International Women’s Day

By Manvi Pant

Celebrating the Spirit of Womanhood

Given that women have been a source of inspiration forever as homemakers, environmentalists, teachers, authors, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders, it’s hard to believe why there is only one day celebrated as Women’s Day. Why shouldn’t everyday be celebrated as Women’s Day?
Today, after spending so many years surrounded by so many different women, I am proud of the way they have challenged adversity, and so, “I pledge to stand by every woman, who is her own influencer, her own leader, her own follower.”

1Nancy Pirri, Brooklyn, New York born Sculptor, and presently residing in Chicago, IL, discovered clay to be her true passion in 1991. Her ceramic work focuses on women’s struggle to find emotional balance. Using live models, she tries to capture an emotion: whether it is hope, sadness, or struggle. She has a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Iowa. In 1991, Nancy joined Lillstreet Art Studios and took a figure sculpture class. She now knew the medium and subject she wanted to focus on. This was her AHA moment!

Some of her achievements include: ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ received ‘Best in 3D’ Award at the Beverly Art Center’s 39th Annual Competition (2015); ‘Tamara’s Stain’ (pictured left) was published in “500 Figures in Clay V2” (2014); and in 2010, she received an ‘Honorable Mention’ Award from the Rockford Museum Midwestern Biennial. In June/July of 2016, Nancy will be having a solo show at The Cliff Dwellers Club on Michigan Ave.

Nancy Pirri says her choices have been easy to stand by, following a path that makes her 2happy. She is not married nor has children, but creating a new piece of art to her is sort of like the birth of her child. She has a tendency to draw people out and get into the soul of other people in her everyday life and believes it shows in her work.

She works primarily in clay, a.k.a. Mother Earth, employing a variety of deliberate techniques to further enhance a sense of earthiness and antiquity. Random yet controlled applications of colored slips, glazes, and various firings including soda reduction, enhance her texture treatments, as if you could suddenly unearth them from history. If one could see the depth and complexity of a woman plainly on her surface, would we see beauty? Would we see their scars, if we look closely enough? Nancy lets each woman tell her story through her hands.

The biggest challenge she faces is “Balance.” It is hard to work full-time at something other than sculpting so she can support herself and her passion. While she enjoys her full-time position, she said, “The challenge for me is switching my ‘creative mind’ around after working on a computer every day. 2D to 3D, computer to clay. It’s not that easy especially when I would rather be creating.”

The ever graceful Nancy, is free spirited and naturally-driven, and wants women to follow their dreams or passions. “Remain true to yourselves for who you are!”

Tania Hassounia, Illustrator, Christchurch, New Zealand, was 12 years old when she decided to become a commercial artist. A true believer in God, Tania she earned her BA in Visual Communication at Art School in her late 30’s, when her business took shape. Extremely talented and accomplished already in art work, her teachers encouraged her to consider working for herself than getting a job upon graduation. “I was floored, but it sprouted a seed inside me”.

After 4-6 months of contemplation and feeling an inner responsibility to be true to the natural skills and talents she was gifted with, Tania finally took a plunge and set up her business “Drawer Full of Giants”. Tania, a single mom, helps other businesses develop genuine affinity with their clients with the help of her deluxe imagery and her Woo Clients Anew: personalized communication packages. A successful first year in business got her even more determined to continue further, but destiny had other plans!

“A casual conversation with a friend, who expressed her desire in heading overseas to offer herself in mission service, got me thinking about my long standing dream to do something similar”. Confused, nervous and a little miffed at her perception of being ‘stuck’ now in business, Tania confided in God, she had a daughter coming of age and soon the financial support for her 1st year in business was going to end. On one side, Tania was still in process of planting her feet with Drawer Full of Giants, on the other side, was her dream to travel and be a part of a mission service tugging at her soul. Little did she know that an unexpected turn awaited her! In the following week, Tania visited her Art School to give a lecture, when one of her Ex-Teachers invited her for a drink. Tania shared her dilemma and expressed her desire to head overseas, “He looked me square in the eye and said, Tania it’s a no-brainer. You are a talented designer, have a great personality, you get along with everyone, you would be a real asset to everyone you meet. Just GO!!” “That was my final push, which was confirmed later when I heard God telling me to sell everything and GO, offer my business services to ministries anywhere in the world I wanted to visit.”

A week later, she got a call from a ministry in USA, inquiring about her availability to work with them. She had also been invited to spend the following year in Thailand to volunteer her business. This was one moment in her life that she considers a huge stepping stone in her success. Leaving everything, and her daughter’s life taken care of, Tania moved to Thailand for a year then to USA and Australia the following years. Now, five years later Tania is still thoroughly enjoying her experience of being in business while traveling parts of the world.

Dropping out of school at the age of 16, she made a series of poor choices with far reaching consequences, yet Tania managed to redeem herself with her positive attitude and God. “If you have an inner dream, believe that it has been there for a reason. You are not in competition with anyone else as you are unique in your outlook, enjoy the journey and pray during the hard times. In fact, pray through it all!”


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