About Us

Southern Appalachian Women, otherwise known as “SAW,” is a nonprofit organization aspiring to obtain 501(c)3 status, based in Western North Carolina. Composed of an innovative collective of women, we employ our artistic abilities to delve into the profound culture and history of women from the Southern Appalachians. Our work is facilitated by the integration of our individual creative skills, including, but not limited to, photography, costume design, and professional hair and makeup artistry. We aspire to fuse Appalachian and Women’s Studies to create a compelling, immersive art experience that uncovers lesser-known narratives.

She Walks These Hills Ballad Image-Sabrina L Greene Photography

About Us

Southern Appalachian Women, otherwise known as “SAW,” is a nonprofit organization aspiring to obtain 501(c)3 status, based in Western North Carolina. Composed of an innovative collective of women, we employ our artistic abilities to delve into the profound culture and history of women from the Southern Appalachians. Our work is facilitated by the integration of our individual creative skills, including, but not limited to, photography, costume design, and professional hair and makeup artistry. We aspire to fuse Appalachian and Women’s Studies to create a compelling, immersive art experience that uncovers lesser-known narratives.

Southern Appalachian Deer

Our Mission

The Southern Appalachian Women’s (SAW) mission is to honor, preserve, and share women’s stories from the Southern Appalachian region through creative interdisciplinary methods, promoting education and celebrating their enduring legacy.

About Us

Southern Appalachian Women, otherwise known as “SAW,” is a nonprofit organization aspiring to obtain 501(c)3 status, based in Western North Carolina. Composed of an innovative collective of women, we employ our artistic abilities to delve into the profound culture and history of women from the Southern Appalachians. Our work is facilitated by the integration of our individual creative skills, including, but not limited to, photography, costume design, and professional hair and makeup artistry. We aspire to fuse Appalachian and Women’s Studies to create a compelling, immersive art experience that uncovers lesser-known narratives.

Our Mission

Southern Appalachian Women, otherwise known as “SAW,” is a nonprofit organization aspiring to obtain 501(c)3 status, based in Western North Carolina. Composed of an innovative collective of women, we employ our artistic abilities to delve into the profound culture and history of women from the Southern Appalachians. Our work is facilitated by the integration of our individual creative skills, including, but not limited to, photography, costume design, and professional hair and makeup artistry. We aspire to fuse Appalachian and Women’s Studies to create a compelling, immersive art experience that uncovers lesser-known narratives.

Our Process

In weaving together the fields of Appalachian and Women’s Studies, we embark on a thoughtful exploration of the intriguing women we unearth and their regional impact. For example, a character like Lydia from Wilma Dykeman’s novel, “The Tall Woman,” may inspire us to launch a research-backed photoshoot crafted around her life. Yet, our exploration extends far beyond mere artistic representation; we plunge into the depths of the historical backdrop, seeking to understand the realities of a woman in her time. What music would have resonated with her? What might she have worn? What daily hurdles did she face? What momentous events left an indelible mark on her and her loved ones?

 

Alternatively, we may find our muse in a rediscovered ballad or a historical figure, utilizing these sources as springboards to delve into varying disciplines. Our work represents an immersive odyssey into the past and its cultural nuances, fueled by artistic creativity and meticulous research.

 

The culmination of our endeavors is a photograph, a vibrant snapshot encapsulating the essence of our in-depth exploration. The image serves as a catalyst for initiating dialogues about the pivotal roles women have played and continue to play in society.

Our Process

In weaving together the fields of Appalachian and Women’s Studies, we embark on a thoughtful exploration of the intriguing women we unearth and their regional impact. For example, a character like Lydia from Wilma Dykeman’s novel, “The Tall Woman,” may inspire us to launch a research-backed photoshoot crafted around her life. Yet, our exploration extends far beyond mere artistic representation; we plunge into the depths of the historical backdrop, seeking to understand the realities of a woman in her time. What music would have resonated with her? What might she have worn? What daily hurdles did she face? What momentous events left an indelible mark on her and her loved ones?

 

Alternatively, we may find our muse in a rediscovered ballad or a historical figure, utilizing these sources as springboards to delve into varying disciplines. Our work represents an immersive odyssey into the past and its cultural nuances, fueled by artistic creativity and meticulous research.

 

The culmination of our endeavors is a photograph, a vibrant snapshot encapsulating the essence of our in-depth exploration. The image serves as a catalyst for initiating dialogues about the pivotal roles women have played and continue to play in society.

The Women Behind SAW

Meet The Creatives

The Women Behind SAW

Meet The Creatives

Sabrina L Greene-Rusk

Sabrina L. Greene-Rusk

Sabrina, a Waynesville, NC native, is a dedicated researcher and a skilled professional photographer. With an English degree from Mars Hill University, she has honed her focus on Appalachian and Women’s Studies, also her minors. Her early introduction to regional literature – which began with her encounter with the Liston B. Ramsey Center at just 17 – has always kindled her imagination, leading to her envisioning unique photoshoots. Having assisted in digitizing images from the archives, and fueled by her relentless love for reading, Sabrina is captivated by the process of creating photographs that beautifully illustrate the history and culture of her home region.

Sabrina L Greene-Rusk

Sabrina L. Greene-Rusk

Sabrina, a Waynesville, NC native, is a dedicated researcher and a skilled professional photographer. With an English degree from Mars Hill University, she has honed her focus on Appalachian and Women’s Studies, also her minors. Her early introduction to regional literature – which began with her encounter with the Liston B. Ramsey Center at just 17 – has always kindled her imagination, leading to her envisioning unique photoshoots. Having assisted in digitizing images from the archives, and fueled by her relentless love for reading, Sabrina is captivated by the process of creating photographs that beautifully illustrate the history and culture of her home region.

Sybil Todd of White Knight Entertainment Company

Sybil Todd

Sybil Todd, residing in Anderson, SC, is a respected costume and fashion designer with a deep-seated passion for pop culture, historical themes, and fantastical worlds. This love extends into her personal life where she’s an avid reader, often drawing inspiration from the pages of her latest read. Her academic background includes an interest in Anthropology, further influencing her diverse and culturally rich designs. Sybil is known for her creative use of unique and frequently upcycled materials, generating awe-inspiring pieces.

In addition to her design work, Sybil is the proud owner of White Knight Cosplay and White Knight Entertainment, further establishing her presence in the creative industry. Her affinity for collaboration is evident as she enjoys joining forces with other artists and creators to actualize shared visions.

Her exceptional work has graced the pages of prestigious publications such as Mob and Enchanted Living, and she recently earned the coveted Best in Show award at the esteemed Color Me Goodwill fashion show. Sybil Todd is a creative force, seamlessly blending her varied passions to create a truly unique design narrative.

Sybil is one of two lead designers for Southern Appalachian Women along with Amanda Tweed. 

Sheri Gaffney

Sheri, hailing from Fletcher, NC, is the proud owner of Fab Flawless Hair and Makeup Artistry, based in Asheville, NC. Fueled by her dedication to boosting women’s self-esteem and highlighting their inherent beauty, Sheri provides exceptional beauty services. As a licensed esthetician, her portfolio boasts commendable work on renowned films like The Last of the Mohicans and Dirty Dancing. Sheri and her skilled team have also seen their work grace the pages of various magazines and fashion shows, ranging from the glamorous runways across the country to innovative local events such as Color Me Goodwill.

Amanda "Mandy" Tweed of Mountain Flower Fantasies

Amanda Tweed

Popularly referred to as “Mandy,” she resides in the scenic town of Mars Hill, NC. An ethereal costume designer with an artist’s touch, Mandy crafts custom-made ensembles infused with fantasy elements that seem to spring from the pages of a fairy tale. Operating under her signature brand, Mountain Flower Fantasies, she’s not just a member but a vibrant core of the SAW team. Together with Sybil, they form the creative backbone as principal designers for Southern Appalachian Women. Her muse? The breathtaking landscapes of Appalachia. With a keen eye, she channels the essence of local flora, fauna, and the verdant woods that cradle the region’s undulating hillsides. Beyond her local acclaim, her work has been recognized and showcased in several prestigious magazines, with a standout feature in Enchanted Living this past spring. Mandy’s commitment to her craft and her deep-rooted love for the region ensures that every piece she creates is a true testament to the beauty and mystique of the Appalachians.

Morgan Ferguson of Redz Salon

Morgan Ferguson

Born and raised in Mars Hill, Morgan is the proud owner of Redz Salon in Weaverville, NC. Additionally, she works in conjunction with Sheri at Fab Flawless, contributing her skills as a professional hair designer under a contract basis. Her Southern Appalachian roots are deeply entrenched in Madison County, and she has spent her entire life enjoying the process of helping others feel better about themselves.

 

Engaging with the SAW team has provided Morgan with a novel platform to channel her creativity and honor her cultural roots. A mother to five children, she feels privileged to demonstrate their ancestry to them through her work.

 

Through her engagement with various team projects, Morgan has been struck by the speed of cultural transformation. Therefore, she uses her work as a grounding pillar, and as a means to expose her children to the beauty and values of the past.

Heather Dubay

Heather Dubay

Heather Dubay, who resides in Anderson, SC, is a fervent enthusiast of stories. She relishes in the worlds of fantasy and fairies, cherishing the allure of a captivating book that lures you into the early hours. Deeply moved by the needs of women and children, she has devoted her life to their nurture and care. Her professional journey includes being a pediatric occupational therapist, and she presently serves as a certified Revelation Wellness instructor, empowering women to embrace healthy, free lives through physical, spiritual, and mental wellness practices. Additionally, Heather is a founding member of Your Friendly Neighborhood Superheroes, she enlivens multiple characters as part of White Knight Entertainment, and has been substantially engaged in children’s community theatre. Her dedication to the arts has seen her volunteering, acting, and producing a range of shows at the Clemson Little Theatre. Heather is thrilled to be collaborating with a talented ensemble of women to pay homage to the struggles, strength, and enduring legacies of Appalachian women.