Hold a Snapdragon creation in your hand and you will feel the unique spirit, positive intentions, and powerful energy stitched into each of these little beings and works of art. They are unusual gifts for unusual people—mythological, multicultural, and spiritual offerings that will resonate deeply with their intended recipients. I design and handcraft every item in my collection, drawing inspiration from my own artistic muses, from my passion for folk art, and from the long tradition of women who told stories with needle and thread (including my own great-grandmother, whose crewel work hangs on my walls).
Lawsuit Update 8-2-20.
I am profoundly disappointed to have to share that my lawsuit over the Frida Kahlo trademark has ended. As an artist and writer with limited resources, the personal risk became too great. I cannot discuss what happened in any detail at all, but I am truly sorry that I couldn't be the one to help my fellow artisans. However, I am very proud to have been able to introduce the fierce and fiery Cris Melo to my indomitable and profoundly bad-ass lawyer, Rachael Lamkin. I could not be more supportive of their lawsuit in CA. I am proud to have helped facilitate their partnership and to have been a conduit to what I see as a very strong and righteous cause. I wish I could have done more. My experience with the legal system has proven to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, I now know about the generous and passionate lawyers like Rachael, who care deeply about artists and artistic freedom, and who willingly help small artists pro bono. On the other hand, I personally have formed the opinion that the legal system does tilt heavily toward the wealthy and the powerful. I would never have been able to proceed as far as I did without Rachael's generosity. But in the end, there are certain battles that get the better of us (at least temporarily). I hope that everyone who supported my case will support Cris's case, and I hope that her case will #FreeFrida.
Some of you might have seen online that I am currently embarking on a lawsuit against the Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC), which claims to hold a trademark registration on "Frida Kahlo" for dolls. For those of you interested in learning more, please click here to read the complaint. From there, you can click on "complaint" to read the initial filing.
I never imagined I would end up in litigation, especially against such a powerful corporation. However, I believe in supporting the rights of artists (especially those of us who are small artisans and craftspeople) to create beautiful and meaningful works of art that honor the legacy of Frida Kahlo. Although my Frida art dolls and hoops are not the totality of my collection (I have many folk-art inspired creations that I will later include on this website), they are a core element of what I create.
I have always been drawn to emotionally expressive artworks--like Frida's. Art that brings joy and inspiration, but also puts you in touch with the darker, more painful and primal emotions. Even as a child, I gravitated to the mythological, the magical, the archetypal (in both art and literature). My fiction writing, like my collection Hangings: Three Novellas, explores many of the same themes. In my personal space, I have long surrounded myself with folk art. I want the objects around me--and those I create--to serve as mentors, guides, muses (comforting, talismanic, protective, but also vital, enlivening, and deeply meaningful). I want them to resonate across times and cultures, to generate the spark of aesthetic and creative energy in the brain, to create connection. Work like Frida's encourages us all to lean into the fear of the creative space, the emotional space, to find the courage to delve deep and take risks. They motivate us to share our pain and struggles, to strive to be original and raw and expressive. They encourage us to embrace all that is is different, strange, beautiful, grotesque, and vital in ourselves and others.
I don't believe that artists should be bullied or threatened into abandoning their art, silencing their voices, and stifling their creativity. That is the main reason why I am challenging the FKC's alleged trademark registration, that has been used as a cudgel not only against me, but against a number of other creators and artists. I will let you know how the lawsuit progresses, and hopefully the results will free more artists to share their visions with all of us. I am just starting up this website, but I hope to link to important articles about the history of the FKC battles with artists, the Kahlo family, etc.
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