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current work Fly Girl Sculpture

FLY GIRL: the Divine Feminine Takes to the Air

I realized early on in my sculpting practice that I am happiest creating pieces that speak to the Divine Feminine. Among the powerful women figures who have inspired me are the gutsy Fly Girls of the early 20th century.

Air Racing, Barnstorming, Stunt Flying

Early Fly Girls took to the skies and paved the way for all women who dreamed of following unconventional paths.

Women have been involved in aviation for longer than most people realize. In 1788, Jeanne Labrosse was the first woman to fly solo in a hot air balloon over Paris. She was also the first woman to use a parachute. In 1906, Emma Lilian Todd designed her own aircraft. In 1910, Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to earn a pilot license. So many other “Fly Girls” pushed their way out of the confining roles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Odds Are Stacked Against You

It’s not like flying was safe for men or women. Wings collapsed, and parts flew off, firewalls were made of wood–it didn’t take much for engine fires to turn deadly. Massive system failures occurred routinely, and, by the way, parachutes were not readily available.
On top of all that, flying was expensive, and most women didn’t have the money for such frivolity.

Besides, the roles set out for women were rigid and constrained by social norms. Flying was, in no uncertain terms, not ladylike.

Aviatrices Lead the Way

And yet, once bitten by the flying bug, these female iconoclasts did whatever it took to scrape together the money to afford flying lessons and airtime, convention be damned.

Back then, they were called “Aviatrices.” Brave pioneers like Raymonde la Laroche, Harriet Quimby, Amelia Earhart, Jacqueline Cochran, and Bessie Coleman paved the way for other women to follow in their footsteps.

So, what was it that drove these pioneers to pursue such dangerous endeavors? Was it adventure, the challenge, or perhaps the thrill? Or, was it the feeling of unbridled freedom that comes from soaring in open space? My guess is that it was all of the above and more.

An Homage to Fly Girls Everywhere

I created Fly Girl as a tribute to early women’s aviation because I was fascinated by the stories and by what these women accomplished in the face of monumental obstacles. They were brave and courageous and possessed the drive to achieve their dreams.

I love telling these stories of the Divine Feminine through the medium of clay because their stories motivated me to achieve my own goals.

Would I have been a Fly Girl? I like to think so. Either way, I must admit, sculpting Fly Girl dressed in men’s jodhpurs as was the norm back then, gave me a huge thrill!

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