Tulip High

A few Fridays ago I visited Navy Pier for the Annual Flower and Garden show.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

First I had to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel of course.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

I spun by the stained glass museum and as I walked aaaaallll the way to the end of the pier, discovered a modern stained glass section.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

The Life Return by Isaac Malis, 1995-1996

Then I took in the bounty of tulips.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

The scents were almost intoxicating.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Monte Carlo 

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Couleur Cardinal

Some look almost like roses.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Orange Princess

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Pink Star

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Others seem painted.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Princess Irene

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Banja Luka

Or otherworldly.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Cool Crystal

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


This one is named after my business. 😉

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Dutch names were well-represented.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Annie Schilder

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


But other nations were represented too.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Mary Belle

photography copyright Maike's Marvels


photography copyright Maike's Marvels


photography copyright Maike's Marvels


I also admired the lovely decorative displays put on by various sponsors.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

I love this garden creature and couldn’t tell who made it.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Since I don’t have a garden, it was fairly easy to refrain from putting my wallet on a sudden diet.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

These ornaments caught my attention.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

Anyone up for truly floral garments?

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

The children got to make flowers in a play area.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

I saw some terrarium inspiration.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

It was an afternoon to be treasured.

photography copyright Maike's Marvels

How do you incorporate flowers into your life?

Digital Art Demonstration

In this digital age, we praise the tools new gadgets provide us with and the efficiency they generate, but we also lament the projected demise of non-digital methods and the tactile experience they hold for us. Some even presume that our reliance on modern technology makes us ‘lazy’ and keeps us from learning the skills necessary to function without a phone in our pocket.

Debunking that lack of skill in the arts world was a drawing session with the Chicago Painters and Artists Group this weekend. Organizer Jennifer Yang arranged for two digital artists to demonstrate their creative process with a live model.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Marina and Grigor demonstrate digital drawing

Photoshop is a computer graphics program developed in 1987 and launched in 1990 that can be perceived as both helpful and a hindrance to creation. The colloquialism of “being photoshopped” implies that an image is no longer true to reality, usually with the intention to deceive. This prevalence requires digital artists to clarify their process. After the last Meetup, an artist stated that he uses photos as reference to draw his art work from by hand, but people often assume he uses the photographs directly and manipulates them in his computer.

Digital artistry can be just as ‘old school’ as charcoal and paper, without the use of plug-ins and computer-aided manipulation. Brittany Nopar posed for a three-hour session as a group of 10 artists drew her from life. A paintress mixed colors and created an umber wash before applying oil paints to the study. Others sketched out the model in charcoal. Meanwhile, Marina and Grigor started a base sketch on their electronic devices.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Marina uses a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet that connects to her laptop computer. She likes it better than the touchscreen tablet Grigor uses, because her arm tires when holding the pencil tool up against a screen. With the tablet on her lap, she feels more comfortable and efficient.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Grigor purchased a Mac-based tablet a while back, and recommends the ASUS EP121 for digital artists. Both artists use Photoshop to sketch and draw (the program is both PC and Mac-compatible). I have heard of artists using Paint as well.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Like the varying styles of the artists in the room, Grigor and Marina worked differently. Grigor used his tablet very much like a traditional canvas. He mixed colors on the side of the sketch and created what looked like a painting to me. He doesn’t print out his art, but uses it as a digital archive to draw from when creating paintings or charcoal drawings on traditional media.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Marina uses her digital art for business, and has created printed books and posters. To me, her strokes looked more like pencil sketching. Her drawing became more whimsical in the end, in line with the type of art she usually creates. Self-taught on the computer, Marina enjoys the layer function in Photoshop, but utilizes her technical art training to develop her image from sketch to shading/color depth, to a finished version. She will group an image such as a christmas tree together to ‘collage’ it into a card or poster with a snowman, a process done with a few key strokes and cursor moves.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Both agree that digital art can be more efficient than the ‘old world’ tools. It is faster and cleaner. Grigor also finds the tablet beneficial in spaces where there is limited light.

However, the skill of drawing with a tablet does require technical training (or talent). As Grigor put it “it is just a tool.” He said that without knowing how to draw or paint, drawing on a tablet will not generate the professional image he created. The traditional “pencil and paper” skills still apply with a digital tablet.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Although the digital process is faster than using traditional artist’s tools, Grigor still spent the full 3 hours working on his piece. Meanwhile, the charcoal artists and oil paintress left with pieces in various stages of completion, but all looked lovely to my eyes.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

North Shore Square Foot Show

Yesterday evening marked the opening of the Arts of Life North Shore’s first Square Foot* show. 70 artists submitted 100 works, including the resident artists and mail-ins from seven states.

I submitted to this call for art without having seen the studio (technically a no-no, but hey, I’m a newbie at this). I poked around on the web site and saw a lot of very vibrant art, which prompted me to create Red Hot Love, a departure from my usual color scheme.

Red Hot Love by Maike’s Marvels

Because it felt so different, I also grabbed Migrant Danaus on the day of submission, in case Love didn’t fit in. (Later, Radar Love by Golden Earring played on the radio when I drove over to the opening reception.)

Migrant Danaus by Maike’s Marvels

What I found when I submitted my pieces (in person) was a bright and large space in an unassuming suburban commercial complex. Walking in, you see the gallery space, which would be a storefront in other settings. But then toward the back a much larger area is revealed. One half is studio space and the other is a multi-purpose room. For opening night, that space was converted to a theater area, with a stage and seating. I dropped off both works, letting the staff decide which one to choose during the curating process.

Arts of Life strives to empower people to “create an amazing artistic and personal vision for their community”. The organization “is a community of people with and without disabilities creating an artistic culture to realize our full potential.”

Arts of Life Square Foot Show

Works by Laura McManus, AJ Abbott,
Alexis Ortiz, Peter Bullock and Katie Schofield

In addition to hosting quarterly art exhibits, the studio space is offered to people with special needs. Between 9 am and 3 pm on weekdays, artists can hone their visual arts, performance arts and musical skills. Some residents come daily, and others every other day. The North Shore Studio is a fairly new space, while the Chicago location has been in operation for 12 years.

I met resident artists, their friends and relatives, bumped into recently made friends, and made new connections. A few people were drawn to Migrant Danaus, and I even got nice comments about Red Hot Love.

Collages by Maike's Marvels and Arts of Life contributors

Rainbows, castles and bunnies next to my works 🙂

After mingling, noshing on snacks, having wine or juice and having artists introduce their work, we were ushered to the other room for an open-mic performance by the resident artists.

These performers showcased solo songs and group songs including: Light my fire, I believe I can fly, Come together, and My girl. We were also shown reenactments of the Lion King, Peter Pan and Twilight. The North Shore Music Ensemble has a web page here.

I found that the vibrancy of the visual art work is a true reflection of each person there. The theater space may have been dark, but everyone (including the audience) shone as they got caught up in the music and the acting. We laughed, we clapped, we sang along, and there was pure joy in the act of creative artistry. The environment was so inclusive, supportive and empowering. It is an honor to have my work among such creative spirits.

Art of Various Dimensions 

Apparently a Zombie Prom is next, a benefit with live bands at The Empty Bottle. What will I wear?

 *It is called a square foot show because all pieces had to be 12 inches wide x 12 inches tall, which is equivalent to the American “foot” measurement.

Button Bouquet Project

Recently I signed up for my friend Jennifer Swift’s Wire Wreath class in September, and was feeling wire-y.

I walked to Vogue Fabrics to preview some fabric remnants for the class. Vogue has a section of angel-marked remnants for just a dollar, and other pre-cut fabrics that can still be incorporated into patterns, or craft projects in my case.

Then I felt compelled to go through the button bins. They offer metal buttons for $2 per cup, and plastic buttons for $1 per cup. Sorting through the bins is fun, and zen-like in a way.  You overhear banter between cashiers and customers while picking out colors and sizes, and then searching for additional matches to particularly cool buttons. I walked out with three bags full.

photo by Maike's Marvels

I sorted and counted these buttons for my inventory, currently by color and with various descriptions of the type and size of button.

300+ buttons make for a lot of mini-categories.

photo by Maike's Marvels

The fun part was making a button bouquet, inspired by Princess Lasertron. Her headband kit gave me some practice.

photo by Maike's Marvels

I twisted as many combinations as the pack of 35 wire stems allowed.

photo by Maike's Marvels

I am still working on a trousseau for a true Princess Lasertron bouquet, with or without a wedding attached. Even though the color palette was prescribed by Vogue, it does reflect hues I’m drawn toward.

photo by Maike's Marvels

Leftover buttons will be used for encaustic projects.

photo by Maike's Marvels

Some of these stems may be incorporated into the wreath this fall. We shall see!

photo by Maike's Marvels

Meanwhile, real flowers are blossoming everywhere. I’ll post more of our unusually early bloom later this week.

photo by Maike's Marvels


Breakfast at Swarovski’s

“We bring sparkle to everybody’s life.”
~ Nicole Green, Swarovski store manager

Swarovski Objects of Delight

The Magnificent Mile often reminds me of Holly Golightly, loving the lifestyle the store windows allude to, but not quite living that truly affluent and luxurious life (from a material perspective, I have abundance in other ways). So it was fun to channel her a bit more last week with Breakfast at Swarovski’s.

Home Accessories line

Dressed in business casual attire rather than the iconic black dress, and being served bagels and coffee inside 540 North Michigan Avenue, the WIN Innovation Circle was given some pre-opening shopping exclusivity last week.

Objects of Delight

Women’s Innovation Network President Valerie Beck shared 6 tips for the mastermind topic “Social Media Success, not Stress.”

1. Social media brings new customers
By customers posting events on Facebook (and thereby endorsing you), it generates referrals to new customers.

2. It gives legitimacy to your business
More and more people want to see a web presence or a Facebook page to research companies or get more information. You have to be where your customers look for you.

3. It provides connections to others in your industry
Retweeting, relinking and ‘liking’ pages can all lead to online conversations, new ideas, and referral sources. Utilizing the “@“ function in Facebook and Twitter, “links everybody’s billboard into your (online) billboard,” she said.

4. It becomes a connection to vendors
“Every business needs to buy something from someone else,” said Valerie, and being online lets people know you’re in the market for those services or products.

5. It can help us discover opportunities
Friends and connections can alert you to events in your field, industry articles, and applicable organizations as you follow more people.

6. It can let you relax into your business
Social media can be utilized as a free promotional tool, with some automated functions to get the word out. “By budgeting an hour a day for social media, it becomes a task, not a hurdle,” said Valerie.

“Social media is like rooms in a house
where you are throwing a party.
The kitchen represents Facebook, and the den might be Twitter.
[Each social media tool] provides a way
for everyone to feel welcome at your party.”
~ Valerie Beck

Hello Kitty

During the question and answer session WIN co-founder Erica Thomas shared some of the most common tools to tap into: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and to see where your audience is most likely to find you. We also chatted about the benefits of lurking on the public sites like Twitter to learn more about one’s industry and see what conversations and resources are out there.

Like WIN, Swarovski isn’t exclusively for women. They have a men’s collection as well.

Men’s Collection 

At the drawing, I happened to be the lucky winner of a MySpa gift certificate, which I’ll try to coincide with the next Spa & Cupcakes event (I haven’t won anything in years!).

Store Manager Nicole Green told us that this U.S. flagship store opened two and a half years ago, and is the largest in America. Founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, the company is still family-owned. He developed a special crystal cutting machine in Austria, and to this day only 7 people know the secret formula. Swarovski has 300 stores in the United States and 600 worldwide.

Objects of Delight

Swarovski is currently promoting a “Sing, Swing and Shine” theme with inspiration from the 1960’s.

Disney Collection 

We lingered for networking and shopping. Like the crow in Dumbo, my eyes were drawn to the “Sparklies!” and as I conversed with fellow attendees we roamed the store to pick out our favorites. I admired the butterfly section, of course!

Since Valerie announced the upcoming WIN Candy Gala on April 24th, I honed in on some dangling earrings (my short do doesn’t sweep up like my long tresses did). Getting a free gift with purchase sweetened the deal. We actually walked away with three rings, instead of having to figure out how to get a crystal set into a Cracker Jack ring.

The Megan set and the Mimosa rings

Followed by a committee meeting at which we brainstormed about the gala and our upcoming summer retreat, this was a sparkly and celebratory morning indeed.

“Social media is another great free way
to communicate and advertise.”
Valerie Beck

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

Sudden Spring

photography by Maike's Marvels

We’ve had some amazingly warm weather here this week. The trees are ‘sprouting’ buds, the sunshine gave everyone good cheer, and it was impossible to stay in.

photography by Maike's Marvels

I spotted some bees on these flowers.

photography by Maike's Marvels

I don’t know what these are called, but I like them.

photography by Maike's Marvels

The tulips are biding their time, but the hyacinth started emerging after a day of warmth.

photography by Maike's Marvels

The Narcissus has an early bloom.

photography by Maike's Marvels

photography by Maike's Marvels

I don’t know the names of these spring flowers.

photography by Maike's Marvels

photography by Maike's Marvels

I wandered the Emily Oaks Nature Preserve and spotted two butterflies already! They were giddy too and fluttered like crazy, so it was impossible to take a snapshot or identify them.

photography by Maike's Marvels

Some ‘winter’ flowers. I like the silver sheen.

photography by Maike's Marvels

photography by Maike's Marvels

Emily Oaks hosts numerous goldfish, which tend to be invisible during the lush vegetation months.

photography by Maike's Marvels

Geese and ducks were exploring the pond and chatting away.

photography by Maike's Marvels

Some geese were getting closer.

photography by Maike's Marvels

Until a child ran up and they distanced themselves again.

photography by Maike's Marvels

photography by Maike's Marvels

Here’s hoping the frost is done until the end of the year.

photography by Maike's Marvels

I’ll be getting out my flower dictionary to refresh my naming abilities.

Encaustic and Mixed Media/Photography Workshop

“I believe that if you are creating
something that is truly coming from within,
that is your true vision and authentic voice,
then it will speak to other people.”

~ Bridgette Guerzon Mills in The Artist Unique by Carmen Torbu

photograph by Maike's Marvels

An encaustic palette at the end of the day

PerficalSense Studio photograph by Maike's Marvels

PerficalSense Studio Workshop Space

This weekend I took a workshop with Bridgette Guerzon Mills at PerficalSense Studio. I’ve admired Bridgette’s work and how she incorporates her photography into her art.

Photograph by Maike's Marvels

We first were given an overview of various encaustic techniques, which was a lot of fun. Although I learned some of these techniques in 2010, and keep reading about them, I have not experimented enough with them.

Photograph by Maike's Marvels

Photograph by Maike's Marvels

Workshops are a good way to shake up one’s habits and be more daring.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Technique play board by Maike’s Marvels

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Bridgette’s demonstration board

After some play we were shown how to do an image transfer. I had a happy accident when preparing my next board. While trying to figure out how to turn off the heat gun the heat created the “burst” in the middle of the boad.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

In spite of reading various step-by-step book instructions I had not done a photo transfer yet. It was fun to watch the demo and then try it myself. The wet transfer process is so simple and once I got started I was eager to try more.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Wet transfer technique by Maike’s Marvels

After that we embedded images and collage materials, something I am more familiar with. Even here, I learned of new materials to try and am looking forward to recycling tea bags in my next project.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Embedding technique by Maike’s Marvels

Then Bridgette demonstrated a pour technique, which was entirely new to me. It felt like a good way to try embedding twigs, although the image is still more murky than hoped for. We will see if this ‘clears up’ and if not, I can always try again.

photographs by Maike's Marvels

The pouring technique with embedded twigs

It was fun to see how the demo board evolved.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Bridgette’s demo board after embedding

We enjoyed admiring each other’s work at the end of class.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

We lingered a bit to chat about the neighborhood, the artistic community and future events while having some wine.

photograph by Maike's Marvels

Our pieces at the end of class

Bridgette is this month’s FUSEDChicago featured Artist, and you can read more about her start in encaustics here. Having a love for nature, photography and books in common is such a nice affirmation of why I am drawn to Bridgette’s work.

Photograph by Maike's Marvels

Phases of Encaustic Paintings by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

A few new works were up on the Meditations: Looking In, Reflecting Out exhibit wall (through March 24) to replace those that sold.

Born of Earth and Bone by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Having played with new colors, I took advantage of Dick Blick’s 20% off sale (and said hello to Sassy Aphrodite, up until March 18) to add to my own palette. I look forward to practicing the new techniques in my next project.

“Encaustic is just a perfect partner for mixed media.”
~ Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Stained Glass Museum Discovery

“O, wonder!
 How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!”
~ Miranda in Shakespeare’s The Tempest 

photo by Maike's Marvels

Last week I saw a fabulous interpretation of Shakespeare’s Tempest at the Shakespeare Theater. My friend had alerted me to this now sold out show early on. I’ve had a fascination with puppets since watching Germany’s Augsburger Puppenkiste on TV as a child, and still enjoy puppet shows whether for younger or older audiences. Watching 3 actors take on 6 adult puppet personas in The Feast: an intimate Tempest was captivating.

photo by Maike's Marvels

The play was a bit dark, so it was nice to come out to the shining Ferris wheel of Navy Pier, a tribute to the first Ferris wheel built for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

photo by Maike's Marvels

Little did I know that Navy Pier also holds the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. Having just read Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany, I was mesmerized by these beautiful collages of glass.

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows

Both the book and the exhibit emphasize how these windows intended to showcase Chicago’s cutting-edge design and America’s independence in developing artistic styles.

This window is quite abstract.

Sharks Teeth, unidentified fabricator, 1890s

This “statement of early American feminism” was placed in the Women’s Building during the 1893 World’s Fair. It represents “Liberty for all women; Enlightenment for the oppressors; and the Progress made when this is accomplished.”

Mothering the coming woman of liberty, progress and light
by Elizabeth Parsons, Edith Blake Brown
and Ethel Isadore Brown, 1893

This German window was based on a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Lil’s Menagerie, firm of Beiler of Heidelberg 1893

I like that it has butterflies and bunnies in it. 🙂

The Art Nouveau style became prevalent in windows too.

Three flowering bulbs,
unidentified designer and fabricator, c.a. 1900

These Four Seasons lived at a North Sheridan Road residence, and are based on a design by Alphonse Mucha (who might have overseen this window’s fabrication).

The Four Seasons,
unidentified artist and fabricator, c.a. 1907-08

 Woman with Horn, c.a. 1910, unidentified artist

The chunks and orbs of jeweled glass made me wish for a window of my own.

This window combines Victorian and Egyptomania designs.

Feather design door light, 1880s-1920s,
unidentified designer and fabricator

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s influence is highlighted in a few special showcases.

Pair of Poppies attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, late 1890s

“For a depressingly long period, even his own furnace men
told Tiffany that his aim was unattainable.
It was impossible, they said, to incorporate color into glass
as he envisioned it.
For years they tried to combine various
metallic oxides to produce different tints and hues,
but the mixture would always disintegrate. 

However, Tiffany had a stubborn streak which,
added to his extraordinary energy, led to eventual success.”
~ Dr. Egon Neustadt, the Lamps of Tiffany

This garden vignette looks Tiffany-esque, but is not traced back to the studio.

Garden with Fountain, c.a. 1910,
unidentified designer and fabricator.

Agnes Northrop worked with Clara Driscoll, and designed this window for Tiffany Studios. It demonstrates Tiffany’s impressionist period and has Favrile glass in the sky.

Autumn Landscape by Agnes F. Northrop for Tiffany Studios, 1890s

“Most sheets of Tiffany glass are not smooth
but are unevenly surfaced either on one or both sides;
multitudes of folds, ripples or nodular irregularities give the glass
a third dimension and also create the extraordinary light refractions
which give Tiffany shades a great deal of their distinction.”
~ Dr. Egon Neustadt, the Lamps of Tiffany

“This is a most majestic vision, and
Harmonious charmingly.”
~ Ferdinand in Shakespeare’s The Tempest

There is a whole section on religious windows, such as this Nativity.

Nativity, attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, c.a. 1880s

I pored over this Roundel with Three Angels.

Roundel with Three Angels,
attributed to the J. &. R. Lamb Studios, c.a. 1900

There is so much more to see, and gorgeous detail my camera couldn’t capture. I highly recommend taking a close-up look to see the glass-making techniques applied in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

“Thou makest me merry; I am full of pleasure:
Let us be jocund.”
~ Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest 

International Women’s Day

“… it’s important to remember that all of us
are a crucial part of the environment influencing
our world’s future women.
Our ambition, our work, our efforts to obliterate the gender gap,
and our relentless refusal to give up
are paving the way for the next generation,
just as our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers did for us.
And that’s a pretty big deal.”
~ Jennifer Winter 

Yesterday I attended the Union League’s International Women’s Day luncheon. Per their website: “International Women’s Day is a day that is observed annually at the United Nations and is designated by many countries as a national holiday. It began as a remembrance and celebration of the struggle faced by women around the world in the name of equality, justice, peace and development.

Though the role of women around the world has continued to evolve in the nine decades since the inception of International Women’s Day, women in the 21st century still face many obstacles in the advancement of their status worldwide. Regardless of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, the desire and need for progressive change is universal.”

The luncheon was preceded by a trade fair showcasing numerous organizations to help in the advancement of business women, assisting women in developing countries by promoting and selling their handmade crafts, an organization researching women’s leadership in Chicago, and a few international representatives. The Women’s Innovation Network table drew those with a sweet tooth as we offered fudge by Kilwin’s Chocolates and cupcakes by The Sugar Path.

Keynote speaker Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Chief Marketing Officer of Gatorade (and named #10 most powerful women in sports by Forbes) gave the following tips, after noting that she was always ‘average’ when growing up:

1. Know your strengths and play to them

She related trying to fit into a company culture she didn’t belong in (Atari), in a field she wasn’t passionate about, and being laid off as a result. “Play to who you are and be authentic,” was her lesson.

2. Know when to pass the ball

Citing the Businessweek article “Behind Every Great Woman” Robb O’Hagan advocated letting others share in the balancing act of life. “Let them play to their strengths,” she said, “When you’re doing it all you’re not playing to the things you are best at.”

3. Playing to win is better than playing not to lose

Gatorade partner Serena Williams has seen both sides of the coin, and Robb O’Hagan said that when Serena stopped listening to what others were saying about her and got back to being true to herself, her game improved again.

4. Play like a girl

With this fabulous slide, Robb O’Hagan said that Lego conducted studies on how boys and girls play. Per Brad Wiener in “Lego is for Girls”: “Whereas boys tend to be ‘linear’—building rapidly, even against the clock, to finish a kit so it looks just like what’s on the box—girls prefer ‘stops along the way,’ and to begin storytelling and rearranging.”

“They (girls) look for meaning in play.”
~ Sarah Robb O’Hagan

Recommending Ann Doyle’s book “Power Up”, Robb O’Hagan stated that “We haven’t been able to usher in a new style of leadership,” because we downplay feminism and therefore a feminine leadership style. Women are “more thoughtful about the outcome of a decision,” she said.

5. Do not be afraid to change the game

Gatorade started as a sports drink, then became a popular consumer purchase, and then plateaud. Realizing the company was losing its core customer — athletes — but still had a strong brand power with that group, it is now introducing the G-Series which focuses on providing nutrient-rich products to athletes with a “Win from Within” campaign. Relating that to women, Robb O’Hagan said “We actually have to figure out to be proud of who we are and to play to who we are. … We have the opportunity to lean in and make a difference.”

“Everybody in this room is leading by their lives.”
~ Sarah Robb O’Hagan

We were surrounded by beautiful paintings and sculptures at both the fair and the luncheon. The Union League has an extensive art collection and I look forward to taking one of their monthly tours in the future.

Interestingly, a fellow attendee noted that her mother still had to enter the Union League by the back door just a few decades ago. That men-only era still held remnants as a men’s room had a makeshift paper sign on the door that said “Ladies room” right next to the sign by the stairwell instructing: “Ladies restroom downstairs.”

Citing this type of exclusion in Palestine, and noting that both storms and liberty are given feminine pronouns, cultural speaker Roxane Asaf said: “What is powerful causes fear. When order is challenged, we are degraded; we must be stripped.”

While women in Palestine do celebrate International Women’s Day with a march and by presenting issues to the legislature, promises to create committees on those issues may not be followed through in action by leaders. “There is hope, if not a lot of action,” said Asaf.

“Liberty and respect are at issue for women.”
Roxane Asaf

Cultural speaker Avirama Golan remembered her Israeli grandmother as a ‘strong woman’ even though she might be considered a ‘simple woman.’ The primary breadwinner after her husband was imprisoned during World War I while raising her 6 children, she didn’t see herself as a role model or the head of the family. She “was putting bread on her childrens’ table, that’s all,” said Golan.

“Yes, we’ve come a long way.
Feminism is the most successful revolution of all time
without bloodshed.
But are my daughters really free?”
~ Avirama Golan 

“Women work hard, sometimes harder than men but make much less than men to survive in a merciless, almost inhuman labor market and they’re expected to be even better mothers and wives than their ancestors,” Golan said.

Golan said men are also burdened with having to maintain their gender-biased roles. This is touched on by the article Robb O’Hagan mentioned. Carol Hymowitz wrote: “Even as the trend becomes more widespread, stigmas persist. At-home dads are sometimes perceived as freeloaders, even if they’ve lost jobs. Or they’re considered frivolous kept men—gentlemen who golf.”

The consensus was that we need to continue to break down the gender-barriers and advocate true equality.

“I remember my grandmother singing loud and clear:
‘What are you waiting for, there is so much work to be done.’”

~ Avirama Golan