Arts and Theater

Graphic Design Project Blossoms Into Skill Sharing, Community Group

The Lady Scouts are a group of women who enjoy showing and teaching others a variety of different skills.

Senior and principal founder, Taylor Helfrich said the Lady Scouts originally started as a graphic design project last semester.

“It was about branding, you had to come up with a really elaborate and bizarre concept for a corporation and then we had to brand for it, and mine ended up being the Lady Scouts, which was just easier for me to turn into a real thing,” she said.

Helfrich and another lady scout, senior Rayne Cottrell, said several of them were at Bear’s Den one night and came up with the idea.

Helfrich said they started talking about gender-skill bias regarding what men learn when they are growing up as opposed to what women learn when they are growing up.

“It just became an emphasis on handmade things and sharing skills that we all learned together as a community, what stops us a lot of the time is the awkwardness that comes along with asking people for help, especially asking a man how to work something in a wood shop, or vice versa if a dude was trying to sew on a button or something, I’m sure he would feel a little uncomfortable, and we’re trying to chip away at that slowly,” Helfrich said.

Helfrich said she has always been interested in art and interested in learning.

“It’s not just learning the skills, it’s teaching them, being the way you teach it, being open and kind,” she said.

The Lady Scouts have had a patch-making workshop. Helfrich said it has been more of a recurring event. They have had a cookie making workshop, a zine night, a paper-making workshop and a tie-dye workshop.

“We hope to have more workshops hosted by men that are willing to teach things as simple as changing a tire, we’re trying to eliminate the gender-bias,” Helfrich said.

The lady scouts have also been selling a lot of the different things theymade at farmers markets at Petit Jean.

Cottrell taught the tie-dye workshop at her house and she and Helfrich co-hosted a paper-making workshop in their workspace in Schichtl.

“I want to see this established as a club, I would love to see it grow into an organization that could continue not just whenever we graduate,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell and Helfrich said they think it’s important to activate the ideas of neutralizing gender-skill bias.

Cottrell said so many women, including herself, don’t even realize this is an issue. She said some just don’t realize how little, women are in history. She said it’s mind-blowing how marginalized women have been.

Helfrich said feminism is so extreme, especially right now.

“It’s super exclusive in itself and it doesn’t make me feel good because I mean I’m in school, I’m busy, I’m not constantly reading things about how to be a better feminist, I’m just trying to be a strong woman right now…I try to stay as informed as I can but also, you shouldn’t be mean, I think the general thing, Lady Scouts are not mean,” she said. “We want to get men involved too, men are scared of feminism and rightfully so…it’s hard for me to even explain it…”

The Lady Scouts would like for students to get involved with their skill-sharing workshops, find them on Facebook and look for their upcoming events. They have an exhibit coming up in the Black Box Theatre Oct. 6.

Image courtesy of Amanda Nettles 

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