Sierra's blog

Summer 2022 Remote Intern Ivy Marie

Ivy Marie is a femme poet, editor, and artist currently living and creating in the south. She recently graduated from Mercer University after studying literature, creative writing, art, and women's and gender studies throughout her undergraduate years.

Professionally, Ivy has written and edited for several newspapers and literary journals; she interned as a copyeditor with Mercer University Press for two years; her poems have been nationally recognized in various contests; and her writing has been published with Porkbelly Press, Glass Mountain, and the Atlanta Review, among other places. While she was based in Macon, she partnered with the local library system to facilitate a youth-led poetry workshop to connect young, underrepresented writers with opportunities and platforms to share their stories.

Personally, Ivy is passionate about radical gentleness, healing, and lesbian love and joy, and her work reflects those themes. Similar to bell hooks, she's interested in love as a subject of study. Her current project is a meditation on lesbian longing with a focus on art and literature. A cross between an epic poem, research document, and mosaic essay, her project engages in dialogue with historical and contemporary lesbians who have yearned and connects them to her own memories and experiences. What makes a lesbian history? What makes a lesbian piece of art? What makes a lesbian? What is this soft thread that connects us?

While at Sinister Wisdom, Ivy's work has primarily been concentrated on editing. She copyedited Sinister Wisdom 127: On Transfer, content-edited Rose Norman's upcoming book on Florida's lesbian Pagoda, edits the Sinister Wisdom e-newsletters, and is constructing Sinister Wisdom's style guide. She's also written a featurette and a book review (upcoming in issue 127!), organized Sinister Wisdom 127's New Lesbian Writing section, and transcribed We Lift Our Voices by Mae V. Cowdery. She's looking forward to being involved in Sinister Wisdom's Transfeminisms issue and a couple of archive assembly projects.

Ivy in a collage self-portrait.

Ivy in her studio.

Ivy at a poetry reading.


Summer 2022 Remote Intern Bell Beecher Pitkin

During the summer of 2022, Bell Beecher Pitkin is working as an intern at Sinister Wisdom. We are pleased to introduce Bell to the Sinister Wisdom community.

Bell Beecher Pitkin is a Lesbian artist and student who lives and works between North Carolina and Boston, studying at Wellesley College. They work primarily utilizes 35mm and medium format photography, experimental print methods, and non-narrative video to explore themes of youth, memory, and identity often situated in the landscape and mysticism of the Southern United States. Currently, Bell is pursuing their bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Media Studies and will be completing a studio art thesis this year which studies folk art, vernacular photography, and family mythologies in the new American South.

Thus far, their work at Sinister Wisdom has included proofreading and editing, helping to organize and facilitate the ALFA 50th Anniversary event, and imagining a special art project for Sinister Wisdom’s 50th anniversary.

Bell Beecher Pitkin

Eclipse Viewing, digital print

At Tupelo, silver gelatin print

Facing the Hill, silver collodion tintype

Zoe, 35mm color film scan


Summer 2022 Remote Intern Sydney Schmidt

Sydney Schmidt (she/they) is a queer student journalist and undergraduate at George Washington University. They pursue a degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and International Affairs, with a concentration in Contemporary Cultures & Societies. She is a staff writer for College Magazine, blog manager for GW’s chapter of The Women’s Network, as well as Actions Deputy for GW’s chapter of the climate justice organization Sunrise. Her creative writing has appeared in GW’s student literary magazine Capitol Letters.

With Sinister Wisdom, Sydney is compiling a bibliography of poet and activist Terri Jewell’s work, and is enjoying the opportunity to learn more about Jewell’s writings, as well as the publications she appeared in. Additionally, Sydney is working on compiling and creating a design for an Editor Guidebook for Sinister Wisdom’s guest editors. Her transcription project is Hungerheart: The Story of a Soul, a 1915 semi-autobiographical novel written by Christabel Marshall.

Sydney Schmidt

Summer 2022 Non-Residential Creative Endeavors Fellow Caitlin Abadir-Mullally (kt)

During the summer of 2022, Caitlin Abadir-Mullally (kt) is a non-residential creative endeavors fellow at Sinister Wisdom. We are pleased to introduce kt to the Sinister Wisdom community.

Caitlin Abadir-Mullally (kt) is a Coptic-American Lesbian artist and independent archivist based in Philadelphia. She works to create communities for those who live between spaces. Her research dives into fear, hybridity, queerness, collective thinking, grief, and cultural loss. Caitlin Abadir-Mullally works in sculpture, video, performance, and relationship building. Caitlin Abadir-Mullally is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science with a focus in archival studies. She is passionate about documenting diasporic queer Southwest Asian and North Afrikan joy and complexity, and the agency of the living to decide how their narratives are preserved in her project Saffron.

Saffron is an LGBTQ+ Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) archive. The archive documents, preserves, and shares access to celebration, stories, and moments of joy by diasporic, queer SWANA artists and creators. Saffron is a cherished spice that is versatile in dying fabrics, coloring and flavoring cuisine across the world and involvement with ritual that brings us close to the divine. These qualities mirror my experience of the LGBTQ+ SWANA diaspora. Saffron was incubated during my fellowship with YallaPunk in 2021. This archive is funded by the Leeway Art and Change Grant and will be expanded during my residency with Sinister Wisdom in 2022.

KT in her studio in Philadelphia

Tomb Reveal, Screenprint and Acrylic on Fabric

Mahshi Triptych, Digital Collage

Saffron: An LGBTQ+ SWANA Archive graphic


Sue Parker “Rainbow” Williams (1934-2022)

Multidisciplinary artist, musician, and instrument maker Sue Parker “Rainbow” Williams died April 7, 2022, at the age of 88. Most of her feminist friends knew her as Rainbow, although in recent years she began to prefer Sue. She came of age well before the modern women’s movement, and it took her awhile to find lesbian feminism. Art was her lifelong calling from an early age. She grew up in Shreveport, LA, an only child who entertained herself by drawing. Her mother, a single parent, worked outside the home, so she was raised by an aunt with two daughters who were like sisters to her. She describes herself as having been “on a very conventional path, looking for the EXIT SIGN!” (1) She pursued her interest in art first at the Texas State College for Women, then transferred to the University of Arkansas, after reading about its new Fine Arts Center in a national magazine. There she met an architecture student, Chaz Williams. She says of Chaz, “Neither of us wanted to get married, but we wanted family (how gay is that?). We wanted to devote our lives to art, architecture, travel.” She graduated in 1955, with a Fine Arts major with honors, and married Chaz, who had a year to go on his five-year architecture degree. After several years in the Air Force (Chaz’s education was paid by ROTC), they wound up in Orlando, where they adopted first a daughter, Julie, later a son, Benson.

All along, she had been studying all kinds of art, getting a master’s degree in crafts in Mexico (together with Chaz), where they learned clay, weaving, batik, woodworking, printmaking, silversmithing, bronze forging, and more. She credits that study in Mexico with giving her the confidence to come out as a lesbian. Back in Orlando, in 1969 she started an alternative school called Stone Soup, working with a neighbor who was her first woman lover. The school lasted thirty years, and both of her children graduated from it. She also built a pottery shop in her carport and spent eight years making pots with messages stamped on them, then turned to woodworking, making dulcimers, a total of thirty-seven over the years. She taught herself to play the dulcimer and started a band, the Amazing Almost All Girl String Band, “two artists and two lesbians who could sing or play some outrageous feminist materials.” They were the house band for Pine Castle Center for the Arts in Orlando, where she taught. They played traditional string band songs like “Shady Grove” and “Cluck Old Hen,” as well as feminist songs like Malvina Reynolds’ “We Don’t Need the Men,” and Rainbow’s original songs, including “Amelia” and “I Am a Channel.” Rainbow still has videos of the band performing at the Pagoda, and her handmade band banner hangs in her house.

Caption: Banner hand made by a member of the Amazing Almost All Girl String Band
Credit: Courtesy of Rainbow Williams. Photo by Rose Norman

Sue/Rainbow had found lesbian feminist activism at her first women’s festival, the 1977 National Women’s Music Festival, which had started in 1974. That is where she found Lesbian Connection, Holly Near, and consciousness raising. She and other Orlando NOW volunteers published Changes for eight years (1977-85), first monthly, then quarterly. She learned how to put together a newsletter from the editors of Gainesville’s WomaNews, and soon was swapping subscriptions with feminist newsletters around the state and the country. “Newsletters Were My Feminist Education” she titles a story she wrote much later for Sinister Wisdom. (2) She and a friend also started a Lavender Bookmobile in Orlando, a lending library mostly featuring books by Rita Mae Brown. NOW and CR groups met at her house in Orlando. She called it The Wimmin’s House and also hosted monthly full moon gatherings in the backyard, as well as “witchy weekends” that included tarot readings.

In the 1983-84 winter holidays, she joined the Women’s Peace Walk from Gainesville to Key West, a 540-mile journey that began December 17, 1983, and ended January 30, 1984. (3) She writes: “Physically, spiritually, emotionally—it was the most powerful single thing I’ve ever done. It truly CHANGED MY LIFE! Part of our bonding was intense interaction day and night, CHANTING OUR WAY through blisters, breakups and makeups. This BAND OF POETS created every day a way of being.” (4)

Sue/Rainbow’s lifelong passion for making art of all kinds was a major expression of her lesbian-feminist activism. In her Orlando garage studio in 1980, she produced a local art show coordinated with the national Great American Lesbian Art Show (GALAS), held in the Women’s Building in Los Angeles. At the 1982 opening of the Orlando Women in Art House, one of her pieces was a three-mirror dresser with a female orchestra made of spool women playing instruments to a tape recording of Kay Gardner music. Many of her art works are collages or constructions made from found objects, such as cigar boxes, seashells, children’s blocks, or broken musical instruments. Amelia Earhart is a favorite feminist icon, and her name or photograph appears often in Rainbow’s work. She named her Pagoda cottage Amelia.

Caption: Posing, age 48, the piece she exhibited at the 1982 opening of the Orlando Women in Art House
Credit: Photo by Sarah Carawan

When she moved to St. Augustine in 1984, Sue/Rainbow enrolled in an architectural drafting class at a local vocational school (5) and for three years apprenticed with Dore Rotundo. Dore was a licensed architect and had sold her Pagoda cottage the year before Rainbow moved there. Dore’s studio was in Melrose, and Rainbow worked with her there on designing a beach front house next to the Pagoda. At the Pagoda winter solstice celebration that first year, she took the name Rainbow.

Rainbow was very active in the arts while at the Pagoda, producing art shows as well as concerts, performing with her band, and going with other Pagodans to help Lin Daniels and Myriam Fougère with the East Coast Lesbian Festival (ECLF). For the first ECLF, Rainbow created a twenty-foot mural on brown wrapping paper depicting Pagoda women in characteristic poses, Myriam with her video camera, Nancy Breeze hanging sheets on a clothesline, herself playing a dulcimer. She illustrated (for free) both volumes of Terry Woodrow’s Lesbian Bedtime Stories (1989, 1990). Rainbow’s art was used on the cover of the brochure for the National Lesbian Conference in Atlanta (1991), as well as the ECLF brochure. While she lived in her North Pagoda cottage, she treated it as a studio and gallery, as she did her Florida Ave. home right up until her death.

Caption: Rainbow with her dulcimer, from her 1990 Pagoda mural
Credit: Art by Rainbow. Photo by Rose Norman

Caption: A sign on the side of Rainbow’s Florida Ave. house reads “Museum, Open Daily, 8:00 to 5:00”
Photo by Rose Norman

Caption: Rainbow in 2013 with some of the art displayed at her home/gallery.
Credit: Photo by Rose Norman

Caption: Sue Williams in her youth.
Credit: Courtesy of Sue Williams.

Caption: Rainbow in March 2021 holding her youthful picture
Credit: Photo by Rose Norman

Obituary written by Rose Norman

(1) Interview November 9, 2013, at her home. Rainbow revised these notes for archiving.

(2) Special Issue, “Making Connections,” Sinister Wisdom 117 (Summer 2020): 125-26.

(3) On the origin of the peace walk, see Kathleen “Corky” Culver, “Into the Grueling Duelings of Consensus Dances Sweet Meditation,” Sinister Wisdom 93 (Summer 2014): 23-26. Culver writes about her experience of the peace walk itself in “I Get Dry With a Little Help From My Friends,” Sinister Wisdom 124 (April 2022).

(4) Revised interview notes, p. 7. The capitalization is a feature of her writing style.

(5) Rainbow says she enrolled in the drafting class, then asked Dore to help her with some “isometric drawings.” Dore offered her an unpaid job as an apprentice. Rainbow finished out her class but shifted her energies to the apprenticeship.


La Caminata Fundraiser and Pilgrimage

Hola mi Familia Arco Iris,

Greetings from Santuario Arco Iris.

For 39 years now, every Spring our Grandmothers and community members meet to walk the boundary of our Sacred wilderness sanctuary in a blessing ceremony, La Caminata de Arco Iris. We warmly invite you to participate in this spiritual pilgrimage to bless these Sacred mountains and pray to give thanks to our Mother Earth for her beauty and the many gifts She freely gives us daily.

La Caminata Community Day is this Saturday, March 19th at Noon. La Caminata begins with a 3.5 mile walk on a forest trail. If you choose to participate, please bring a small backpack, drinking water, snacks, and wear appropriate hiking clothes and shoes. There is a potluck after the ceremony and you are welcome to bring food to share.

This year we would like to give you the opportunity to contribute financially toward preparation for La Caminata.

I have been hesitant to reach out to our larger community in the past, but it has now become necessary to ask for financial assistance to help with our operating costs. Even though many folks Volunteer their time to do trail maintenance, preparing for La Caminata still requires money and many resources: our 4X4 truck must be maintained, and we must buy fuel, chainsaws, tools, materials, lunches for volunteers and pay salaries for specialized labor. This year we need to ask you to contribute to OUR land and OUR ceremony.

Please consider donating so we can continue our sacred duty and uphold our mission.

A gift of any amount goes a long way.

There are three ways to donate to La Caminata or Arco Iris Earth Care Project:

1. To donate via PayPal, Click this Link
2. To donate via CashApp, use our CashTag: $AIECP
3. To donate via check, please make the check out to "Arco Iris Earth Care Project" and mail to:

Arco Iris Earth Care Project Treasurer
176 Holly Street
Huntsville, AR 72740

Tlatzokamati (deepest appreciation),
Maria Christina Moroles, Aguila
Resident Steward and President, Arco Iris

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