*Thank you all so much for helping us reach our initial goal! In the final 24 hours of the Kickstarter we'd like to remind you that if you'd like a copy of this book please pledge now. The best way to make sure you get a copy of Woman, Crowned is by backing the project before it closes. THANK YOU.*
Woman, Crowned was planted in the summer of 2017. Amber Richardson, our researcher and writer, and Anna Killian, our photographer and unifying eye, sat in a beat up old Hyundai under the mountains and leaves of the Provo Canyon. Amber was about to begin performing Mother Wove the Morning, a one woman play by Carol Lynn Pearson about the feminine divine, and Anna had recently finished her BFA project, a show called Her that depicted Heavenly Mother using words and photos.
It was Anna's suggestion. "We should make a book together. My photos, your words." Amber had been researching the feminine divine for three years at that point, and Anna had been photographing subjects in that wheelhouse for just as long. It would take a few more months for the seed to sprout. Amber needed to make one more connection first.
Initially, and for a long time following the beginning, Amber's inquiries into the feminine divine felt like wandering in an empty wilderness. There seemed to be so little. But as the months wore on, and as her eyes gradually opened the scene changed. What was first a wilderness gradually transformed into a verdant garden—a place teeming with life and fruit. The turning point happened one day while she was reading from the book of Moses (a volume of scripture in The Pearl of Great Price), which reads "Moses, my son... thou art in similitude of mine Only Begotten."
It was a familiar idea. Many God-fearing men have typified Christ and Heavenly Father through the ages: Adam, Abel, Abraham, Jonah, and Solomon to name a few. But as Amber sat there reading she wondered, "Who then was Moses' mother, Jochebed, created in similitude of?"
How could Jochebed typify anyone other than our Mother in Heaven? Jochebed sent her son down a watery canal into the arms of the woman who would become his second mother, Pharaoh's daughter. Even though Jochebed made a tremendous sacrifice in giving her child to another woman she never truly left her son. Jochebed was Moses' wet nurse!
For Amber, these images brought to mind the hands of a Heavenly Mother passing Her children down the watery birth canal into the arms of their second mothers. The story reminded Amber that even though she hasn't always remembered her First Mother, She has been right there, like Jochebed, nourishing Amber, and all of us with Her milk.
In the same way that this small story gives us a wide view into the heart and nature of the feminine divine, so too do the stories of many other scriptural women.
So in January of 2018 Amber published an essay entitled "Crowned in Charity and Power" that explored that very idea. Her writing focused on the archetype of the queen as it appears in holy writ and it connected the stories of ancient female sovereigns to the woman we sometimes refer to as the Queen of Heaven. That essay was originally intended to be a series of blogposts. Each entry was short and sweet, and consequently Amber left out pages and pages of additional research in the final piece.
When Anna found "Crowned in Charity and Power" online she reached out to Amber again. Since that time the two of them (and many talented helpers, models, and artists) have slowly rendered images depicting these queens. The work is very collaborative. Amber's research informs the shoots, and Anna's photos—and the entire creative process—deepen and change the writing.
And so with Woman, Crowned we are genuinely grateful to offer you a work that builds on "Crowned in Charity and Power." There will be more writing, more research, and a collection of striking images to help tell the stories of Esther, Vashti, Bathsheba, Deborah, the Queen of Sheba, Queen Lamoni, Asenath, the Daughters of Onitah, and the Woman with the Crown of 12 Stars. Within the book you can also expect to find many symbols associated with the divine feminine, and simple and clear prose that will connect you to many of the rich traditions surrounding our Heavenly Mother, if only you know where to look.
Thank you so much for supporting our little sapling as it grows. We hope that as Woman, Crowned becomes a tree that it will bear commensurate fruit for you, to whatever degree you choose to engage with it. Please contact us with any questions!
- To print books: $10,000
- Non-refundable shoot costs: $2,500
- Production: $3,000 (photography, labor, models, etc.)
- Book Design + Editing: $2,000
- Kickstarter and Amazon take 8-10%
- Total: $20,000
Amber Richardson is a storyteller with credits in many mediums including a YouTube series, a podcast, performances at storytelling festivals, and publications both online and in print. The common thread running through her creative work is a desire to expand the female experience within a spiritual context. You can connect with her on Instagram @richardson.amb.
Anna Killian is a photographer and stylist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her work ranges from editorial print to film to fine art projects such as Her. See her work on Instagram @annamkillian or at her website, annamkillian.com.
We'd like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped us so far with this project. Thank you to our models Katie Jarvis, Sili Lautaha, Nia Dutro, Laura Garcia-Runyan Schnell, Rachel Brockbank, and Mae Warner who have each lent so much beauty and heart to our work. We're grateful to our makeup artist Rebecca Davis and videographer Camlyn Giddins. Thank you for being the extra set of hands we've desperately needed!
And we'd be remiss not to mention how thankful we are to Ken Card, Doneen and Alan Larson, and Raquel Callis for providing us with shooting locations and doves, bees, and Joey to include in our book. Lastly, we'd like to thank Matthew Chadbourne for designing our logo, and Rosie Card at Q.Noor Temple Dress for her unyielding support throughout this process!
*If you live internationally and would like to pledge we are happy to open up that option for you! Just message us with where you live so we can figure out shipping, and we will add an option for you to get the book!*
*Let us know if you'd like us to put together a custom reward for you! We're happy to accommodate your order. Just message us with the package or combination you'd like and we can add it!*
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we've faced with this project so far is the timeline. It took us a full calendar year to finish our first five shoots! Turns out it is quite time consuming to find the right models and dresses for each queen, especially because we have chosen to shoot each one in a monochromatic color scheme. Considering that we still have to finalize five more shoots, the manuscript content and design, and publication we anticipate that it will take another full calendar year for us to distribute the book. And so we ask for your backing, and your patience!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)