What a handsome number, 2020. Balanced. Strong. Sturdy. And clear, as in perfect vision.
Generous, too, throwing us a bonus day. I must admit, this leap year makes me want to leap - not just into a new year, but a new decade.
What illuminates this whole coming year is the celebration of women and our 100th year anniversary, in this country, of obtaining the right to vote. It is enough to make me pause. I mean, it is also the 25th anniversary of my life with my husband, which means that women have been voting only 4 times as long as I have been swimming in this happiness. Incredible.
Did you know an orchid can live 100 years?! (No one told mine, who grace my kitchen for a few fleeting weeks, max.) And this - orchids are 100 million year old, collectively speaking; fossils spill that secret. I had no idea.
What I did know is that deep in the three mountains ranges of Colombia, hundreds of varieties run wild and free.
Here in Sile, a women's community honors a 150-year-old craft tradition,
hand-looming organic cotton, washing it in the saline water of the Black Sea, and spreading out their cloth to dry on the quartz sands of their beach.
I walk into the design studio of Carolina Vélez in Medellín, Colombia. . . totally unprepared for the jaw dropping that is to come.
Her lover gave her a splendid orchid blossom. It splurged; it faded. Still cherishing, she tucked it in a drawer. A month later, forgetting, she opened and found the blossom still there - dried but alive with memory. A jeweler, she dreamt of turning it into gold. She consulted teachers, experts; no one could tell her how to perform this alchemy. So she set out - by trying and trying again - to find her own way.
I'm sitting down with Chantha Nguon to discuss designs for our World Dress collection, having admired for years her work with luscious silk. Chantha is a strong, petite woman with a handsome face and eyes that hold a harrowing history. Born in culturally rich Cambodia, Chantha escaped the Khmer Rouge regime when she was nine, living in war-torn Saigon and later for 10 years without family in a Thai refugee camp. When she at last returned to her home in Cambodia, the culture had been extinguished; the women in her village knew nothing of their heritage, nor of hope.
Each week, I celebrate here women of uncommon strength; artisans crafting a new world; Ibu on the move. But there is another kind of Ibu in this movement: women of influence and accomplishment among us who are reaching out to elevate women worldwide.