Big Woman Notecards got their start in San Francisco in 1978. Focusing on the pleasure of the black line against the white page, on how little it took to create a feeling of volume, I had been making drawing after drawing of big women, celebrating the female form in all its fullness and power.
A friend of mine, Marta Wohl, was a printer and collective member at the Women's Press Project, a women-owned and run print shop on Valencia Street. She suggested I could make offset prints of the drawings and sell them as notecards. I loved the idea of small, affordable pieces of art, so I chose four to start with: Leaping Woman, Seated Woman, Balloon Woman and Dedicated to the Cartwheel.
BWN debuted at a Fat Chance performance at the Skylight Studios in Berkeley. That summer I took a shoebox of cards and envelopes to the third Michigan Women's Music Festival to see if anyone was interested. They were. I started doing crafts fairs and looking for ways to offer the cards to the world.
Eventually I connected with my distributors, J&P, and the cards spread across the country to the many vibrant women's bookstores active at that time.
Little by little I added cards, creating them for occasions and holidays and dipping back into the drawings that had originally inspired them. They were some of the first openly lesbian and Jewish notecards in the women's community of the '70s and '80s.
At a certain point I turned my attention to other things, my distributors went out of business, I moved, bookstores stopped buying "mere" black and white notecards. But I have often had the pleasure of meeting women who told me what Big Woman Notecards had meant to them, how they had saved them, pinned them to their wall for years at a time - just what I dreamed would happen when I first started to put those little pieces of affordable art out into the world so long ago!
If you knew them then or are just finding them now - please enjoy! Buy some for yourself or for your friends. I made them for you.
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