Original Inspiration for Original People

Marie Betty Davis

This instalment of the 'Inspiring the Inspirers' project is focussing on Marie Betty Davis, a fellow resident of my home town, though we had never crossed paths until this project. I came across Marie through her blog - and it was her inspirational writing which really made me want to collaborate with her.

Here was a person who was willing to write so openly and honestly about challenges in her life, and how she has overcome them, that I felt sure we would be able to come up with an amazing design.

The first blog post I read of Marie's was about why she loves vintage fashion. It isn't really about fashion at all; rather it is about not fitting in, and not being able to wear what everyone else wears. Marie's writing about the epiphany she felt when she discovered vintage clothing, and the confidence it gave her, was inspiring. She has also written beautifully about her battles with her weight, and reaching acceptance (just about!) with her physical appearance.

Before I even contacted Marie I had lots of ideas floating around in my head, but I wanted to get to know her so I could really design with her in mind. I started by asking who or what inspires her.

"My daughter Lucy is my inspiration, without a doubt. She taught me the meaning of unconditional love."

"My relationship with her father was quite tumultuous, and broke down when she was only one year old, so it was just me and her for a long time. I realised I needed to do my best for her, not just for me. If I continued feeling 'messed up' it would rub off on her and may affect her in later years."

"The other person who inspires me to work hard is my Dad, who passed away suddenly around the same time that I split from Lucy's father. He was a hard-working and honest man. A man of few words, but those words were precious to me, because he always made a lot of sense."

"Dad was a listener and he taught me not to always jump into things; to think before I make decisions."

I wanted to dig further into Marie's life and character, and was very interested in a recent experience she had with motivational speaker Sharon Amesu.

"I went to one of Sharon's motivational events a few weeks ago. I became a tad emotional during one of the sessions, and at the end of the event, a lady I had never met before came over to me and said, 'Excuse me, can I just say you have the most wonderful aura and persona about you. I can tell you are a lovely person. I just had to tell you that'"

"What a lovely thing to be told, I always used to think I was invisible to people, I just blended into the background. I need to tell myself I am wrong!".

Having built up a really good picture of Marie and her life, I set to work creating some personalised inspirational designs for her.

I played around with themes of empowerment, self-confidence and defiance.

These themes came through strongly from her writing and from our preparation work for this project. So that we didn't get too bogged down, I also came up with some more light-hearted concepts around fashion, mannequins and a rather forthright duck!

This is the final design Marie chose:

I wanted to capture something subtle, that hinted at the inner strength that I sensed in Marie.

"I love ladybirds, and I love this design!" said Marie.

"The words are a daily reminder for me that I AM strong and capable, if only I believe in myself."

If this story and the Ladybirds design has inspired you, you can buy this design as a framed print, mounted print, poster and screensaver here.

You can find Marie on Twitter here.


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