Empowerment thru Accessories

I am filled with gratitude for you, my customers, who have supported me internationally through galleries, museum gift stores, boutiques, retail art shows and catalog sales for the past 40 years. While I continue to be passionate about my work, it is now time to give back.

“Empowerment Thru Accessories” was born from witnessing the power a woman could acquire from feeling beautiful while her body wages war with cancer. Ironically this empowerment can come from something as simple as an accessory, a scarf. As I began teaching free classes, with the understanding that the scarves painted would be gifted to women in need; I realized the empowerment happens for those learning to paint and continues with the act of sharing the creation with a person in need.

“Empowerment thru Accessories” is the richest thing I’ve created yet, and it is my intent to make this very simple project available to anyone interested, regardless of ability to pay, so that we may utilize the international language of the arts to support our sisters, mothers and friends.

History of Empowerment thru Accessories

A rainy February day on the North Coast of California finds me at the local gas station getting a nail removed from my tire. The nail has detoured my original mission, to drop off a hand painted silk scarf at Violets’ Boutique, a friend of hers is going through chemotherapy and has lost her hair. This is what I do to make the world a better place; I hand paint silk scarves with the intention of making someone feel like a princess every time she wears this piece of art.

My life has been about painting silk; it is my passion. The journey of a professional artist has been rich and rewarding, taking me from the white tents of weekend art shows to working with the top galleries, boutiques, retail catalogs and museum gift stores throughout the country.

In my late teens I watched the strongest woman I knew, my mother, cry as her hair fell out in reaction to the chemotherapy coursing through her veins. Empowerment arrived with her girlfriends and their array of entertaining headwear, but nothing made my mom feel beautiful.

In my mid thirties I watched, and felt, the power that came with a simple gesture given by strangers to my cancer ravished husband. He had been included in a prayer circle, not because we shared a faith or a friendship, just because we were struggling with life and death. The empowerment experienced by this gesture from strangers was profound for both of us, the patient and the significant care giver. This history has fermented into “Empowerment thru Accessories” my mission to put silk scarves on the heads of women experiencing challenges such as chemotherapy. It seems to be one of life’s ironies, just when a woman is facing the gravity of what IS her life, something as trivial as an accessory becomes critical to warmth, if not fulfilling the basic need to feel feminine.

Recently, at the height of her battle with cancer, a friend came to my studio to help video tape my painting of large silk panels for a show in Colorado. Witnessing the cancers hold on her emotions that day, I handed her a paintbrush and asked her to work on the panel with me. The work was beautiful, as was the change in her. “Empowerment” morphed before my eyes, the realization that the act of painting the silk held transformational powers of its own. The vision became clear, women painting scarves for other women, empowering themselves with the act of creation, coupled with the feelings of empowerment you experience when sharing your creation with someone in need. Women gathering to learn, creating community, while supporting each other.

Back at the gas station the tire is fixed, I am getting ready to pay when a woman walks in carrying a well disguised oxygen bottle, a hat covering a cold bald head. I have not made it to Violets’ boutique, so I reach into my bag and quietly ask the woman if I may have the honor of giving her this scarf. She tells me she is setting off to drive, alone, the hour and a half south for her chemotherapy. As she departs she is empowered; a silk scarf inspired by the colors of the coastal sunset gracefully covering the tubes and holes intruding into her life. I am honored to have been part of this experience and wish to share this feeling with others. “Empowerment thru Accessories” is my way of making the world a better place, on several levels, one scarf at a time.

How to Participate

Thank you for your interest in “Empowerment thru Accessories.” I have designed this program to be self supporting, no overhead, no administration costs, just women helping women and growing in the process. Jacquard is generously supporting my efforts to make this magic available to all, regardless of financial means.

This program will grow and flourish for eternity if it is cared for properly.

We can change the world one scarf at a time. Enjoy the ride.

siobhan signs