International Women’s Week – Celebrating Female Artists, Past and Present

International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the achievements of women around the world and to honour their contributions to society. That’s why we wanted to take a look at the incredible but largely overlooked history of females who have contributed to the art scene in so many ways, despite the prejudice, gaslighting and inequalities they faced along the way. 

We take this opportunity to recognise what a privilege it is to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Strong females who fought for women’s rights and paved the way for gender equality - a flight we continue today. We are proud to work with a largely female group of artists and independent artisans and cherish the community we have cultivated, where women feel supported, appreciated and empowered to create whatever THEIR hearts desire.

Female Artists Through History

Here’s our round-up of some of the most influential, unapologetic and kick-ass female artists that changed the game:

  • MARY CASSATT (1844 – 1926) 
  • Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt was notoriously outspoken in her dismay at the formal art scene, noting that for female artists to move ahead, they would have to flirt with or befriend male patrons. While forging her own career path among the Impressionists, she supported gender equality by participating in exhibitions that promoted women’s suffrage. 

  • CLEMENTINE HUNTER (1886 – 1988) 
  • A self-taught folk artist, Clementine Hunter was born into a Louisiana Creole family and lived and worked on Melrose Plantation picking cotton alongside her father. It wasn’t until much later in life that she started to sell her paintings depicting Black Southern life in the early twentieth century. Despite all odds being against her as an uneducated Black female artist, her achievements were astonishing. By the end of her life, her work was being exhibited in museums across America and sold to collectors (including Oprah Winfrey) for thousands of dollars. 

  • TAMARA DE LEMPICKA (1898–1980)
  • The Art Deco portraits and nudes painted by Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka depict cool and detached female subjects. Her paintings commonly contained narratives of sensuality, brooding desire and independence making them revolutionary for their time. 

  • BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903 – 1975)
  • Acclaimed sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, began her career as an artist when she overcame the male-dominated competition to win a county scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London. Her iconic pierced figures lead the way to modernism in sculpture and she is regarded as one of the most important sculptors in modern British art. 

  • FRIDA KAHLO (1907 – 1954) 
  • An enduring feminist icon, Frida Kahlo and her striking monobrow are famed for her intimate and powerful self-portraits. As a child, Kahlo suffered a bout of Polio that left her with a limp and at age 18, she was involved in a very serious tram crash where she broke several bones including her pelvis and spinal column. She began painting during her long road to recovery, explaining the themes of disability, human physiology and pain throughout much of her work. 

    Female Artists of Today

    It wouldn’t be right to celebrate International Women’s Week without giving shout-outs to some of the incredible female artists and independent makers we work with. 

    • Pamela Williams – Emilie’s grandmother and idol, Pamela has been a ceramicist for over fifty years. She became interested in pottery in her early twenties after seeing a television advertisement showing a young lady throwing on a potter’s wheel and has been crafting characterful pieces ever since. 
    • Jodie Cowler – Jodie creates beautiful line drawings that celebrate the female form. Her minimalistic expression explores themes of what beauty and femininity is in this modern age. Jodie’s latest original ink drawing for sale “Isabelle” uses deft pen strokes to depict a sultry nude female form. 
    • Vita Mazarine – Textile designer Vita Mazarine uses her craft to communicate organic themes through hand-made, process-led design. Her screen-printed wares take the form of functional everyday products that also create a statement of hand-craft within the home.
    • Rekha Barry – Rekha is a full-time Architect from Liverpool, who uses her CAD skills to create her colourful contemporary candlestick holders in her spare time. Using silicone moulds, she creates architectural forms and a multi-coloured marble like effect from jesmonite. 
    • Flora Dorian – Writer and illustrator, Flora takes an interest in topics to do with the environment and mental health. Her botanical work aims to lighten moods and alter emotions of the viewers and she champions the use of environmentally friendly materials. All of her prints are done on handmade, recycled or bamboo based papers, and she uses vegetable based inks too.

    And these are just a few! You can take a look at all of our artist profiles here

    International Women’s week feels like the perfect time to reflect on the achievements of female artists, whether they have been celebrated in prestigious art gallery exhibitions or small independent online shows. Every female opinion, creative aesthetic and artistic expression has its place, no longer bound by out-dated gender norms. 

    Thank you for supporting us and our female artists and makers.