The Power of She

inspiration

I am reminded of the “power of she” every year when I steal away for the weekend with my childhood girlfriends. This year, we included a trip to the Peabody Essex Museum to see the exhibit of Empresses of China’s Forbidden City. I was immediately drawn into the lives of these women and as curator Daisy Yiyou Wang said, “the broader reflection on the position of women in society and a sense of commonality and connection across time and cultures”

It’s easy to be entranced by the intricacy, beauty and elegance of these treasures from the Palace Museum… But what makes them stick with you, in your head and in your heart even after you’ve left the galleries, are the stories. Like most exhibitions, the labels on the walls and display cases tell us the facts. But knowing how much more we want to know, and without diaries and documents, the curators helped us imagine the lives of the women. They suggested just snippets, moments of a day, enough to give us a peek into the past and let us fill in the rest ourselves.

When I viewed the exhibit, I was already working on my spring collection. The peony was central to my theme. From the exhibit, I learned that Empress Dowager Cixi favored the peony, known as the “king of all flowers” and the flower of China, because the bloom signifies beauty and prosperity.

I found myself reflecting on women and the power of she. My spring collection widened as I chose an image that would live on and in the surface of my wheel thrown vessels and gave a second dimension to my collection.

The Pottery in Bloom collection and the Power of She collection become my spring collection together. Women have their own stories, shared in the company of other women. The power of she collectively creates strong, beautiful, feminine women who won’t be forgotten as these empresses might have been. The symbol of the peony bloom reminds us of their stories and of our own.

This collection will make its debut this weekend at Potters Place Spring Show and Sale, May 3-5. It is a small and intricate collection that begs to be touched as well as pondered intellectually.

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