Cool Girls with Tag: women in art

Rachel Ignotofsky

Name: Rachel Ignotofsky
Age: 30
Location: Los Angeles
Occupation: Author and Illustrator

Growing up, Rachel Ignotofsky enjoyed cartoons, comics, and TV shows about science, but she didn’t really enjoy reading. As she overcame her difficulty, she realized that illustrations and other visual aids really helped her to click with the subject material.

“When I was in elementary school I just turned every project into an art project. I built a ton of dioramas,” she remembers.

After graduating from Tyler School of Art’s graphic design program with honors, and working as an illustrator at Hallmark Greetings, she began her career translating her love of history and science into illustration.

“I wanted to create art about things I found interesting and found it really important to teach it to others. I began using my background in graphic design to create infographics and posters that teachers could use in their classrooms,” Rachel says. “I still use posters to test out ideas and figure out concepts before I begin writing a book.”

Today this New York Times-bestselling author has released a whole slew of wisdom-packed books that use infographics, gorgeous doodles, and eye-catching art that appeals to readers of all ages.

“Something magical happens when you take the time to make information look pretty. People stop because it looks cool and before you know it, they are tricked into learning. We need to encourage people to feel excited to learn about hard to talk about science topics like climate change, so we can begin to solve those problems,” Rachel continued.

Her series of books highlighting trailblazers in herstory includes Women in Science, Women in Art, and Women in Sports, all of which use her creative spark to draw attention to ladies who have done incredible things in a variety of fields, in spite of gender inequity. She also uses infographics to convey information that may seem overwhelming or inaccessible to certain people or students.

“I use my art to break down the fear of learning complicated subjects. Illustration is the most powerful tool when it comes to education,” she says.

Originally, Rachel began to notice that certain topics didn’t seem to have an adequate representation of prominent women. Her curiosity as to why led her to begin researching and discovering that, in fact, many women had done incredible things in all fields, including those of science, mathematics, and engineering–topics that a lot of people find burdensome to grasp.

“I write my books about topics that I think are important,” she explains. “Only by understanding how our world works (science), and why our world works the way it does (history), can people make informed decisions in my opinion. I also make my work with teachers in mind. I think about what can help them in their classrooms and I make my work as tools for teachers to use during lessons.”

When she’s not writing books, Rachel also speaks at a variety of venues, including museums, and even NASA. And when she goes out on a book tour, she’s able to see how her hours of night-owl productivity and research have paid off.

“The best part is hearing how the book is being used in lesson plans and in real life. Kids share their drawings with me also, which is always so awesome,” she adds.

Currently, Rachel is working on two new science books that are slated for release in 2021, while also touring to promote her latest book, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth.

And now, we’re welcoming Rachel and her art to our family of Artist Collaborations. We’ve recently launched four new styles that pay tribute to four amazing women that are highlighted in Rachel’s books. These socks feature Ada Lovelace, Elizabeth Blackwell, Rosalind Franklin, and Joan Procter.

“We need to make sure that everyone grows up knowing that they can be leaders in solving our worlds biggest problems. I hope my books about Women in Science, Sports, and Art help young girls discover new role models that inspire them to follow their passions!”

Some wise words from this graphic genius! For her art and her assistance in making various topics accessible, we think Rachel Ignotofsky is a very Cool Girl! And because we believe in Rachel’s mission so much, for every pair in her collection sold, a small donation will be made to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.

Love the book? Get the matching socks! Women in Science socks are available now.

Jennifer J. Woodward

Jenn Woodward HeadshotName: Jennifer J. Woodward
Age: 40
Location: North Portland
Occupation: Visual artist and small business owner

Texas native and Portland resident Jenn Woodward has turned pulp into nonfiction with her papermaking studio, Pulp & Deckle. But this artistic whiz isn’t happy simply making paper, she’s trying to create a community space where this craft can flourish and gain the recognition it deserves.

Jenn discovered papermaking as a graduate student at School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The medium inspired through drawing, beyond the ink to the page itself. It was from there that the page became the stage, literally.

“What excites me most about papermaking is that it is pretty magical. You can take plant waste from your yard, or worn out jeans, cotton t-shirts, or towels, and transform them into paper pulp. And that pulp can be further transformed into sculptural objects, substrates for prints and drawings and photos,” she explains.

Of course, taking art from a creative outlet to a constructive occupation was a process in and of itself.

Jenn Woodward with Bamboo“When my husband and I moved to Portland from Boston, I didn’t really have an art studio, much less a space for papermaking,” Jenn recalls. “I was making and exhibiting art, but it felt like it was squeezed into my life, instead of being at the center of it. How to bridge the gap between what I wanted to do for a living, and what I was doing become a real priority.”

She wanted to share the craft while also creating herself, and she was inspired by the idea of community building, too.

“I wanted to give artists like myself who had worked with hand papermaking before, but didn’t have the space or resources to put together their own paper studio, the opportunity to come and work and utilize our set up,” she says.

From that idea Jenn and her husband started a Kickstarter to establish Pulp & Deckle. The campaign was funded successfully, and they opened in 2012. The studio is Jenn’s answer to wanting to make a living via papermaking, as well as providing a space to expose Portlanders to the medium and its potential.

Portland Art Museum Monster Drawing Rally

For the first two years Jenn kept her day job, but she was finally able to dedicate herself to Pulp & Deckle full-time after receiving support from the non-profit c3:initiative. As a result, Jenn has been able to start Pulp & Deckle’s residency program. She’s also been completing a larger scale, community engaged art project, called Fruits of the sun (for all the unknowns), which was recently exhibited at the Portland Art Museum for a one-night First Thursday event.

Fruits of the Sun Pop Up Portrait“Over the past several months I hosted pop-up portrait drawing sessions at farmers markets and other spaces, inviting participants to sign-up as live models via 20 minute portrait sessions.The drawings were made with handmade paper embedded with various types of seeds. The paper will act as fertilizer for the seeds, and the drawings will decay and grow into fall vegetables and native wildflowers,” Jenn explains. You can read more about Fruits of the sun (for all the unknowns) on her project blog,

Jenn’s artistic vision is blossoming. Even after a recent fire which damaged part of the Pulp & Deckle home base, she sees the studio’s outreach and ouvre spreading branches from its Portland roots.

So what advice does this hardworking handcrafter have for other young female artisans?

“Try to be kind and patient with yourself and others. In our daily lives it can make a huge difference!”

For her papermaking prowess and for cultivating a creative community, we think Jenn Woodward is a very Cool Girl!

You can keep up with Jenn and Pulp & Deckle at: http://pulpanddeckle.com, & Or, visit Jenn’s social pages: Facebook, Twitter, Pulp & Deckle’s Instagram or Fruit of the Sun’s Instagram.


Kathy Lemke Waste

Name: Kathy Lemke Waste, Sacramento, CA
Occupation:  Artist, President, Board of Directors, American Women Artists, a nonprofit dedicated to getting work by women artists into museums.
Represented by:  Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ

At age 7, Kathy Lemke Waste had painted her first landscape. Although she started creating art at such a young age, it took her some time to become comfortable with the idea of art as a profession.

“I came to full time painting from a teaching career in Communication Studies. I could teach college students about public speaking, drama or debate but had trouble convincing myself it was OK to be an artist,” she says. “I left academe after 15 years of full time teaching, well short of the usual retirement age. I felt a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to succeed as an artist, to replace a teaching salary with an equivalent amount as a self-employed artist. I’d always studied art, taking classes and workshops throughout my teaching career, but leaving an established career for the art world was a big, scary step.”

Her bravery paid off, and was paid forward. Kathy currently serves on the board of directors for American Women Artists, an organization that gave her one of her first “big breaks” and helped her to get into the Munson Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As the President, she’s kept busy. “I wear many hats: fundraiser, friend-raiser and general rabble-rouser in support of women artists,” she says.

“During the course of my tenure on the board, we’ve come to understand how important it is for art by women to be seen in museums: the repositories of our cultural heritage,” Kathy says. “If an artist’s work is represented in the permanent collections of art museums, the value of the artist’s entire body of work increases.”

That’s how Kathy and the AWA began the “25 in 25” initiative, which is an effort to establish 25 museum shows over the next 25 years in order to bolster visibility of female artists, whose art comprises only 5% of the permanent collections of art museums both here in the United States as well as around the globe.

“Currently, we’ve booked exhibitions with American museums from New York to California through 2020.  As part of that effort, we’re reaching out to build a Patron base of men and women who support our efforts and are stepping up to help us build this lasting legacy,” Kathy says.

As both a champion for women artists and an artist herself, Kathy dedicates her time to her craft, which is just as much work as a “regular” 9-5.

“[How] I make a living as an artist is to teach painting workshops, so I am still a teacher, only the subject matter has changed.  Being an artist is like any other job; you have to get up every day and go to work, even on the days you’re not feeling it,” she explains. “The myth of the muse: some people seem to think artists can only work when they’re feeling filled with creative inspiration. There will be good days and bad days, good art and bad art. You have to work through all of it to arrive at a place of peace with yourself and your decision to make art your way of life.”

For bringing visibility to female artists, through her artwork, her teaching, and her work with American Women Artists, we think Kathy Waste is a very Cool Girl!

Check out Kathy’s work, both in paint and AWA, at Bonner David Galleries, her personal website, Instagram, and