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Abbe Wright (4 posts)
When it comes to Elva Fields, Emily Maynard's lively jewelry line, the name of the game is reinvention—whether Maynard is transforming flea market beads into eye-catching earrings or reinvigorating an estate sale necklace with a blingy brooch turned pendant. Maynard's one-of-a-kind pieces, as colorful as they are unique, combine midcentury flair with a thoroughly modern aesthetic. "I love that I'm able to make each item into something people will wear again," she says.
"When I was growing up," Maynard says,"my mom had an uncanny ability to find lackluster furniture at the flea market and resurrect it into something amazing." While planning her wedding in 2003, Maynard applied the same concept to jewelry, transforming 1930s celluloid pendants and gemstone beads into keepsakes for her maid of honor, mother, and grandmother. "From then on," she says, "I couldn't pass a garage sale or antiques market without stopping to see what kind of materials I could dig up." Elva Fields—named for Maynard's great-grandmother—launched that year.
With two young daughters, Maynard has had to curb her frequent flea market runs; she now goes on dedicated buying trips all over the country a few times a year. (She does admit, however, to braking at the sight of any yard sale.) She stores her finds by material or color, experimenting with new designs by juxtaposing strands and beads until a felicitous combination emerges. "With vintage pieces," Maynard says, "everything you're working with has a story. I try to let the personality of each piece tell me about the new life it should take on."
Each week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're in love with the memoir:
The Boxer's Heart
Kate Sekules is not your average female boxer. Although a self-admitted tomboy, the British-born former magazine editor (she’s written for Vogue, The New Yorker and O) found her way to the sport circuitously—starting with an aerobic boxing class at a New York City gym in 1992. Sekules wasn’t a violent person by nature, but “the first time I ever threw a punch,” she says, "I was hooked." In her memoir The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting, Sekules not only takes the reader through her journey from curious bystander to pro fighter, she delves deeply into the history of women’s boxing, which was virtually unheard of in the early nineties as Sekules was starting out. For her, the women who went before her, with nicknames like "The Lady Tyger" and "The Female Ali," served as pioneers, chipping away slowly to achieve some sense of equality in the sport. This summer, 20 years after Sekules stepped into the ring for the first time, women’s boxing will debut at the Olympics in London. In The Boxer's Heart, Sekules examines how her insecurities at the gym and her perception of herself as a fat girl were actually advantageous when it came to boxing—her fighting weight was considered strategic and fear of acting weak or getting hurt were motivators when sparring. She tracks her own progress in the ring—her work with trainers, her first bloody nose and pair of black eyes and her earned respect from the male boxers at Brooklyn’s famed Gleason’s Gym—alongside the evolution of the sport as it went from being sensationalized and sexualized to acknowledged displays of female athleticism. What is most captivating about Sekules’ love letter to boxing is how she reconciles the feminine proclivity for tenderness and nurturing with their simultaneous ability to knock one another out, to unleash fury in a controlled and respectful way. One female boxer at the first ever Women's Nationals in 1997 said, "women are up against a lot more in life in general. I feel like I’ve been fighting a lot before." For Sekules, who admits an addiction to the thrill of boxing, it was a chance not only to believe that she herself was capable of succeeding in the ring, but it was an opportunity to kick "against a prescribed female role that restricts us," she says, adding, "I am fighting stereotypes."
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Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're in love with the thoughtful debut novel:
By Thad Ziolkowski
In Thad Ziolkowski's aptly named first novel, Wichita, Lewis Chopik, a recent graduate from Columbia University, leaves New York City for his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. He's escaping the pain from a recent breakup with his girlfriend, Victoria, who left him for a Rhodes scholar, and he's avoiding the Ivy League future of his professor father, Virgil. Lewis quickly settles into the home of his New Age mother, Abby, whose house functions as a sort of commune, housing his bipolar brother, Seth; Abby's two boyfriends (earnest Donald lives inside, while eccentric Bishop sleeps in a tent in the yard and operates the basement drug lab); and a bevy of drifters who float in and out. Abby's latest venture is a feminist Ponzi scheme called the Birthday Party, the cash from which funds her career of the moment—storm chasing. Her business, Grateful Gaia Storm Tours, brings tourists into the eyes of tornadoes, and when Lewis and Seth accompany their mother on her first storm tour, everything gets blown open in ways you'll never expect. What ties this book together, however, is Ziolkowski's honest and raw look at brotherhood and what it means to rediscover your family.
Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're in complete awe of the blunt, surprisingly memoir:
By Storm Large
Actress and singer Storm Large (yes, that’s her given name) spent much of her childhood in and out of hospital psychiatric wards and mental institutions visiting her mother, who was troubled with a litany of diagnoses, ranging from schizophrenia to multiple personality disorder. At age nine, when she asked a doctor if she might suffer from the same issues, he said, without skipping a beat, “Yes, it’s hereditary. You will absolutely end up like your mother.” Left without hope, Large embarked on a heart-wrenching journey paved with sex, drugs and plenty of raw self-destruction (note to readers: this book is heavy on the exceptionally salty language). The memoir, however, told in honest, poignant prose, really takes off when Large begins to use her excruciating past as an inspiration for her life on stage as a risky, fearless artist, showing all of us how to let go—not without fear and doubt, but with it.