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3 Inspiring Maker Moms You Should Know

Posted on 10 May 2015

There's no shortage of amazing women in the world: everybody knows at least one! Here are three powerful moms whose passion and hard work we're inspired by.

Ruth Asawa was a pioneering American sculptor, known for her distinctive woven forms and fierce advocacy for arts education in San Francisco. Born in 1926 in Norwalk, CA, she grew up on her parents' truck farm until the Japanese American Internment during WWII interred her family first in Santa Ana, then in Arkansas. There she finished her high school education, and went on to pursue a career as an art teacher. Unable to get hired and complete the hours for her degree, she set out for the Black Mountain College where she learned traditional crafts under Joseph Albers. Her abstract works with crocheted wire explore the nature of a bound line and creation of permeable space, and have been featured at the Whitney, the Sao Paolo Biennial among others. Her work on the San Francisco Arts Commission and in her pilot programs for children led to a school being named in her honor. Her own six kiddos would regularly sit and help her coil wire, blending the lines between creative work and personal life. As she put it, "Art is doing."



Elspeth Beard was one of the first women to circle the globe on a motorcycle. At 24 and halfway through an architecture degree, she paused her schooling to huck her 1974 R 60/6 flat-twin from the UK to the USA and all the way beyond. Having saved a couple thousand pounds working at a local bar, she shipped her well-worn bike to New York, and toured from Canada to Mexico before reaching LA. From there she visited New Zealand and Australia, where she put in time at an architecture studio and lived in a garage to refuel, refresh her learning, and refinance her travels. Despite a crash and concussion, she continued her travels up the continent and into South Asia. Her later adventures included eating dog in Thailand, navigating the Indian bureaucracy, and surviving the Yugoslavian "Highway of Death," and through it all self-reliance and mechanical dedication pulled her through. Now an award-winning architect, Beard has traveled with her son for years, sharing both the thrill of motorcycle travel and a desire to see and learn about distant places.


We're super proud of Anne Berblinger (mom to shop manager Tobias, center purple in this mural) for her contributions to the food-focused and earth-friendly community here in Portland. Anne has been a powerhouse behind Gales Meadow Farm, a certified organic staple for diverse local produce, for over 14 years. With 9 acres they grow over 300 varieties of vegetables and plants, with consideration for the biodiversity in the soil as well as in the flora and fauna that make the farm their habitat. And their ecological community-minded growing works well! Gales Meadow supplies both local farmers markets and some of the most beloved local restaurants in the region, including Nostrana, Andina, and Fleur de Lis Bakery. Anne's efforts towards sustainable, conscientious growing have helped spark the local movement towards more responsible and healthy food systems!

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