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Gwen Tuinman

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self knowledge

On Confidence and Little Victories

“If you don’t understand how valuable you are, you will always accept what is given to you.” These are the words of Celina Caesar-Chavannes from her book “Can You Hear Me Now?”. The sky opened up when first I read them. Her next thought aims straight at us. “We (meaning women in particular) are often humble people who find quantifying our skills and experience—our worth–daunting.”

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Hats: A Love Story

I used to dislike wearing hats. They didn’t suit me. Millinery shops would draw me to try on hats. I’d pick a style shown in magazines, the type of hat that should be worn by women I admired—the sort who laughed with abandon, ate life like it was a juicy apple, and never second guessed themselves. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, the hat occupied the entire frame. I disappeared.  

The first hat I ever wore was a baby bonnet secured with an under-the-chin bow. In spite of burgeoning liberation of the 1960s, mothers didn’t wheel hatless babies around town. What would people say?

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Choosing Well

In 2011, I watched a TEDTalk entitled Stories Cut from Paper in which renowned paper artist Béatrice Coron discussed process and inspiration. Projected on the screen behind her was “Hells and Heavens”, an intricate and sprawling piece that had been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. I marvelled at the individual yet connected stories she’d envisioned and brought to life. How did she lay her vision on the paper without losing sight of perspective and skewing the images?

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