Stories behind the Portraits

Dear Readers,

Each of these portraits in the Portrait Mugs Collection has been drawn in graphite, most at 16 by 20 inches, and then scanned and converted into a transfer method so that they can be applied to clay. Each woman was selected for her inspiring accomplishments. Some may be familiar and others were specifically chosen to draw attention to a woman who may be less recognizable. The women have been listed alphabetically by surname to avoid prioritizing one's accomplishments over another's.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933-2020 - While RBG's accomplishment are varied and monumental, her portrait was intentionally chosen for her Supreme Court dissenting opinion on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision, which is why she wears her dissent collar in the image. She served on the Supreme Court from 1993 to 2020 and is also known for her active role in promoting gender equality and women's rights. 

Dolores Cacuango 1881-1971 - Dolores Cacuango was a labor and education activist in Ecuador. She was Quechua and the daughter of very impoverished parents, so she had no access to education during her early life. Due to this, she advocated fiercely for bilingual education in both Quechua and Spanish for indigenous children, at one point stating that she continued insisting in case one day they realized that the indigenous child also has the right to be educated. Dolores additionally participated in labor strikes and demanded indigenous rights.

Mari Copeny 2007-present - Also known as Little Miss Flint, Mari fights against environmental racism and has been instrumental in advocacy during the Flint Water Crisis. She has provided tangible support to the children of Flint through backpack/school supply drives and distribution of bottled water. Her program to distribute water filters designed to remove lead is particularly incredible.

Rachael Denhollander 1984-present - Rachael was born in Kalamazoo, MI and is a lawyer and advocate for sexual assault survivors. She was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, a former prominent physician, of sexual assault, and also supported the other survivors as they moved through the court system. 

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016 - Famous for her role as Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, Carrie used her platform to advocate for people with mental illnesses and reduce the stigma of bipolar disorder. Her encouragement others to seek medication if they needed it and adhere to a treatment regimen that works for them is the reason that many of the Pottluckery mugs with her portrait have ADHERE on the handle.

Aretha Franklin 1942-2018 - A proud Detroiter known as the Queen of Soul, Aretha was an incredible vocal artist who continually pushed herself throughout her career to grow and learn. She also participated in extensive activism, including performing at civil rights protests and even covering payroll for civil rights groups. 

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha 1976-present - Dr. Mona's extensive research exposed the Flint Water Crisis while she worked as a pediatrician at Hurley Hospital. Since then, she has tirelessly advocated for the children of Flint to mitigate the effects of lead poisoning.

Frida Kahlo 1907-1954 - Frida was a Mexican painter who used her chronic illness as inspiration. Much of her work stems from her Mexican identity and the nature and folk art of Mexico. Her art shares a deep sense of self. To quote her, "Soy mi propia musa," (I am my own muse). 

Danica Roem 1984-present - Danica serves as a delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates and joined the Virginia legislature as the first openly transgender person elected to that body. Despite transphobic attacks during the election, she stood by her dedication to her future constituents and her platform to improve quality of life in her district, particularly related to transportation issues. 

Rashida Tlaib 1976-present Rashida currently serves as US Representative for Michigan's 13th district, which includes the western half of Detroit as well as several suburbs. She previously served in the Michigan legislature. Her commitment to representing her constituents through environmental justice, racial equity, and immigration reform are equally as valuable as her status as the first Muslim woman elected to US Congress (along with Ilhan Omar).

Maxine Waters 1938-present - Maxine represents California's 43rd congressional district and chairs the House Financial Services Committee. Her commitment to "reclaiming my time" empowered many women to assert themselves.

Thanks for your support,

Erin and Rebecca

PS Shop the Portrait Mugs Collection and $5 from each mug purchased will be donated to the Ruth Ellis Center