Sam McWilliams is an Intrepid Cliff Jumper

Sam is an artist from San Francisco, CA who lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada with her wife Paige. She has been a tattoo artist for 18 years, and during the COVID-19 lockdown, she became a botanical drawing teacher, as well.

In her own words:

I first realized I was a feminist when I was a very young girl playing soccer, and adults kept telling me I should be less competitive and not play so hard and not try to win.

Sam and her spectacular Swoop, pre-pandemic (L) and mid-pandemic (R).
“Little Weirdo” lemon, by Sam
“My friend Judith took this photo of me in the golden last hour of the daylight. I was watching a short eared owl trying to buzz an eagle off a log it was stoically perched on. I was saying ‘Wow,’ over and over and over.”
Tattoo sleeve by Sam: Diana the Archer
Tattoos by Sam: Cinchona Officinalis, The Library (in progress), California Poppies & Henna
LaDonna’s tattoos by Sam: Medusa the Victorious and Illinois Violets
Sam, wearing a scarf she made after learning how to weave.
Tattoos by Sam: Vancouver, BC, and “Sky and ocean and mountains without end”
More tattoos by Sam
Sam’s drawing of a lilikoi or passionfruit
Sam’s botanical drawings of a peach and an avocado
“Here’s Dad and I: Team Nellie and Young Butch”

Headline History

The titles for the VOICES Series come from Exercise #2 in the Permission to Speak Workbook. The exercise, “You have more power than you know,” encourages participants to choose a title from a list that is offered, or — if none of those titles feels right — to make up one of their own.

Reader. Writer. Hangnail biter. @wordsbyladonna