Right, so the general inspiration obviously comes from different women, but there are a few more steps involved in making!
How do I even identify which women I want to dedicate the earrings to?
Some of the women I just know of: Marie Curie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, etc. These women are or have been in the public eye and are pretty well known.
Other women, I know about because of my personal interests and my upbringing: Hedy Lamarr has always been a hero of mine and she is one of the reasons I became a scientist.
Yet others, I stumble upon: several years ago I went to exhibition at the Queen's Gallery on Maria Sibylla Merian. I had never heard of her, and due to the way the exhibition was marketed, I thought I was just going to see some pretty drawings. I was immensely surprised when I discovered through the exhibition that she was a scientist, or naturalist.
And still others, I do some digging. In my previous post, I list a number of books that contain pages and pages of inspiring women. Yaa Asantewaa and Wangari Maathai are two women I hadn't heard of before, but knew I wanted to make earrings dedicated to them.
In some cases, I do targeted research - for example it was important to me to make earrings of LGBT women, especially trans women, so to the Google I went. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera instantly made it on to my list, which is ever growing.
Most of the time though, I keep my eyes and ears open. Women are doing amazing things all the time - we just need to listen. CRISPR ladies Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier have been on my list for a while, but after winning the Nobel Prize for their work, they have migrated to the top. Similarly, a recent piece I heard on the radio about first and only Canadian Inuk opera singer Deantha Edmunds sparked my interest.
Sometimes it is a little tricky deciding which women to include. They are people after all: they make mistakes or are products of their times. Their morals may not align with mine. However, while I love the idea of honouring the first female British Prime Minister, I just cannot bring myself to overlook Margaret Thatcher's actions and political convictions. The idea of wearing earrings dedicated to her makes me shudder, so no, I will not be making Thatcher earrings.
I have also considered Greta Thunberg. She is a fantastic inspiration for young people and is doing a great amount of good. But she is not a woman. She is a kid. I am not saying this to undermine her achievements. I am honouring her wishes. She herself has asked adults to listen to her and make changes. To treat her as the child and now teenager that she is. I have no doubt that she will continue to make impressive contributions to the world, but for now, there will be no Greta earrings.
How do I design the earrings?
This is my absolute favourite part of this whole venture. I get to make art in the form of earrings.
For some earrings, I just know what I want to make. The Hedy earrings for example, I didn't even have to think about what I would do. I just knew. Which meant a lot of searching to find the right stars to use.
Other earrings, I have a vague idea, but am not sure how to implement it. For example, the Marie earrings - I knew I wanted green and dangly, but that was about it. I ordered several different types of beads, and played around with a number of different iterations until I got it right.
Sometimes I use their work or their achievements as inspiration: the Rita earrings are inspired by the images Rita Levi Montalcini recorded of Nerve Growth Factor in embryonic development.
Other times, I think about the kind of woman she was/is. The Ruth earrings are big and bold, because that is what Ruth was. They are also a little whimsical, because that is what she was too.
I usually order beads, and play around with what I've got until I get it right. Sometimes, I need to go hunting for the right gems, because I want to make the perfect pair for each woman.
Are there any women you would love to see in our range? Tag us on instagram, facebook, or twitter @shopauricle with your suggestions!