Inspiring Women Through Art.

© Aislinn Adams           When Sleeping Women Awake

Every accident has a silver lining.

Many years ago I fell while rock climbing at my local crag in Dublin, Ireland. I broke my ankle and spent nine weeks in a large, heavy cast, from upper calf to toe tips. I broke the talus bone- the second rarest bone in the body to break- and difficult to heal. I was warned that on no account should I put any weight on the leg. The orthopedic surgeon, well known for his poor bedside manner, left me in no doubt that if the bone didn’t heal I would have a permanent limp. I hopped out of his surgery on my new crutches stifling a sob and vowing to do everything possible to help my ankle heel.

A forced vacation.

At the time I was a free-lance graphic designer living in a second floor apartment with no elevator. This was in the ‘old days’ before email and websites. I had no option but to take a forced vacation. I rested my broken ankle, elevating it as much as possible until the swelling eased. I had been free-lancing for a few years at that stage and had never really taken any vacation: as a self-employed person if I didn’t work I didn’t get paid. I worried a little about the loss of income but I had some money set aside and I knew that no amount of money could compensate for a permanent limp.

“When sleeping women awake, mountains will move”.

One day during my ‘convalescence’ I visited some female friends. Several of them were women religious from a prominent Catholic religious order in Ireland. I enjoyed the spirited, intelligent conversation darting back and forth across the table as we drank tea. They were highly competent women, leaders in their communities. We discussed an article one of them had read. She shared this quote from the article, “When sleeping women awake, mountains will move”. We all responded enthusiastically to the inspirational quotation. The irony of the situation was not lost on me as I sat there with my climbing injury, unable to get near a mountain.

A dream-like image came to mind.

One of my friends turned to me saying I should create an illustration to go with the quote. Usually my imagination doesn’t work that way. I don’t just come up with an image to order. I have to let the idea or feeling sink in. Not this time. Almost instantly a dream-like image came to mind. When I went home that evening I started working on it. I chose a pen and ink cross-hatching style to create the desired affect.  I used my finest rapidograph, handling it carefully, its ridiculously narrow-gauge hollow ‘nib’ only letting the ink flow when held lightly and delicately above the paper. The work took me hours and hours. I didn’t care. I was totally engrossed. With time the mountain range of women moved from my imagination onto paper and to this day that illustration strikes a chord with so many women. What a gift that fall turned out to be.

Eventually my ankle healed and, after a lot of physical therapy, I went back to climbing. I had no limp and a new portfolio of illustrations.

Aislinn Adams

One Response to “Inspiring Women Through Art.”

  • Bonnie:

    I am inspired by this piece every day as I look at it, hanging on the wall over my creative work space! Thanks Aislinn.

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