When Hillary Clinton lost last year’s US election to misogynist reality star Donald Trump, women all around the world were understandably devastated.
However, Chicago-based calligrapher and designer Emily Asher found comfort in those dark post-election days by reaching out to “all the strong women in my life”, and remembering “all the great women who had come before” Clinton, acting as role models and paving the way for the seasoned politician.
“I felt the power of their accomplishments and their words lifting me up,” explains Asher on her website. “It was a feeling I wanted to bottle up and send to all the women in my life.
“So I got this idea…”
And the Dear Women project was born.
The idea is to write a letter of thanks or encouragement to 10 strong women in your life, and ask them to do the same, creating a chain of thanks and support.
“Let’s lift up the women in our lives,” says Asher, who has designed a series of cards featuring hand-painted illustrations of powerful women – and their quotes. “Let’s celebrate the great women of the past and the present, and support organisations that promote women’s rights and successes.
“Take up the Dear Women Project Challenge: use these cards to write letters to 10 women in your life, thanking and encouraging them. Then ask them to do the same.
“Each letter you write will benefit a non-profit charity for women.”
I am BEYOND thrilled to announce the launch of a side project I've been working on since the beginning of November. It's a passion project, something I started to combat my post-election blues. It's inspired by all the women who have written me thoughtful notes throughout my life: my mom, my sister, my best friend, my college professor, my high school mentor, my cousin, my grandmother, my aunt, my stepmom, my department chair, my former students...I have a box full of letters, mostly from women, that I have kept and cherished and turned to when I need encouragement. The Dear Women Project aims to thank, support, and encourage women through the art of the hand-written note. Each month, we will debut a new box set of notecards featuring a watercolor portrait and inspiring quote by a strong famous woman. Using the 10 note cards included in each box set, we challenge you to write a letter of encouragement or thanks to 10 strong women in your life, and urge them to do the same. 25% of all profits from the Dear Women project will support women through various related nonprofits. These Hillary Rodham Clinton cards will help support She Should Run, a nonprofit that promotes women in government. I've been searching for a way to use this platform and my business to "give back" for a while now, and I'm super excited to share this new project with the world! To shop these cards and to learn more about the project, follow the link in my profile (www.emilyroseink.com/dearwomenproject)
Asher finishes by saying: “Dearest women, let’s keep fighting together.
“Let’s lift each other up and urge each other forward. We need your voice and your words.”
Each of the cards designed by Asher – featuring everyone from Emily Dickinson to Clinton herself – is available to purchase from her website.
And 25% of profits will be donated to a series of non-profit organisations supporting women’s rights and causes, each of which has been chosen with the incredible women featured on the cards in mind.
For example, the Clinton art print will help support She Should Run, a non-partisan nonprofit that promotes women in government.
And the Dickinson card will see proceeds donated to Girls Write Now, New York City's premier creative writing and mentoring organisation for at-risk high school girls.
Speaking about her “passion project” on Instagram, Asher said: “It's inspired by all the women who have written me thoughtful notes throughout my life: my mom, my sister, my best friend, my college professor, my high school mentor, my cousin, my grandmother, my aunt, my stepmom, my department chair, my former students...
“I have a box full of letters, mostly from women, that I have kept and cherished and turned to when I need encouragement.”
Asher continues: “The Dear Women project aims to thank, support, and encourage women through the art of the hand-written note.”
It’s something she feels very strongly about. In a new interview with The Metro, Emily insisted that the project’s strength comes from asking women to put pen to paper.
“There is something special about a hand-written note,” she said.
“The surprise of getting the letter in the mail, the personal touch of that person’s unique handwriting, knowing they spent the time to write out these words to you...” she continued, before highlighting the best part of all; women can “keep it and return to it”, years later.
This allows them to hold the letter in their hands, read the words as if they’ve been freshly penned, and feel the warmth of all those feelings flooding through them once again.