The Work That We Do Is Our Art

Screen shot from Ishknits.com/Jessie Hemmons website

Have you seen this ad? I adore it. I've seen it in a couple different places, but most recently I've seen it in the August issue of Marie Claire. I am so curious about how and why this talented young woman Jessie Hemmons chose a bike for her profile in this campaign that I'm considering writing to her to ask. Why a bike isn't explained on her website, but what is explained on her website is how she began to crochet and knit - she began in juvenile hall. Someone who made it clear she did not like Jessie initially (who was the only white girl incarcerated at that time) took the time and patience to teach her how to crochet. It became her art and her vocation.

I love this series of ads by Tampax. I do. They illustrate what Mitch Joel, of Six Degrees of Separation talks about in a recent blog called "The Work We Do Is Our Art" by showcasing a series of talented young women with fascinating careers showing off their work. I know that the Tampax organization didn't set out to raise our awareness of the bicycle as a hip urban transit tool, but guess what? They are. This ad is being seen by hundreds of thousands of readers, and perhaps most importantly, young female readers making decisions about how they're going to move forward and live their lives.

I wish I could hire Jessie to come and yarn bomb parts of Long Beach as a female placemaking statement for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place 2012 conference. How cool would that be?

As I meditate on how I can better combine my work in bicycle advocacy with my art (I draw and paint, yes sometimes bikes!) I'd like to share another way that women can learn about the bike as a hip urban transit tool - or what I like to call "a tool for urban optimism." It can also be a tool for suburban optimism, and all over the world it's being used as nothing less than as a tool for transformation. This September 13 from 2:00 pm until about 11:30 pm the first national "Women's Bicycling Summit" will come to Long Beach California at the end of the "Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place" conference.

Our keynote for the conference is Leah Missbach Day, the co-founder of the World Bicycle Relief organizaton which has so far put over 100,000 bikes into the hands of those who most need mobility options throughout the world. To get a sense of the amazingly positive impact a bicycle can have on someone please take a look at this CNN newslink from the World Bicycle Relief site:

We have three ways that you can attend the Cycle Chic urban bike fashion show! For just $35.00 you can attend both the Women's Bicycling Summit + the Cycle Chic: Past, Present & Future urban bike fashion show. Or you can buy a General Admission ticket for just $15 (includes a token for a free beer + along the catwalk seat, live music, and after fashion music party -  and yes, we will have some very good food options available to pre-order very soon for just $15 as well!), or a VIP ticket for $50 (includes entrance to VIP area, dinner by Primal Alchemy Catering, New Belgium beer bar, live music, along the catwalk seat, live music, goodie bag, and after fashion music party!). You can find the links to make those purchase right here!