I'm so privileged to be surrounded by inspiring women! My mum, my Grandmothers, my brilliant besties, not to mention my 3 amazing daughters who I'm ridiculously proud of!
And then there are all the lovely ladies who come to my classes. I'm honoured to know some of their stories, struggles and triumphs!
Several weeks ago I had the most wonderful encounter with a lady I have long admired.
This is Rachel McBride, visual artist. I first met Rachel several years ago at the Kings Hall, and immediately fell in love with her art.
Fast forward to November 2018, and I'm visiting Rachel's newest exhibition in Newtownards entitled 'At a Loss for Words'.
Oh my! Once again she took my breath away. Rachel has an unbridled (and in my opinion unrivaled) talent for expressing depth of emotion through colour and texture.
5 years ago Rachel lost her speech for a short period of time and wrote these words:
"If someone cannot communicate and interact with others are they just 'a being' and at what point do they become invisible or unknown to society? A frightening and disturbing thought which ultimately forced me to consider my world without the ability to speak."
Rachel was born with Cerebral Palsy and has had to overcome many hurdles in her life.
Every time I speak with her I'm overwhelmed by her positivity, strength and beauty.
Her pet hate is being seen as an inspiration, but it's always the first adjective that comes to my mind when I read the extracts about each of her pieces, admiring the incredible vulnerability and vigor within each piece and knowing the limitations of her body which she fights against to live a fulfilling and boundless life.
I can whole-heartedly recommend you to Rachel's (free) exhibition, which continues at Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards until the end of this month. And you can sometimes bump into her in the gorgeous coffee shop she owns with her husband called Haptik (the food is 'out of this world' awesome!).
And you can read a great write-up about her in the Irish Times here.
What amazingly creative talent we have here on our wee island!
Let's keep celebrating our local, inspiring women!