dutch Girl Redoux," in honor of my Dutch heritage.  And because the Dutch are notorious/known for making something out of nothing.  I liked the name.  I could see the graphics for branding.  Something a little funky, with bright red tulips.

Not quite.

Be Bright tee, 2016
Then, I considered "Helen Johanna" or "Johanna Helen," my grandmas first names.  They're the ones that taught me how to embroider, taught me about flowers (which seem to be quite a prominent feature in this new work), taught me the value of hard work.  And words.

Still not right.

Be Bold, sweater, 2016
In the middle of a dark, stormy, windy night, it came to me.  "Be."


"Be" for the Berkana rune, a symbol that very special to me.  It represents the feminine, abundance, fertility, creation.  It's purification, healing, renewal.  It's associated with the birch tree, my favorite.  (I have a wonderful specimen of this tree in my front yard.)

Berkana is literally written as "B."  The logical jump for me was "to be," which brings in women's history and gender studies.

My work with students is all about "to be."  Who they can be, who others can be.  How women have been in history, but overlooked.  How girls are often told what and who to be, framed in messages about their bodies, as if their minds don't exist.

"Being" a woman is so much more than being beautiful, being pretty, "being" for someone else's desires and/or needs.  Often, this gets expressed through fashion.

Be Delighted, detail of wool jacket, 2016
My idea?  "Be" Fashions.  I'll add "Be" inspirations to my designs.  Be Bold, Be Delighted, Be Love.  Lots of options, lots of meaning.  A combination of all I strive to be.


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