Recently, I scrolled onto a captivating photo in my Facebook newsfeed posted by an actor I love. It showed his toddler daughter having a meltdown at the grocery store while he stood quietly above her during the lengthy outburst. In the caption, he remarked how valuable it is to really let yourself be, well, yourself, regardless of what others think. I couldn’t agree more. Does that mean I’m endorsing adult tantrums in the workplace? No. But I am endorsing a little more self-expression. Whether that means letting yourself cry a little when you stumble across a tenderhearted sentiment in the greeting-card aisle or getting out all your rage at Zumba class, allow yourself to feel all the feels, girlfriend.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 45 Minutes
One way to let it all out in a healthy manner is by creating art. While art is a mainstay of kid life, it seems like, as adults, we don’t often let ourselves wear the artist hat. There is always more work to be done, chores to tackle and happy hours to attend. But studies show giving yourself some creative time can lighten your load. One recent university-run study looked at how making art affects our stress levels, and the results were eye-opening. Published in the journal Art Therapy, the study found it only takes 45 minutes of creative activity to significantly reduce stress in the body, regardless of one’s artistic talent or experience. Feeling a little stressed out? Pull out the construction paper and glitter. Art is long and life is short. It’s go time!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Julie Jackson, Creator of Subversive Cross Stitch
There’s one artistic activity that has long been a favorite of women: cross-stitch, the oldest form of embroidery. While pastel florals, monograms and Bible verses may have been trendy in the olden days, modern cross-stitching reflects our modern times, and often, has a bit more of a sassy air to it, something today’s Woman to Watch has down to a fine art.
Julie Jackson is the creative maven who started a rebellious cross-stitch revolution with her uncompromisingly brazen online biz, Subversive Cross Stitch, which became a catalyst for the modern craft movement, one that’s garnered hundreds of thousands of crafters throughout the world.
Julie’s background is pretty diverse, from working as an ESL instructor to interning on public TV’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But it was a job she held in 2003, one with a callous boss, that fueled her dedication to art therapy. After a bad day and in search of some anger management, Julie stopped by a craft store, picking up a cross-stitch sampler and dutifully completing the pretty pink flower border. Then, to release frustration, she stitched one simple four-letter word smack-dab in the middle or her artwork. It was a cathartic move that made Julie feel inexplicably better, and she realized there was a market for such unusual, albeit snarky, art therapy. Before long, Julie created similar irreverent cross-stitch kits for others to copy.
Today, Subversive Cross Stitch offers all sorts of contemporary patterns with tactless yet totally satisfying sayings, like “Stop Freaking Out” and “It’s Not Mean If It’s Hilarious.” My favorite is perfect for a baby’s nursery: “Welcome, Tiny Overlord.”
Julie has also released several Subversive Cross Stitch books, in addition to dabbling in the sidesplitting art of taking photos of cats wearing wigs. Seriously.
Putting yourself and your designs out there for all the internet to critique can be hella scary. Despite Julie’s snarky stitches, she says most people are inherently good and kind—and often hilarious. With a generous heart, combined with a knack for spot-on irreverence, it’s pretty clear Julie is destined to leave us all in stitches!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote comes from the king of irreverent artists, Andy Warhol, who said:
“Art is what you can get away with.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.