The Beginning

My Nanny, Clara Elizabeth Guider

My Nanny, Clara Elizabeth Guider


The beginning of this blog begins with an ending. It is an ending that I know many of us share and it becomes part of our unique story. The story of loss related to cancer seems to be a common story we’ve all heard and sadly, experienced. As an artist, I am proposing a community arts project for us–for all of us who have lost a significant woman to cancer. The Purses Project celebrates and memoralizes women lost to cancer through the feminine tool of the purse. Purses can be altered, painted, collaged, stamped, sewn, etc. to become a 3D art form that celebrates the unique stories of so many beautiful women we’ve lost to cancer. The sweet woman in the photograph is my grandmother who died of ovarian cancer many years ago. She was a struggling single mom and a waitress in Loudon, Tennessee and in the eyes of the world didn’t accomplish big feats, but the life of this one woman changed everything for me and her community. You see, this woman gave me a new name and a wonderful future when her son (my dad) adopted me. She served her family and community with selfless love and her children carried on her legacy by assuming service careers such as pediatrician and sheriff. Every woman has a ripple effect that extends past herself and her family and into the community at large. I’m inviting you to join me in telling the story of your remarkable woman lost to cancer and let’s watch as one life becomes a voice of many. I will detail everything from “how to” and future goals to exhibit the purses but for now, let’s end on this quote by Diane Mariechild: “A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”

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