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A blank page

Holiday cards by Chandler O'Leary

A lot of things had to fall by the wayside in the past few months (including this blog!), while some major projects ruled my life. The big deadlines still hold sway for now, but I’ve started to catch up in other ways. The holidays are done and dusted, the end-of-year to-do-lists are crossed off (mostly), and this huge stack of greetings is in the mail. Here’s to turning the page, and writing (and drawing!) the next chapter.

Happy New Year!

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…and to all a good night

Christmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

Tacoma photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyTacoma photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

Shooting grainy on-the-fly night photos doesn’t always yield the best results, but it’s done a great job of documenting this year’s Season of Light. I hope yours is as warm and bright as ours has been, and that you are surrounded by joy while the sun makes its way back to us.

Good Yule, and Merry Christmas.

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Last shot!

Detail of "Gun Shy" and "Focal Point" Dead Feminist broadsides by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

We’ve been in a flurry of holiday orders lately, and our Dead Feminist broadsides are flying off the shelf. I just did a count of our broadside inventory, and I thought I should tell you that both our Annie Oakley and Imogen Cunningham broadsides are nearly sold out. As of this writing (afternoon of Friday, December 18, 2015), we’re down to 7 copies of “Focal Point” and just 5 copies of “Gun Shy.” So if you’ve had your eye on either of these gals for awhile now, here’s your last shot! (And how often do I get to make a rifle pun and a camera pun at the same time?) You can bag them both, until they sell out, in our Dead Feminists shop.

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The door’s open

Studio Tour photo and New York state illustration by Chandler O'Leary

It’s hard to believe this much time has gone by already, but Tacoma Arts Month is here again, and that means that Studio Tour is this weekend! I’m all settled into my new space (don’t go to the old house by mistake!)—won’t you help me christen it? I’m planning on doing a big blog reveal of the new studio soon, but I thought I’d let local folks be the first to see it (and the first to meet my ORANGE CHAIR, about which I am ridiculously excited).

As usual, I’ll be open both days. You’ll be able to make your own die-cut greeting card, stamp your Studio Tour Passport (that’s a new feature this year, with prize drawings for folks who visit at least 8 studios!), and of course shop for original artwork and stationery. Our street is under construction at the moment, but don’t let that stop you—there’s plenty of parking just up the hill, and the sidewalk is wide open and pedestrian-friendly. Here’s the info:

14th Annual Tacoma Studio Tours
Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, 2015
11 am to 5 pm, free!
(My studio is #12 on the tour)
More info, locations and maps available here

See you this weekend!

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Seven for seven

Orcas Island sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I can hardly believe it, but I’ve now lived in the Pacific Northwest for seven years.

Mt. Rainier sketch by Chandler O'Leary

In that time I’ve done my very best to see as much of the region as possible, and document it all in my sketchbook.

Yakima apples sketch by Chandler O'Leary

So in honor of seven years, here are seven sketchbook drawings—

Seattle houseboat sketch by Chandler O'Leary

—presented in no particular order—

Columbia River sketch by Chandler O'Leary

—of some of my very favorte places

Panama Hotel sketch by Chandler O'Leary

and moments

Tacoma sketch by Chandler O'Leary

in the place I now call home.

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Berry jamboree

Berries photo by Chandler O'Leary

Because we’re having a record-hot summer this year, everything is coming into season early. And it’s all ripening at once, which made us look at the shelf of canning jars in panic.

Home canning photo by Chandler O'Leary

But there was nothing for it but to dive in and start filling jars (and jars and jars).

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Midsummer sights

Rainier cherries photo by Chandler O'Leary

For the first time in anybody’s memory around here, the height of the season has actually arrived by the time the official solstice declared it “summer.” And as if on cue, it’s summer around our house, too.

Ourdoor brick grill photo by Chandler O'Leary

So it seemed fitting to take a break from the more pressing repairs on our new house and focus on rehabilitating the vintage 1950s brick grill in the back yard. The Tailor’s parents were here over the solstice, and he and his dad got the grill back into shipshape—and then re-christened it with some seriously good kabobs over the charcoal from some fragrant cedar logs.

Deer photo by Chandler O'Leary

And we’re not the only ones celebrating summer at our house: this gal has been a regular visitor all month (she’s helping us prune back our shrubs…and pilfering a few apples as payment). When we stepped out back to hang some laundry outdoors, though, we were startled to find her napping in the shade back there. She watched us put the sheets up on the line, and waited patiently for me to grab my camera.

I suspect she’ll demand some more apples from us pushovers after this—ah, well. We can put up garden fences next year—and buy our apples for this year’s canning.

Happy summer!

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Proud day


Babe Didrikson Zaharias and other LGBTQ public figures of her time didn’t have the option of living their lives they way they chose. But we think it’s a bit of poetic justice that the Supreme Court made their landmark decisions on all three LGBTQ cases (Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, United States v. Windsor in 2013, and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003) on June 26: Babe’s birthday. So since today is also the start of Pride Weekend, we’re dedicating this weekend to Babe—happy birthday, happy Pride!

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Title Nine Iron

"Title Nine Iron" Dead Feminist broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

If you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest right now, you might find yourself surrounded by plus-fours and golf claps. This weekend marks the final days of the U.S. Open golf championship, which is being hosted in our hometown for the first time ever. The Chambers Bay golf course is one of the most beautiful and challenging in the world, and the U.S. Open attracts talented athletes and a ton of media attention. Yet all the coverage has reminded us of the need for a more level playing field for all athletes. So for our newest Dead Feminist broadside, we’ve unleashed the irrepressible showmanship of a golfer and all-star athlete who was a real contender (regardless of gender):

It’s not enough just to swing at the ball. You’ve got to loosen your girdle and let ‘er fly.  — Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Babe is best-known for her prowess as a golfer. On the course she was more than a champion: she was a superstar. By 1950 she had won every golf title available to her, and she is still remembered for her 17 straight amateur women’s victories—a feat still unequaled by anyone. Even though her life and career were cut short by illness, she is still one of the most decorated golfers of all time.

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

But Babe came late to golf—actually, she only switched focus entirely because she couldn’t maintain her amateur status as a golfer unless she gave up her other sports. Many have forgotten that she was also a champion at basketball, track and field, boxing, archery, tennis, diving, bowling, baseball and softball, roller skating and billiards—basically, a master at everything she tried. Babe was an all-star athlete in so many sports it’s hard to believe she was just one person. In fact, she demonstrated this fact by entering a 1932 amateur track and field championship as a one-women team. Babe qualified for three Olympic events (the maximum allowed at the time), but she actually finished first in five events and tied for first in a sixth, single-handedly racking up 30 team points. The second-place team? Well, they scored 22 points—with 22 members competing.

Detail of "Title Nine Iron" Dead Feminist broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

All of this is to illustrate how exceptional Babe was. People love to celebrate multi-event athletes like Michael Jordan or Deion Sanders for excelling at two sports, but how many of those guys were champions at half a dozen or more? Quite simply, Babe Didrikson Zaharias may just have been the greatest American athlete who ever lived. Period.

And this is where things get political. Just take a look at this list of the “Top 10 Greatest Multi-Sport Athletes“—Babe’s numbers blow every name on that list out of the water. (And she competed in many men’s events, as in her day there were often no women’s equivalents.) But Babe’s not on there. No women are. And that’s because even forty-plus years after Title IX, women athletes and women’s sports are of lesser value than their male counterparts. In fact, the words women’s and ladies’ are used as qualifiers, to denote an exception to the default. When you hear the name of a sporting event, and no gender is named, the assumption is that it’s a men’s event. (Heck, I’ve been hearing it all week in the golf coverage: it’s the “U.S. Open” and the “U.S. Women’s Open”—no mention of a “U.S. Men’s Open.”) When an athlete is recognized for her achievements, she is mentioned only on all-women lists. Some sports, like baseball and American football, have no “official” women’s equivalent—while others have different rules for the women’s version, like the arbitrary ban on body checking in women’s ice hockey. Women’s sports make a fraction of what men’s sports make in ticket sales and merchandising revenue. Men’s events still dominate the mainstream coverage air time on television, radio and news. And “you throw like a girl” is still an insult heard every day in America. We’re not advocating for co-ed sports here; we fully understand the practical rationale behind sex-segregation in athletics. But the differing value and respect our culture places on each is another matter entirely. Even the money male and female athletes win and earn is vastly disparate; take the U.S. Open, for example. The winner’s purse in the men’s tournament: $10 million. In the women’s tournament? Less than half, at $4 million. Apparently golf is played on a grass course with a glass ceiling.

In Babe’s lifetime, she was not only hampered by a host of restrictions on women competitors, she was also plagued by a media that ignored her accomplishments and focused instead on her tomboyish looks, brash demeanor and (lack of) relationship status. The pressure was relentless: the New York World-Telegram wrote, “It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring.” Even Babe, known for her arrogant show-boating and fiercely competitive nature, started wearing lipstick and more feminine clothing, stating, “I know I’m not pretty, but I try to be graceful.” Many have even argued that she switched to golf and married George Zaharias simply to conform to societal pressures to look and act more ladylike. She certainly treated these changes as a media makeover—perhaps to get the press off her back and shift the focus back to her abilities. So Jessica and I can’t help but wonder how her career might have been different if “pretty” weren’t a factor—if she could have been recognized and remembered for who she was, rather than what she wasn’t.

Detail of "Title Nine Iron" Dead Feminist broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

Since Babe was a marvel whose skill transcended all gender divisions, we wanted to make our broadside design as gender-neutral as possible. Instead, we focused on the game itself. Our 22nd broadside, Title Nine Iron, is a tribute to Babe’s best sport (with a nod to her beginnings as a track star), decked out in golf plaids and bright fairways. Follow the flags around the course with Babe’s quote, and let her words lift you over the rough and onto the green. And to keep our visual puns on par with our message of athletic equality, Babe’s bright red pennant is bedecked with a symbolic “Title IX” club: a nine iron.

Detail of "Title Nine Iron" Dead Feminist broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

Babe struggled throughout her career for recognition in the face of gender discrimination. Unfortunately, women athletes still face this sort of battle today—which makes legislation like Title IX incredibly important, even all these years later. So to help give girls everywhere equal access to sports and athletic training, we are donating a portion of our proceeds to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation works to advance the lives of girls and women through physical activity.

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Title Nine Iron: No. 22 in the Dead Feminists series
Edition size: 143 prints
Poster size: 10 x 18 inches

Printed on an antique Vandercook Universal One press, on archival, 100% rag (cotton) paper. Each piece is numbered and signed by both artists.

Colophon reads:
Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (1911 – 1956) grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. Babe reportedly earned her nickname playing baseball with neighborhood boys. She mastered every sport she played, including basketball, track and field, golf, tennis, diving, bowling, billiards and archery. When asked if there was anything she didn’t play, Babe said, “Yeah, dolls.”

In 1932, Didrickson entered an Amateur Athletic Union track and field championship as a one-woman team. She won six events, setting world records for the high jump, 80-meter hurdles, javelin and baseball throw. That same year, she won Olympic gold medals for the javelin and 80-meter hurdles and a silver medal in the high jump. Babe began playing golf in 1935, competing in the men’s PGA tournament paired with golfer, pro wrestler and future husband George Zaharias. Over her career, Babe won an unprecedented 17 straight women’s amateur victories and a total of 82 golf tournaments. A founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, she was fiercely competitive and an entertainer on the course, challenging accepted notions of femininity and athleticism despite constant media scrutiny.

Babe was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 1953. A year after a colostomy, she won the U.S. Women’s Open, inspiring cancer survivors with her victory. Golfer Betty Dodd played LPGA tours with Babe, eventually moving in with her and George for the last years of Babe’s life. Their intimate relationship was never publicly acknowledged. Babe’s cancer returned and she died at age 45. In 1999 the Associated Press named her Woman Athlete of the 20th Century.

Illustrated by Chandler O’Leary and printed by Jessica Spring, in honor of those who embrace their unique identities, “ladylike” or not. Printed by hand in Tacoma during the U.S. Men’s Open golf championship.

Now available in our Dead Feminists web shop!

Detail of "Title Nine Iron" Dead Feminist broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

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We did it!

Constellation pattern illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

Holy cow—we made our Kickstarter goal three days early! I can’t tell you how much it means that you helped us reach our goal, and so quickly. This project has truly been a labor of love, and it feels so good to know that you support local and women-owned businesses like us.

Production is going to begin shortly and the coat will start being shipped in early fall, so I’m sure I will have updates to give you in the near future. In the meantime, there are still three days left of the campaign if you’re looking to get in on the coat and other rewards. And the Tacoma News Tribune did a great article about the women involved in the project in today’s paper—you can read about it here.

Thank you so much again for all your support and help spreading the word. We truly could not have done this without you, and we are so looking forward to the day when we can all wear our coats! Many, many thanks.