Just because you spend your day in the garage, it doesn’t mean you have to dress down. It means you have dress sturdy. Take a look at the Tomboy Denim Jacket & Dex Glove. No matter how dirty the job is, Carhartt’s got you covered.
Stepping into the front room at Stephanie Revennaugh‘s house, I knew I had happened upon a tremendous artist. Her work thoughtfully placed among her beautifully Montana inspired living space played a melody between rich colors, textures, and elements of nature. Different projects were sprawled out, not quite finished, but still breathtaking. She captures a perfect moment of movement in her sculptures, full of life and resounding with a peaceful power.
Stephanie began her career as an artist in oil painting. After a few years, she took a sculpture workshop and felt she’d finally found her native medium. In the thick of the thrill of starting a new piece loaded with endless possibilities, she relishes the challenge of embodying the clay with a spirit all it’s own. Then in turn, seeing the finished work speak to and affect others.
Stephanie’s advice for other women hoping to get into the arts as a full time career is to “start right now clarifying your desires and acting on them consistently. The road is guaranteed to be full of challenges. Keep showing up through them. Build the best support network around you that you can (which often starts with family) and stay dedicated. The most challenging part for me is balancing creating work with running the business end of an art career. My Mom has stepped into a business manager position for me, which has been wonderful. I’m all about hiring people who have skills in areas I don’t. It relieves frustration, saves time and usually money as well. “
That being said, if you’re dreaming of it now, get after it! There’s no sense delaying when you could be finding your way and building skills as you go. Focus and hard work can get you places. Take it from Stephanie and “trust your creative instincts and passionately create what is in your heart.”
There is so much to appreciate about fall: crisp air and crunchy footsteps, soft earthy tones and speckled foliage. It marks the start of bonfire season and cuddle-up in-warm-blankets season. I’m a big proponent of surrounding oneself with the great outdoors. That being said, it feels natural to pluck up a few flowers from the yard and put them in a vase, but what about leaves? They can be just as lovely, with free flowing branches and freshly turned hues. Why not give it a try? It’s a free way to decorate for the season and it challenges you to see the beauty in what most consider mundane.
Wake up early. Analyze lab results. Prepare reports for clients. Go to scheduled air inspections in commercial and residential environments. Submit samples to a lab in Washington. Then back to office work and equipment maintenance. That’s the typical day in the life of an Indoor Air Quality Inspector. Meet Jennifer Philipps of ERA Test, LLC in Montana. She and her mom, Lisa, own and operate the business. They test air to detect threats like mold, asbestos, radon, and methamphetamine. Together they are able to work across the entire state. The dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship in a work environment have brought the family closer together. They are able to lean on and learn from one another. It’s much more common to come across family businesses that are passed from father to son. I must say, it was really exciting to come across a multi-generational family trade that not only involves the women, but is entirely run by them. What an awesome gift of knowledge and skill to bestow. Jennifer’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt & Women’s Sibley Denim Cropped Pant
I think there are a lot of women (myself included) who often feel as though they are without a voice; be it in the workplace, the construction site, on the range, in social media, or during everyday life. It can be infuriatingly overwhelming to stand against the dialogue that already dictates those venues and arenas: the ideas that men are better leaders, women can’t perform as well in tough, blue-collar jobs, or even that women are better suited to clerical tasks rather than being out on the field.
Women, let’s stick together and raise our voices simultaneously to create a new discussion. We are capable. We are strong. We can swing a hammer or wield a crowbar. We can be contractors and painters and cattle ranchers and mechanics and engineers. We can do whatever job we want. We can lead, and we can do it well. WE CAN.
That brings me to Meegan Czop and the folks at Rebuilding Exchange. Many women there fill roles that are typically considered a man’s job. Meegan spends time on the ground scavenging through demolition sites for materials that can be resold through the non-profit to the public for re-use. It’s a tough job and she’s often the only woman to step foot in the work zone.
I tagged along on a trip she made to a Chicago warehouse that was ruined by fire a few months ago. With a jump in her step, she explores areas that would make most people nervous. A job that requires an adventurous spirit requires a special person. Meegan is changing the dialogue of what women are capable of with the elbow grease she puts into every day, the hard work she does to preserve and better the community, and the way she defies stereotypes with confidence and competence.
It’s fair to say that most people would prefer an early morning routine of rolling out fresh chocolate croissants to a 9 to 5 desk job. But how do you get there? How do pin down your dreams fast enough to make a career out of them?
After realizing she wasn’t cut out for the daily grind of cubicle life, Sandra Holl decided to buckle down and follow her heart by attending culinary school. At that time, she knew she wanted to be her own boss and make the food she wanted to make. Seeing the opportunities at Chicago’s Green City Market, Sandra decided that opening her own booth would be a low-risk way of starting a business. There she and her husband, Mathieu, used it as a venue to test out their rustic, French pastries and built a name for themselves. Eventually, a brick and mortar space was next step. In 2010, Floriole Café and Bakery’s doors opened in Chicago’s quaint Lincoln Park neighborhood.
When I asked Sandra what the most rewarding part of her job was, she replied,
“I love that I have a family business. I work with my husband and can bring my daughter to work with me. She sees how hard I work and is so proud of her mama. She often tells customers, “This is my mom’s bakery.””
There is no greater feeling than to bring creativity and light to the world through the smile a chocolate hazelnut cookie can yield, while inspiring your own daughter and nudging her along to the discovery that she too can do the same with a little elbow grease and determination.
Here are a few tips from Sandra for anyone striving towards a similar path:
1. Find a chef you admire and work with her or him. Absorb as much of their knowledge as you can, then move on and learn more.
2. Perfect the basics before you get creative. No one really wants a wasabi curry cupcake but everyone wants a perfect slice of peach pie.
3. Everything breaks. Learn how to fix things yourself.
4. Know that you will work seven days a week. Even when you are off, you will run errands for the business, answer calls and emails and when the security alarm goes off in the middle of the night, you will go make sure that it was only a false alarm.
This week Crafted in Carhartt is giving a shout out to the inspiring Krista Burleson. She’s a welder and a construction worker. Talk about girl power! Krista has some words of wisdom to share with any women with aspirations similar to her own:
“All the things I’ve ever been interested in, nobody around me understood (hunting, welding, climbing, MMA), and they never have to since that is who I am. I’ve managed to accomplish all I’ve set my mind to (all of which in male dominated fields) by working harder than everyone else around me and earning the respect of everyone around me. I’ve managed to keep my femininity and morals while having respect from fellow co workers and team mates. Carhartt has always been there to help my performance excel in every aspect of my life. For that I thank you Carhartt!”
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Those of you in the Portland area who are interested in starting a chicken coop, you might want to give Rhonda, from Just Us Hens, a call. It all started over conversations between friends who harbored a love for chickens and gardening. Rhonda and Sharon came up with the idea of a business that provides chicken sitting, consults, and other services such as wing clipping and coop cleaning. Ingenious, right?! If fresh eggs and sweet chicks are something of interest to you, don’t be daunted by the task of building and maintaining a coop. With knowledgable women like Rhonda and Sharon around to provide help and advice, it’s a more feasible task.
Let’s talk safety in the wood shop. Here are a few tips to follow while you’re working:
1. Wear the appropriate workwear. No loose or dangling clothing or jewelry.
2. Always use sharp blades and tips. Dull blades can be very dangerous.
3. When changing out blades, make sure to disconnect power source beforehand.
4. Check for nails, screws, and other metal pieces in wood before you work with it.
5. Never reach over the blades. Use a push stick to move cut off wood.
6. Always be patient and careful. When you rush, you’re more likely to make mistakes.
7. Keep the shop clean. This helps the work flow and prevents accidents.
Take a look at Rachel’s outfit. It’s easy to move around in, sturdy, and safe to wear to work.
El Paso Utility Vest, Short-Sleeve Signature T-Shirt, Relaxed-Fit Canvas Kane Dungaree, & Billings Safety Glasses.
Are you familiar with the Broken Windows Theory? It’s the idea that when a neighborhood begins to fall into disrepair, it jumpstarts a downward spiral for the entire community. That negativity spreads and leads to more decay and even crime. The good thing is that the opposite action of investing in your home and stomping grounds leads to further beautification in that area. That’s the driving force behind Urban Farm Collective in Portland. They transform unused land into neighborhood food gardens. This fosters community development, promotes education, and food security.
I got to follow garden manager, Chelsea Updegrove, around as she tended some of her daily tasks. It’s hard work, but it’s every bit fulfilling as it is demanding. Hours spent kneeling over rows of carefully planted seedlings, covered in dirt, call for clothing that wears mud well. Take a look at Chelsea’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Minot Shirt, Sibley Denim Cropped Pant, Force Equator Jacket, Plaid Military Cap, and Rapid City Utility Work Apron.
I’ll leave you with a parting quote from Chelsea, “Peace, love, and carrots.”