Traditionally, women artists who worked with mediums such as textiles and embroidery were not considered artists. Their art was overshadowed by the masculine disciplines and artists for centuries, and all the while women have made beautiful, functional things, weaving and stitching their hopes and dreams and sometimes stifled emotions and energy into amazing things. Strong women like Magdalena, my Nana, who survived WWI, the depression, the debilitating arthritis of her invalid daughter, and leaving her family behind in the old country to come here. In her tiny village of Liebling she painted a vibrant flower garden on the side of her house. She also made friends with the gypsies against her mother’s wishes. I can only assume this made her “that quirky girl”, and I love her small acts of rebellion! She also made wonderful embroidery and tatting pieces, and repurposed clothes and other objects long before it was trendy. She is definitely one of my strongest influences, and I love carrying on the tradition of “women’s work” in my own way. I see the beauty and possibilities in things that most people would overlook or even discard. I love turning repurposed clothes, discontinued designer remnants, vintage things, found objects and organic bits into one of a kind artworks. I never use adhesives in the actual art, and everything is hand drawn, hand cut, hand sewn, hand painted and my roots are hand picked from the woods behind our house. Each piece tells me what it wants to be; each material and component whispers how it wants to evolve. As I take my turn at “women’s work” and weave my emotions, hopes and dreams into art, I contemplate what my Nana would think. I hope I make her proud.Erin is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.