• Last modified 10 days ago (March 8, 2018)


Unique display in observation of International Women’s Day

Featuring textiles from all over the world and handmade hats. local women share what the day represents for them.

Staff writer

A celebration of cultural, social, economic, and political achievements of women from all over the world will be available to the public in recognition of International Women’s Day at ManeStreet Beautique, downtown Peabody.

With International Women’s Day approaching Thursday, owner Linda Martinez says Faie Frederickson approached her with a suggestion to display her textiles from all parts of the world in light of the holiday.

“She wanted to share her story about traveling and her love for textiles,” said Martinez. “To me, Women’s Day means that I’m in charge of my life. The only man I have to listen to is upstairs, and that’s empowering to me.”

Faie and her late husband Gorman traveled to many different parts of the world teaching. During the course of all their travels, they visited several continents and countries such as Africa, Bangladesh, Japan, Syria, and many more. The collection represents 20 countries total, each piece holding its own story and memory for Frederickson.

“Women’s Day is an everyday thing in reality,” she said. “So often feminism has a negative view. I only speak English and smile. I don’t hear language, I speak the language of visual. I traveled the world and if you smile, people will smile back.”

Frederickson wanted to share her collection to bring awareness to what she feels is an impressive number of talented people in our community.

“I believe there’s a lot of people doing stuff but there’s no avenue,” she said. “That’s how this came about. I knew Linda would be the perfect representative.”

The idea of a display quickly grew when it was joined by Johanna Original hats, created by Stephanie Ax.

Ax was motivated to begin the line by a photograph of her grandmother taken shortly after she immigrated to Worcester, Massachusetts, from Sweden circa 1882.

“She died ten years before I was born, so I never got to meet her,” said Ax. “All I had was pictures, and my biggest image of her was from my favorite picture from when she immigrated here.”

Ax uses a powerful color combination with tulle netting, silk, satin, taffeta, fine fabric, and different types of silk floral to recreate hats predominant during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837-1901.

“When I started this line, the city was having the women’s fair down town,” Ax said.

Her line of hats grew from there, taking a break after the death of her husband.

When Martinez suggessted the idea of sharing her creation with others, she brought out her inventory without hesitation.

“I was always raised that I could be whatever I wanted to be and who I am as a person,” she said.

The only limitation Ax has experienced related to being female, is an aptitude test she took in high school.

“I wanted to be an architect,” she said. “I was told women are not in that field. It made me very sad. I feel I would have been happier if I had gotten to pursue that, and it made me feel limited in society.”

Ax says she is appreciative that these restrictions are no longer in place.

“Now days that isn’t true,” she said. “I’m glad that it’s changed. Today you pick a career and go, regardless of what you are. You do what your aptitude is and your sex doesn’t have a lot to do with it. That’s important.”

Louise Whiteman, boutique patron, took the time Thursday to walk through the textiles and hats display after her monthly pedicure.

“Look at this scarf from China,” she said. “This probably took hours and hours to make, it’s totally beautiful. The woman who made it probably wasn’t appreciated for her work.”

The various textiles provoked a thought process for Whiteman that led to recognizing the appreciation she holds for her husband.

“I never could have been the teacher I was if it weren’t for the support of my husband,” she said. “He never hassled me for being late because I was working. He allowed me to grow. Our husbands probably don’t realize how important it is to step back and give us that space.”

Martinez agreed.

“There’s women who have been lambasted, abused, and run down by governments,” she said. “It makes me feel pretty lucky. The women who made these textiles probably aren’t as lucky.”

The walk through displays will be available through April 30. Customers who visit before March 10 receive a five-dollar-off coupon for salon and massage services redeemable through March.

“I want this display to show others that women can be and do anything they put their mind to,” said Martinez.

Last modified March 8, 2018