July 10, 2020

Meaghan Knowlton’s inspiring napkin art for her daughters

Now here’s a story that began with a sweet gesture but holds a lot of promise in ‘being inspiring to our daughters’. If you are looking for lunch time innovations and inspirations then be hopeful that there’s more to it than menu.

Meet Meaghan Elderkin Knowlton, based in United States where she received a lot of social media attention due to the art that she has been practicing and sending to her daughter as an inspiration.

She even hoped for Ms. Hillary Clinton to win and considering it didn’t happen in the elections she brought out a series of inspiring women on napkin art.



“My mother used to draw on my lunch napkins when I was a kid, and once I had children of my own, it never occurred to me NOT to do the same for my daughters. My mother is also a great artist, she sold her designs to greeting card companies but worked full time as a visiting nurse.

I have two daughters, Holden is almost 10, and Elsa will be 3 in January. It’s always been really important to me that my daughters be familiar with as many strong female role models as possible. I took Holden with me to see Malala Yousafzai speak when she came to our state, and immediately afterwards, Holden was thinking of ways to help make the world a better place.

I’ve been drawing on my oldest daughter’s napkins since she was in preschool. If she was having a test, I’d leave her messages saying “good luck” and “I’m proud of you”, along with the drawings. When I started drawing influential women on her napkins with some of their more notable quotes, we were able to have lots of discussions about the women I had drawn. Sometimes she’ll get so excited about them that she will read about them on her own.

malala-silence -Meaghan1

I think regardless of where we live, or what kind of backgrounds we have, role models are extremely important. For girls especially I think, representation matters very much. They need to be able to see examples of women that look like them, and sound like them, accomplishing great things and reminding them that there is no limitations for their success.

My daughter is very used to me drawing on her napkins, since she’s been getting them from me for the past 6 years. I know she appreciates them, but sometimes she tells me that my jokes and puns are pretty terrible 🙂


( Photograph of Meghan’s daughter at the conference.)

She and I were both very surprised at the attention that these latest napkins have received though, it’s been extremely humbling to have been able to encourage girls from all over. And there are an endless supply of amazing women to quote and draw, I will never have a problem finding inspiration!

At the end of the school year last year, my daughter Holden had been secretly saving up the napkins that I had sent with her to school. I hadn’t realized that she was even saving them, much less sharing them with her teachers and friends.

Her teacher helped her collect them in a notebook and she presented it to me as a gift. It was easily the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received. It wasn’t until after she gave me the book that I decided to take pictures of the napkins and share them on social media with our family and friends.

I have lived in Rhode Island for most of my life, and live there now with my husband and two daughters. My grandfather was a very talented artist and was the one who encouraged my art the most. He and I would watch the painter, Bob Ross on television and we would do our own versions along with him on TV. I inherited my grandfather’s artist’s desk, which is where I do all of my artwork now.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, It has always been important to me that my daughters know that they are important and valuable and capable. I think that the election results were very devastating for a lot of women because of the derisive rhetoric that was impossible to escape during the campaigning.

It’s not about being sad that our choice of president lost, or being sore losers, it’s that women all over the country were being told that we weren’t equal. And that is something that I refuse to let my daughters believe.


( Napkin art by Meaghan on Sally Ride, First American Woman Astronaut to fly in space.)

Having had my napkin drawings garner this amount of attention, and this kind of enthusiasm has been amazing. It’s been an honor to be a part of the discussion of female empowerment, and my hope is that we can work towards normalizing female empowerment and equality. In no way, am I trying to devalue men or boys, I just want my daughters to be given equal rights and opportunities.

I always assumed that I’d be drawing on my daughter’s napkins until she left for college, although, I’m not sure how long I have before my notes and drawings start to embarrass her 🙂

I love being a mother, and I am so incredibly grateful that I get to be the mother to two such amazing girls. They are so smart, so funny, and so brave, and I intend to do my best to remind them of that every day.”

We thank this wonderful mum who’s been constantly inspiring her little girls with lovely examples and sharing her story with Mums and stories.

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