Jessica Saliski is an artist full of just the right balance of sweetness and sass, just like the pins and other goodies she designs for Sugar Doilies.
She is a designer, maker and illustrator based out of Atlanta, operating under the name Sugar Doilies.
You'll find her designs on everything from enamel pins to cards and bandanas. Sitting down and chatting with Jessica, it's easy to feel her warmth and passion, but also her fire and drive to stir up a dialogue. She became a freelance designer / illustrator about 3 years ago, drawing her dessert-driven inspiration from her own experience with diabetes. Now, her designs not only acknowledge and nod to her health struggles but also to what it means to be modern woman and friend.
The pieces she creates for Sugar Doilies are not just for the sake of cuteness or trend (although they're so cute and there's no denying that enamel pins are on-trend) but also for the sake of community, female to female support, and the leveling of a skewed gender playing field.
Sad Girl Co: What is the role of females in the Atlanta creative scene? Do you feel that there's a diversity of gender and that women are given equal opportunity?
Jessica Saliski: I think our role now is to embrace inclusivity of EVERYONE, and to keep pushing forward, collaborate more and just keep creating. Because I do think that there is a lack of women and people of color being represented in the Atlanta creative scene. BUT that is changing, I think women/POC are starting to take ATL by storm. I have seen a bunch of female owned companies pop up in the last couple of years/months and it's very exciting.
SGC: Tell me about some of your favorite Sugar Doilies designs and why they're your favorite.
JS: I think a couple of my favorites would have to be the CUNT series, See You Next Tuesday Pins, that I created with a friend along with two other pins, Cute Cunt Crew and Best Cunt (some oldies we no longer make) - it reminds me of friends and the power of women coming together. And then my WuTang Ice Cream Cone pins, they remind me of Staten Island and my childhood listening to WuTang.
Jessica's "See You Next Tuesday" series is all about reclaiming the word that has long been used to demean and objectify women. While it's a word that makes many people uncomfortable, that's what Jessica is trying to change. By empowering this reclamation through her designs, she creates an environment where women support women and where even the smallest things -- like wearing a pin or putting a patch on your jean jacket -- can be a form of activism.
When asked about her thoughts on coming up as a woman in the creative scene, she reminisces on a time before she formally acknowledged the plight of women in the work place, but was constantly finding herself being looked down upon by male equals and her ideas often credited to men. It was experiences like this that pushed her to leave the structured workplace and become her own boss. Now, she's able to dive passionately into her work, explore her ideas freely, and use her skills to empower others like her and to encourage an environment of support among women in Atlanta's creative scene.
Her business has grown and this year her focus is on wholesaling her wares. She has about 30 products currently and is beginning seasonal designs and products as well. In the next few months, Jessica hopes to have her products in multiple stocklists nationwide.
Sugar Doilies is one to watch as the business grows alongside the city's burgeoning scene of women makers and creatives. Keep your eyes on Jessica Saliski.
When it appears like humanity can't make progress, and everyone in high places seems to be falling from grace, it's easy to get swept up in the overwhelm.
In a time overrun with social platforms and ways to speak up, it's also so simple to use a hashtag or to take a stab at posting your thoughts in a Facebook status or Instagram caption. By no means are these mediums useless -- speaking up is a crucial part of influencing change, as long as its done from a place of knowledge and tolerance.
But is it enough to just say you support XYZ or are on the side of so-and-so? There's so much to be done, and we're all busier than ever, but at a time where we're seeing so many of the negative effects of inaction come to fruition (think: gun control, sexual misconduct, voter turnout...) now is the time to take the extra step and turn your words into actions.
There are more ways than ever to do that now: volunteering, giving money, starting your own fundraiser via social media, attending community events... the list goes on. Find what you care about and which opportunity works for you and give it a try, we are all kin, and we all have responsibility.
- AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU): Works to defend the rights and liberties afforded to American citizens through the constitution. Your donations will benefit issues such as human rights, free speech, LGBTQIA communities, immigrants' rights, racial justice, women's rights, voting rights and more. You can also demand transparency from Trump on his conflicts of interest, taxes, etc.
- PLANNED PARENTHOOD: You can give to Planned Parenthood in light of a cut in funding and the complete defunding of International Planned Parenthood and foreign abortions. I Stand With PP is the place to go to show your support, and this site is where to go to find care and health information.
- SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER (SPLC): The SPLC combats hate and discrimination and teaches tolerance through education programs and litigation. The organization has helped track spikes in hate crimes since Trump's election. It's important to support the SPLC as they continue to combat rising movements such as Neo-Nazi's and the KKK, as well as any hate group that targets minorities. You can also read about the ways that Trump's administration will effect and has already effected minorities.
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE(NAACP): You can contribute to the NAACP's mission to achieve equality of rights and eliminate racial injustices, and to inform the public of the effects of racial discrimination. The organization even combats climate change because "race is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country."
- AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS FOR JUSTICE: This is a nonprofit law firm devoted to protecting the basic rights of immigrants through litigation, policy reform, free direct services and more. Your donations help the organization provide assistance to unaccompanied immigrant minors, advocate for sexual trafficking and domestic violence victims, monitor immigrant detention policies and more.
- PLANNED PARENTHOOD: You can learn how to take action and learn about defunding attempts and their impact here. You can find more ways to take action here, such as calling your U.S. Senator, tweeting at Paul Ryan, sharing your Planned Parenthood story, and more. Lastly, you can attend events and apply to volunteer.
- AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU): Beyond donating, you can take part in various action-based initiatives, such as signing petitions and volunteering. You can fight back against government-sanctioned LGBTQ discrimination. You can sign a petition to protect reproductive rights. As the new political administration makes decisions, more actionable opportunities will be made available, so keep up with the ACLU.
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE(NAACP): You can find your local NAACP chapter and become a member here in order to get involved in events, marches and more.
- AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS FOR JUSTICE: You can attend events and take action to support this organization as well. One way to take action is by becoming a part of the Young Professionals of AI Justice. You can also sign up for their mailing list to stay updated on opportunities and policy issues.
- GEORGIA ALLIANCE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: This organization is the official affiliate of the Georgia Women's March, and heir mission is to work together to empower and mobilize the people of Georgia towards justice and equity for all.
- WONDERROOT: WonderRoot is an arts organization that working to influence and improve the cultural and social landscape of Atlanta through creative initiatives and community partnerships. The organization believes in social change through bringing together diverse voices -- and they put on awesome events!
- SOUTHERN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: This organization works for equality, justice, and dignity in our criminal justice system. Their mission is to end criminal justice practices that are used to control the lives of poor people, people of color, and other marginalized groups in the Southern United States.
- GEORGIA LATINO ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: This group educates, organizes, and empowers Latinos in Georgia to defend and advance their civil and human right.
- ATLANTA WOMEN'S FOUNDATION: This organization works with women in counties across the Greater Atlanta area to "be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls and to end generational poverty."
- HANDS ON ATLANTA: Hands On is a great organization in its own right, with the mission to connect volunteers to nonprofit organizations in need, and "engage socially responsible companies to help make a difference in our community."
- CARE: CARE is a large Atlanta-based nonprofit with the mission to empower women and girls, largely through alleviating poverty and providing educational and economic opportunities.
Don't keep what keeps you fired up to yourself. Think you're just one person? That's true. But "just one person" is behind each of the organizations and movements listed above. Don't cower and drown in the overwhelm -- go to it with vigor.