Designer for Hire

Something Vintage

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Two hundred years ago it made cozy underwear. Fifty years ago it was dressing the likes of Grace Kelly. Today, celebrating its 200th birthday, Pringle is still going strong. We give an exclusive preview of an exhibition which is set to tour the USA and Asia. By Gillian Drummond. All photos courtesy of Royal Museum of Scotland/Pringle Scotland unless otherwise noted.


A Pringle 1958 advertisement. Photo: S. John Graphic

Pringle of Scotland, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, carries a name that’s synonymous with several things. There’s golf and the Pringle branded cardigans and shirts still favored by lovers of the sport. There’s cashmere, prevalent in the knitwear company’s garments. There’s the word ‘twinset’, coined by Pringle’s first designer in 1934. And there are Stella Tennant, Tilda Swinton and Ewan McGregor, just a few of the actors/models who have fronted the brand.


Tilda Swinton, the face of Pringle since 2009. Photo by Ryan McGinley, 2010.

Pringle began in 1815 in the small town of Hawick in the Borders of Scotland and went on to become a worldwide luxury knitwear brand. As part of its 200th year, the company has collaborated on Fully Fashioned, an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Soon to come to the USA, Fully Fashioned tells the history of a firm that began making undergarments and now has collections at the major international fashion shows. Pringle now has limited manufacturing in Scotland; in 2000 it was bought by Hong Kong-based SC Fang & Sons.

We caught the exhibition in Edinburgh. Here’s what we found out:

  • After years of making undergarments and hosiery, Pringle introduced the button-up cardigan in the 1930s (below). Like its underwear, the cardi had a deep waist rib and sides that followed the contour of the body.
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Pringle’s move from underwear to outerwear began in the 1930s. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

  • Otto Weisz, Pringle’s first knitwear designer, is credited with coming up with the name ‘twinset’, describing a short-sleeved vest and cardigan combo. He is said to have coined the term after seeing twins in a pram entering a Pringle mill in the 1930s (the company provided childcare at its factories to encourage women to work).

VOGUE USA cover with model wearing Pringle of Scotland, April 1955.

  • Actresses Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren were among the celebrities who wore Pringle during the ’50s and ’60s.
  • Pringle has been supplying underwear and outerwear to the Royal Family since the 1940s. Queen Elizabeth still wears a Pringle twinset today.
  • In 2010 actress Tilda Swinton – the face of Pringle since 2009 – designed a twinset for the company based on one her grandmother used to wear. It even includes darned elbows, which her gran had (see below).
  • Pringle’s largest outlet in Edinburgh was the Jenners department store, which still operates on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

Jenners department store in Edinburgh, which was Pringle’s largest outlet in the city. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

  • Pringle designs in the ’60s included the ‘Kildonan’, a cashmere dress modeled for British Vogue by Jean Shrimpton, and a double-weight cashmere ski sweater (see below).
  • Pringle’s first women’s collection was shown at London Fashion Week in 2002, and its first men’s collection at Milan Fashion Week a year later.
  • Scottish-born ballet dancer Michael Clark and his dance company choreographed and performed three short dance films for Pringle’s 200-year celebration, featuring twinsets and a golfing cardigan, among others.
  • The autumn/winter 2014 collection saw head of design Massimo Nicosia collaborating with architect and material scientist Richard Beckett in a series of 3D printed fabrics and innovative new technology, including a cable-knit polo neck with nylon inserts (below).

* Pringle’s Fully Fashioned exhibition is at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh until August 16th. It is then set to tour the USA and Asia, although no dates have been set yet. For more information visit

A lesson in not going with the flow

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The home of Tom McGuire and Nieves Zedeño flies in the face of traditional floorplans and breaks rules – beautifully. Story and photos by Rachel Miller.


The fireplace is a central pin to four separate living areas that radiate around it.

Stepping into the Tucson home of Tom McGuire and Nieves Zedeño is not unnerving. To the contrary, it offers an immediate sense of right with the world. But it does shake up the predictable pattern of what the flow of a house should be.

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The foyer opens up onto a semi-open plan that is made up of several living spaces. Right: a Thomas Moser bench, one of their favorite pieces.

Tom and Nieves’ home, in Tucson’s midtown San Clemente neighborhood, turns regular residential layouts on their heads. The fireplace and foyer acts as a pin to four separate living areas that radiate around that central fireplace in a semi-open plan: a library area, reading room, dining room, sitting room and television space.

This is a place to meander around with wine glass in hand and find a place for quiet reflection or, just steps away, a space for hearty conversation – with neither impinging on the other. Beyond this central space, the kitchen, study and bedrooms provide more private spaces. According to Nieves, there are just two other homes in the Tucson area that were built with this same eccentric floor plan.


Shaker and New England style meet industrial in this midtown Tucson home.

The layout of the house has a distinct modern feel, the furnishings at once comfortable, personal and fresh. The angled walls and the variable ceiling heights, along with the limited number of windows on the west facing wall, make for a light, cool feel to the home.

The central island table in the kitchen was built by Tom.

About the owners: Tom grew up in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, spending summers in Maine. Seeking a change of scenery and climate, he came to Arizona in the 1970s and, other than a few years in colder climes, has remained here.  Nieves, originally from Ecuador, came to Tucson as a visiting scholar in the late 1980s and returned as a research anthropologist in the early ’90s. It’s no surprise that their home reflects the influences of both their origins and their anthropological work.

About the home: The house was built in 1976, one of three built in Tucson with the same blueprint.  In addition to the 2600 square feet of living space there is a front and a back porch, pool patio, workshop and backyard.

Picture by Nieves' Aunt

Framed art by Nieves’ aunt.

Describe your style: “American folk art and mid-century modern,” says Nieves. “We combine the primary colors of Joseph Calder and Joan Miro with clean-lined Shaker and New England hardwood furniture. Then we throw in a few industrial splashes for balance: Classic Lionel toy trains , naïf art (art that is typically free of conventions) and still life metal and wood sculptures; photographs; drawings of birds and boats; and tons of books.”


Classic toy trains are part of the decor.

Your fave thing about your home: “The odd angled half walls that stretch from the central fireplace, dividing the large main room into four organic spaces. The effect is of an open, airy house where each human and animal can be private yet social at the same time,” says Nieves.

Biggest splurge: The Thomas Moser bow-frame bench and armchair  “superfluous but edifying”, says Nieves.

Best bargain: “The discounted flat-weave wool rugs designed by Steven Alan for West Elm (2013-14 catalog). Ivory, yellow, and royal blue, they look brilliant over dark floors.”


My DIY moment: “Soon after Tom and I married in 1995, I fell in love with a $250 George Nelson wall clock advertised in Design Within Reach. We couldn’t possibly reach it, so I headed for Michael’s and found a sleek clock mechanism and accessory parts. Tom helped me build the clock with a piece of balsa wood, pocket knife, spray paint, and Elmer’s glue. Twenty years and $20 later, my ‘GN’ clock is still ticking on the dining room wall. (Our favorite piece? The kitchen table that Tom made!)”

make your own george nelson inspired clock

The George Nelson-inspired homemade clock

Favorite resources: Nieves is a woven rug fanatic. She gets rugs, drapes, pillows and linens from West Elm, Crate and Barrel and Garnet Hill. The ethnic weavings are finds from Etsy. The investment in décor is evident in the fine wood furniture from Thomas Moser, Shaker Workshops, Chilton, as well as local store Copenhagen. Nieves and Tom also source furniture from the Sundance Catalog and One Kings Lane. The fine woodcarvings that adorn the shelves and walls have been picked up from antique malls in Bismarck, ND, Traverse City, MI, and Seneca, NY – as well as eBay and Wisteria. To find similar naïf and native prints, Nieves suggests tapping into any city’s homegrown bookstore, gallery, or art fair (e.g. Tucson’s Antigone Books’ handmade cards can make great wall art), or using eBay for broad searches.

IMG_0176 Tucson treasures: Nieves and Tom’s home has seen significant refurbishment since they moved in 12 years ago. They’ve used local companies where possible from landscape design firm Boxhill Design to Rogo’s and Ibarra’s Flooring for the concrete flooring. Benjamin Supply has provided the flair in the kitchen and bathroom.

For tile and stone: Sierra Tile

Furniture: Copenhagen, Colonial Frontiers in the Lost Barrio.

Sculpture and Wall Art: Tucson open studio tours and Tucson Museum of Art fairs, plus the couple’s all-time favorite, the Elizabeth Frank Studio.

Take-away lesson(s):  1. Woven rugs that can be cleaned easily and moved around are great when you have animals and are an easy and cheap way to spruce up a room. 2. We really loved the use of bold colors in this home. Nieves is not an ‘earth tones’ type and the seemingly effortless transition from one space to another without it seeming contrived has much to do with the choices of several bold colors: blues, yellows and red.

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Are you digging these digs? 
Get the look locally:

Or try these lookalikes (contains Amazon Affiliate links):


From left to right: dining bench, ball clock, Kilim rug, toy train.

1. LumiSource Oregon Dining Bench from Amazon, $162
2. Telechron Atomix Ball Clock from Amazon, $98.83
3. Steven Alan Cotton Kilim Rug from West Elm, $40-$749
4. Lionel Trains from Amazon, $212.98

Square Feet

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for a great property. Here she brings us her pick of what’s for sale in Tucson. Photos by Cayupe

Where it is: Grant Road near Swan

Listed by: Realpros

The damage:  $285,000

How many square feet?  3287

More info here

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: This is the real deal. Back in the 1930s this hacienda was on at least 10 acres out in (at the time) the middle of the desert, with a sweeping view of the Catalinas framed – literally – in a “picture” window designed to look like a giant framed portrait hanging from the ceiling. Apparently Clark Gable was good friends with the couple who owned the hacienda in the 1940s and actually spent about a year there after Carole Lombard died. 

The giant property was subdivided in the 1950s and so now this hacienda is surrounded by mid-century burnt adobe ranch homes, but it still sits on over a half acre in the center of Madelyn Circle, standing tall like the grande dame of the neighborhood with all the houses oriented to face her. The dark wood beams and vigasdark Saltillo floors, farmhouse kitchen and wrought iron details all speak the Spanish colonial revival idiom, but the giant picture windowformal dining room and butler’s pantry tell you that this house was meant for fine entertaining . If I were a Hollywood star who wanted to play cowboy, this is where I would hang my hat.

Here comes the but: Time marches on and Tucson has grown around this property. There is some traffic noise from nearby Grant Road, and the once majestic view from the picture window is partially obscured now by nearby buildings. It also needs updating – not quite a fixer-upper, but let’s just say there’s a trash compactor in the kitchen.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Design for the desert

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feature presented by

the Arizona South Chapter of ASID

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This year’s Desert Dwelling Design Week offers Tucsonans a wealth of activities: professional design courses, panel presentations, showroom tours, a tent sale, a trade expo and even a BBQ cook-off.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Bill Hough (left) and Matt Chapman will take part in The Battle of the BBQs cook-off. Photo by Deborah Garcia

As desert dwellers, Tucsonans are envied by people across the country who are shoveling snow and watching the temperatures drop. For us, it’s time to start thinking about outdoor living and sprucing up our homes with everything from fresh paint on the walls to full kitchen remodels.

If you’re wondering what to do or how to get started with your home project, there’s nothing like a professional interior designer’s advice. Sharing their design knowledge is just what local designers will be doing at Tucson’s upcoming Desert Dwelling Design Week on Feb. 27-March 1. The event, which is sponsored by the Arizona South Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers and its media partner Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden, will feature an exciting design trade expo, informative panel discussions, enticing cooking demonstrations and much more.

On Feb. 27, you can step into a designer’s (stylish) shoes. Being a member of the American Society of Interior Designers requires more than an education, experience and membership dues. To maintain their ASID membership, designers have to take continuing education courses annually to learn about changing design trends, the newest products and the technical knowledge to get things done right.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Taking Your Kitchen From Good To Great will discuss kitchen renovation. Photo by Deborah Garcia

This year ASID is opening its member series of continuing education units (CEUs) to the public. Join ASID designers on Feb. 27 for presentations on thin porcelain panels (a new wall covering trend), leather facts, aging-in-place design and using social media for business promotion. The six-hour event includes breakfast and lunch, so you’ll have a chance to meet and chat with some interior designers, too.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Don’t miss the Design Trade Expo. Pictured left to right are Karen Kraetz of Artesana Tile, Tracey Schwartz of Daltile and Lorelei Hough of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. Photo by Deborah Garcia

Four free panel discussions and presentations on Feb. 28 will provide advice about making your home more energy efficient, promoting health and wellness at home and making your living spaces more functional for you and your family now and for years to come.

The Home Energy Workshop being offered Feb. 28 is free, but participants must register in advance as space is limited. You’ll learn about saving energy (and money) by making free and low-cost improvements to your home. Representatives from Tucson Electric Power will present tips and provide a free kit of energy efficiency devices for participants.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Aging in place will be one of the panel discussion topics. Pictured left to right are Janice Donald of Eren Design and Remodel and Lisa Reeves of Ageless by Design. Photo by Deborah Garcia

Discover the newest design trends and find treasures for your home at two, two-day, free events being held Feb. 27 and Feb. 28. The Design Trade Expo brings together a collection of local and national product suppliers to show off their industries’ latest products and to answer your questions. These are companies many Tucson interior designers use to create beautiful, functional and stylish designs for their clients.

The Designer Tent Sale, the second two-day event, is a unique treasure hunt full of fabulous furniture, beautiful antiques, expensive fabrics, one-of-a-kind creations and more. Drawing on client returns, showroom extras and pieces with minor imperfections, this sale offers high-end merchandise at bargain prices. Everything will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Get ready for summer at two more fun events. Solana Outdoor Living will feature a tour of Solana’s beautiful showroom and opportunities to meet award-winning designers as well as their expert suppliers, all while enjoying drinks and appetizers. Learn how to expand your living space outdoors and how to promote healthy living through sustainable practices.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Find out what works for your outdoors at the Solana Outdoor Living event. Pictured are (on left) Liz Ryan and (seated) Jen Thompson of Liz Ryan Design and (on right) Ashlynd Tahy (seated) and Allen Denomy of Solana Outdoor Living. Photo by Deborah Garcia

Battle of the BBQs will test chefs’ skills at the grill. It’s a great opportunity for grilling enthusiasts to get tips from the pros and for everyone to enjoy drinks and grilled appetizers. Plus, you can check out the latest technology and products to make your outdoor grilling experiences fantastic. Don’t forget this is a battle, so come vote for your favorite dishes. May the best chef prevail!

When it comes to indoor cooking, Taking Your Kitchen from Good to Great will share what you can realistically expect during a kitchen renovation, how to avoid common remodeling pitfalls and how to create a timeless design that meets your family’s personal needs. Will there be food to sample? Of course.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Clark Reeves (left) of Master Faux LLC and Lindsey Kowalski of Sherwin Williams Paints will host DIY Faux Finish Techniques. Photo by Deborah Garcia

Other events will include a brunch presentation on DIY Faux Finish Techniques as well as the Champagne Brunch and Art Talk on enhancing your indoor and outdoor environments with art. Handcrafted Exotic Furniture will feature a showroom tour and a talk by Jason Scott, a national innovator in sustainable design whose furniture is handcrafted from reclaimed teak by 200 artisans in Java.

Photo by Deborah Garcia

Sustainable design expert Jason Scott. Photo courtesy of Jason Scott Collection.

Whether you are fascinated by interior design, have a design project in mind or want to shop for that special something for your home, Desert Dwelling Design Week will offer you three days of fun events and educational presentations on interior design today.

What: Desert Dwelling Design Week
When: February 27-March 1
Where: Various locations
Tickets and more information: Visit the Desert Dwelling Design Week website or call (520) 547-5516. One-day passes and all-event passes are available as are tickets for individual events.

For the love of Naim

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On the eve of a brand new album, French musician Naim Amor…. blah blah blah. By James Hudson.


Prizes prizes prizes

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It’s our second birthday, dontcha know. To celebrate, all of this month we’ll be pulling names from our subscriber list for some fab prizes. We’ll be announcing the winners here and on our Facebook page. So if you’re not yet a subscriber, sign up now! Go to our home page and click on that brown box at the top of the page.

1. Two pairs of tickets to the 7th Annual Arizona Underground Film Festival, September 19th to 27th in Tucson.  Value: $32 ($8 each) Winners: Mary Gibson and Sheila Wilensky. AZUFF Filmfestbanner2014

2. A “Rain Chain”, handmade by Tucson artist and landscape designer Margaret Joplin. Value: $400. Winner: Kimberly Coffman. joplin rainchain

 3.  One pair of tickets to Raul Midon and Gaby Moreno, Friday September 27th, at The Rialto Theatre. Value: $46 Winner: Doug Ayers

4.  Noel’s Restoratives ‘manscape’ pack. Value: $50  Winner: Pilar Graves

5. Set of 10 metal garden markers from BoxHill Design. Value: $28 Winner: Interiors Studio

5. A year’s membership to The Loft Cinema. Value: $75 Winner: Debby Larsen loft-logo 6. One pair of tickets to An Evening with David Sedaris at Fox Theatre Tucson, Thursday November 6th. Winner: Vanessa Dorr

7. One pair of tickets to The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Allen Toussaint, Thursday November 13th. Winner: Jude Clarke

8. One pair of tickets to UA Presents  An Evening with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly at Centennial Hall, Sunday October 26th. Value: $60 Winner: Mark Pirtle

9.  One pair of tickets to UA Presents A Conversation with Alec Baldwin at Centennial Hall, Saturday November 15th. Value: $80.  Alec has canceled. We’ll get back to you with an alternative soon!
10. One pair of tickets to Reel Fashion, a Fox Theatre/3 Story/Tucson Modernism Week event, Wednesday October 8th at The Fox. Value: $20 Winner: Julie Reed


Diary of a topless gal

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When this journalist decided to undress in the name of feminism, it became a story of power, love and a fair amount of Prosecco.  By Gillian Drummond


Liora K, left, and Jes Baker give each other some love at the second annual ‘Expose’. Photo courtesy of Liora K Photography.

The invitation came via Facebook one evening: Would I join 100 or so other women to pose topless in black underwear?

I didn’t need much persuasion – only the names attached to the event. These were Jes M Baker and Liora K, body positive blogger and photographer respectively, and together a pair that is giving feminism, sizeism and girl power an almighty kick up the backside. Their mission: the second annual ‘Expose’ photo shoot, one that would be shared with the world via social media. Last year they gathered a crowd of women in white undies for a shoot to celebrate all body sizes. This year the undies would be black.

Jes and Liora fascinated me, with their feminist derring-do, their creativity, their following, and their media presence. (One entry from Jes on her blog, The Militant Baker, can lead to a Huffington Post or CNN headline; a post on her Facebook page can get tens of thousands of likes.)  DSC_2622-400x266

I had been following this pair’s work for some time, and reporting some of it in 3 Story. Jes’s Smash The Scale project encouraged women to start off their New Year doing just that. In Lustworthy, Liora photographed a series of mock perfume ads showing the plus-sized Jes posing seductively with a hunky and regular-sized male model.

And then there was the set of photos that first gained them worldwide media attention: Attractive & Fat, a great big public poke at Abercrombie & Fitch and sizeist comments made by its CEO Mike Jeffries. They featured Jes and another regular-sized male model publicly challenging the assertion that attractive and fat are incompatible, with Liora once more behind the lens.

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Jes Baker’s blog receives 300,000 to 600,000 hits a month.

So anyway, back to that evening. What was I thinking when I clicked ‘Join’ on the Facebook event? Two things: 1. that this would be a great story; and 2. my journo’s appetite aside, that it was time for me to support Jes and Liora’s efforts as well as writing about them.

I shared the flyer on my own Facebook page with the words, ‘Tucson gal pals, I feel we must… Whaddaya think?” Then a funny thing happened: nothing. Not one like, nor comment, nor share. Certainly no commitments to get almost-naked and join me. My Facebook world went eerily quiet.

No matter. By then I was all in. I told my husband and kids. Hubby was cool with it and called me brave. The seven-year-old just giggled: “You’re doing what?”  The teen got straight to the point: “Mom, you can’t. Your boobs hang down to your waist.” And that, right there, was incentive enough.

Still, the reality was now setting in. Here’s what went through my mind: Thought #1: It’s only two weeks away. Oh shit, that doesn’t give me much time to lose weight. Thought #2: You silly cow, Gillian, the whole point is you don’t have to look perfect. It’s a love-your-body event. Thought #3: Help! I don’t love my body. I really don’t. Wtf have I done?

I am Scottish. I was raised Presbyterian. We liked our clothes, and our modesty. I was a chubby kid, and weight issues followed me into adulthood. So for me to get naked, do it in public, and actually celebrate it, was a big ask.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking that way. My Facebook post remained untouched and ignored – no likes, no comments. It was a digital tumbleweed moment. And then I was having cocktails with a business acquaintance and new pal and happened to mention my forthcoming stripping-off. “I’m in,’ said C. “I’ll do it with you.” Cue Thought #4: I am only just becoming friendly with this woman, and yet on Sunday we will disrobe together.

I determined that alcohol would help. An hour before the shoot, C and I opened a bottle of Prosecco. We got to Tucson’s Maker House feeling buzzed, and the party was starting – the bar busy, the room hot and noisy and excited. We downed another two glasses of bubbly. And then we ordered a bottle.


Liora K, the photographer behind the ‘Expose’ photo shoots. Photo by Purple Nickel Studio.

Liora explained that with so many people and not a lot of time, she’d be whizzing through the portraits. When it came to our turn to pose, we should tell her straight away whether we planned to remain anonymous and not show our faces, she said. C and I had already agreed to remain anonymous. We figured that showing our boobs and bodies was one thing, but we weren’t ready to be identified to the world.

Jes gave us all a pep talk, reiterating that this was a positive space. We shouldn’t be down on ourselves, and we should be only upbeat in our comments about our bodies. It was also a safe place. (For that reason I was banned from interviewing anyone for this article, or from publishing anyone’s photos – scroll down for the links to those.) And with that, Liora and Jes whipped off their tank tops and encouraged us to do the same.


Photo courtesy of Liora K Photography,

I tell my daughter all the time: “People come in all shapes and sizes.” And I wish she had been there to witness how true this statement was that summer afternoon in Tucson. There were big boobs, little boobs, hardly any boobs, pregnant boobs. Pregnant bellies, Caesarean scars, other scars. Briefs, thongs, boy shorts, high-waisted Spanx affairs, and some undies removed altogether. There was a ton of ink – to the point where my tattoo-less body felt almost rebellious.

As each woman took her turn to pose, Liora gave a few suggestions: stand sideways, turn around and show your bum, stick it in the air, ruffle your hair, make like you’re a body builder with strong arms. I was in awe of the women who strode up there all ready to roll – grinning, posing, provocative, strong. It helped that the crowd cheered and whooped. Then again, that in itself was nerve-wracking. I had imagined that Liora would shoot in a corner of the room, out of sight of the others. But the photography took part on a makeshift stage front and center of the room, with everyone’s eyes on the subjects. C and I looked at each other, panicked. “What do we do up there?” I kept asking her. And we drank some more, putting off our turn.

Then, at some juncture, Liora turned around and nobody was lining up to pose. The initial rush had died down. ‘Who’s next?” she shouted. I grabbed C’s hand and led us both up there. The next 30 seconds (because that was all it took) was a blur of laughs, grins, a few hasty, silly poses and – crucially – a great wave of cheers and applause from the crowd as the two of us posed together.

It was a high all in its own category. But there was a problem: not one of our poses was anonymous. In the heat of the moment, we hadn’t told Liora to obscure our faces. “You realize we didn’t…” I started to say to C. She nodded and said, “It’s OK.” And it was. Standing up there, we’d both realized that there was no point in doing all of this and not showing our faces.


Jes Baker, body positive advocate and inspiration to millions who follow her blog, The Militant Baker. Photo courtesy of Impulse Nine Media.

The few hours I spent there were electric and empowering and funny and sincere and loving and sore and very, very emotional. One woman had brought along her infant. I held him to me, skin on skin, for the longest time. I realized how much I missed breast-feeding, smelling and loving on my babies and their nakedness against mine all these years ago.

We women admired each other’s underwear and hair. We oohed over tattoos. We laughed a lot. Some wept. The cheers were deafening as Jes led one or two who were shaking with fear and tears, and posed alongside them. As Liora said afterwards: “It’s really intense, like very very raw inside out type stuff.”

It also felt subversive, conspiratorial. Out on the street afterwards, fully clothed again, we strangers were smiling at each other knowingly. We were bonded, like a female Fight Club. Except without the violence, only love. What Jes calls body love.


“It felt subversive, conspiratorial… We were bonded, like a female Fight Club.” Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Studios.

But wait, there is a Post Script to this. As Liora emailed us our photos for a sneak peek, we returned to that same Facebook page – a closed, private group, only open to those who took part – to share our feelings. Tears surfaced again for some as they shared their picture with the rest of the group. Yes, there were tales of feeling bold, newly confident, liberated, loved. But there were many stories of anxiety and self-doubt. One woman regretted having done the shoot. A couple of them said they hated the end result, but were glad to have had the experience. Even the mighty Jes Baker, who has had images of her flesh published worldwide, admitted to a moment of pause when it came to sharing her own naked photo – one of her most candid to date.

Me? I like my photos, and force myself not to pick them apart or dwell on the cellulite. I’m proud I took part, and I feel I’m walking taller as a result. But I’m nervous about the world’s media seeing my exposed body on Jes’s blog and beyond. Tellingly, I haven’t told my parents I did it.

And the experience took its toll. I was exhausted, emotionally spent. I also comfort-ate carbs and sugar for days afterwards. Still burying stuff. Still, truth be told, uncomfortable with baring all.

But there will be a next time. I’m already thinking about my next pose.

* To see the photos from the second annual ‘Expose’ photo shoot, visit Jes Baker’s blog, The Militant Baker. You can also read about it on Liora K’s blog.

* Read more about Jes in our award-winning article, The F Word. And check out our 3 Story profile on Liora here.

* In the mood for some more body love? Read photographer Jade Beall’s Mother’s Day letter to herself: “It’s glorious feeling comfortable in my skin.”

Dear Tucson…

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Love Letters to Tucson logo Each issue we link up with Rachel Miller’s Love Letters to Tucson blog for a letter from a Tucson inhabitant about why they love this fair city. This month, as Tucson gets ready for its sixth Festival of Books, bibliophile Holly Schaffer sends her city a note. Photos by Rachel Miller.

holly schaffer

“Dear Tucson,

I love you. And I love books too.

Let’s just get this out up front: I’m a bibliophile. I always have been and I always will be. But it’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of (okay the stacks of books overrunning my shelves may be a little embarrassing, but it’s worth it).

I’m going to take a stab and say I’m not the only bibliophile in Tucson. Wanna know how I know? Four words: TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS.

Let’s roll back the clocks . . . March 2009. Many, many volunteers (myself included) had worked countless hours begging authors from around the country to come and take part in the first annual Festival. “But Tucson is a book-loving city,” I can hear the volunteers saying to (pleading with) publicists from such well-known companies as Random House and Simon & Schuster. And thank goodness we stuck with it.

holly1 I knew from the second my husband dropped me off on the University of Arizona mall the morning of Saturday, March 14 to work the U of A Press booth that all our work had paid off. Throngs of people at 9 a.m. grew into a crowd of more than 50,000 by the end of the second day.

That’s not a typo: 50,000 book lovers gathered in Tucson over one weekend to celebrate authors, literature, literacy, and the reading/writing community. Over the past five Festivals (held every March at the start of UA Spring Break), this annual event has continued to spread its wings, attracting 120,000 in 2013.

tfb logo Okay, okay . . . back to the point. I love Tucson. And I love books. And that includes the Tucson Festival of Books. It would be impossible to innumerate in one simple love letter all the amazing things that make the Festival the fourth largest in the nation. So allow me to use some trusted bullet points to do the job:

* The Festival features more than 300 presentations, 200 exhibitors, and countless opportunities to meet authors, poets, screenwriters and journalists. Panels are created by teams of volunteer book-lovers who are incredibly passionate about various subject areas, which means that Festival attendees are sure to get the best of all genres, from mystery and romance to science and outdoor adventures and everything in between.

* All proceeds from the Festival are directed toward improving literacy rates in Southern Arizona. In fact, since its launch in 2009, the Festival has contributed $900,000 to local literacy organizations.

* Science City! Basically a world within a world at the Festival, Science City gives attendees an opportunity to immerse themselves in engaging hands-on activities, lab tours, science talks, and dynamic performances. Visitors of all ages are invited to ignite their senses with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this amazing pavilion. Organizations participating in this year’s Science City include the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, the UA Wildcat Water Lab, Sky Island Alliance, and the Marine Awareness and Conservation Society – just to name a handful.

* Fun for the whole family. And I mean FUN. Storybook characters wandering the paved walkways, a tent for tots with story performances, puppet theatre, felt board fun, and so much more. I really can’t think of a better way to spend time with the family while encouraging a love of reading. The Festival is a must for families!

* It’s an all-hands-on-deck community event. More than 2,000 volunteers take time out of their lives to assist. Over the course of two days (and even more when you count the folks who act as volunteer drivers providing author ground transportation to and from the airport) Tucsonans act as food court hosts, entertainment support, author escorts and moderators, among many other jobs. It’s truly amazing to see so many people come out year after year to keep this event going.

* Bus scholarships, generously provided by Fiesta Bowl Charities and Citi, are made available to schools and children’s organizations to assist in providing student transportation to the Festival. Need I say more?

holly schaffer I could keep going, but really . . . do I even need to? After five years, the Festival is Tucson. People travel from out of town to attend; the UA Mall is packed solid for two days; the sun shines gloriously on tents full of books and smiling authors and readers; the food court swells with families eating, laughing, reading; the culinary tent inspires people to try new foods and drink (while filling their shelves with the best new cookbooks out there); and workshops throughout the weekend help aspiring writers become the best they can be with programs focused on research, editing, the craft of writing, promotion, and on and on.

Tucson, I love you. You are quirky and wonderful and hot as hell and beautiful. And you are a book loving town. And really, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better.

Oh – one quick thing before I go. If you didn’t already know this, the Festival’s website is live NOW! Check it out. This year they’ve made a color-coded genre grid with an option to create your own customized Festival schedule.

Love, your friend,

Holly Schaffer is the Publicity Manager at the University of Arizona Press. She’s volunteered on the Tucson Festival of Books Author Committee since its inception in 2009. She’s currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro. A first-time mom, Holly is most excited about attending this year’s Festival with her 18-month-old son Elliott. When she’s not enjoying some fresh air and story time in the kids’ area, you will find her working at the University of Arizona Press booth.

* Visit this year’s Tucson Festival of Books March 15th to 16th at the University of Arizona. More info here.

3 Story takes to the radio

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In the Fall of 2013, 3 Story Magazine began a content-sharing agreement with NPR station Arizona Public Media. Once a month, we turn one of our stories into a radio report. These are broadcast on Arizona Spotlight, 8.30 am and 6 pm Fridays, and 5 pm Saturdays.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:


Wendy pouring electro-elixir. Photo by Ruben Palma

The Power of Circus Amperean

How a High School science club prank turned into an electrifying performing arts group. Link to the radio story here.

Tucson Fashion Week welcomes Betsey Johnson


Betsey Johnson’s designs at the 2013 Tucson Fashion Week. Photo by Gillian Drummond

How Tucson Fashion Week grew from a gig in a parking lot to attracting the wild child of fashion. Listen to the radio story here.







Tucson Fashion Week 2013

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