It’s amazing how many cultural stories still persist — like the shame that accompanies being female, older and single, an idea reinforced by the classic children’s game Old Maid. If your memory is fuzzy: It’s a matching card game, in which the Old Maid card — usually depicting a grim and never-attractive older woman — has no mate.
Thankfully, Jane Burns had the clarity to not only question this game and its negative connotations about women, but to do something about it. To that end, this 56-year-old illustrator from Bellingham, WA, created BOLD MAID, a redesigned game in which whomever ends up with the title card wins.
This wasn’t Jane’s first foray into children’s games. A lifelong painter and graphic designer, Jane had previously done two children’s activity books with major publishers. But neither went very far, and eventually, submitting new projects become more work than it was worth. Jane never stopped coming up with new book and game ideas, though.
She kept designing them, then simply setting them aside — for years. Eventually, she amassed “a sassy teetering pile” of designs that stared her down while working at her computer on other projects. “I can hear the projects jostling for position round about 4pm every day — just enough rustling to get me to at least say hello now and then,” Jane says. “Last spring, I slipped BOLD MAID off the pile — or maybe she jumped, I'm not sure!”
Jane put the project on Kickstarter, where it was featured as their project of the week. She’d posted a goal of $5,000, but within a few days $6,000 more came flooding in, and she ended up with more than $11,500 total. Now, she’s sold 500 decks of the cards (for $20 each) and has ordered a printing of 500 more. “It’s amazing. I’m sending decks all over the world!” she says.