7/11/07 Rosie's Girls: Do you know how to transform a copper pipe into a bracelet? How to cut shapes out of sheets of metal and attach them to one another in a sculpture? How to hammer evenly and keep your hair from catching on fire while welding? Me neither but some 9-12 yr old girls showed me the basics.
Rosie's Girls Summer Program is a three-week day camp for girls entering 6th -- 8th grade that is organized by Vermont Works for Women. The camp is named after the WWII fictional feminist icon Rosie the Riveter who commandeered the phrase, "We can do it!"
During the three weeks of intense activities which include carpentry, bike repair and welding, many of the girls discover that they can, indeed, do it. Whatever "it" may be.
For three days, campers attended metal workshops at Kat Clear and Kate Pond's St Griswold studio in Williston. Kat and her assistants showed the girls how to use the Mig welder (a glorified sewing machine with sparks), the oxyacetylene torch and the plasma cutter.
These are all formidable looking tools that blast impressive sparks and intense heat. It took some getting used to but after three days, the tools felt familiar to the girls and they were able to make their own abstract sculptures as well as a Rosie the Riveter bracelet (I am wearing mine right now!).
Even if you don't know Kat, you have probably seen her work all over town. Whether it is the classy sign hanging above the Green Door, the fanciful bike rack outside Radio Bean or the monkeys hanging around outside the Monkey Bar. Kat shared her love of welding with the girls and showed them that anything is possible if you work hard enough.
There is an elemental time period in many girl's lives when they cross over from girlhood to adulthood. It is a time when many women lose their voice and their self-assurance and spend years trying to get back to their confident, carefree, adolescent selves. It is exciting to imagine these Rosie's Girls going forth into the world, breaking down stereotypes, being comfortable with who they are and braving their own road. I can't wait to see what comes next.