15 Sep

Support my bra, please


The second annual Artful Bra Project is underway. Last year I made poi filled calabashes for my entry. This year, it’s the Hawaiian flag. My original idea was to make a “Shaka Bra(h)” and have two “hang loose” hands sort of cupping the cups. I still needed to do something to the cups themselves though, so I added the flag bits and the ribbon lei. As I finished up the basic bra, it was actually looking pretty well done. I made some hands, but they turned out underwhelming, so the bra spoke and remains simply a flag.

So, now my bra needs a name, and it needs some financial support which will benefit breast cancer patients and survivors in Hawai’i. All of the altered bras donated to the Artful Bra Project Hawaii will go on to the Pinktober Benefit Auction at the Hard Rock Cafe on October 23rd to earn a little more. Last year, the bras brought in something like $3000 total.

If you’d like to give your support to breast cancer services in Hawai’i please email me or leave a comment. Thank you for your support.

P.S. Robin suggested “Tutu’s Secret” as a name — referencing the Hawaiian name for grandma and obviously the well known bra retailer. I can’t quite imagine tutu wearing this under her mu’u mu’u, but maybe it’s her secret in the same way Hawaiians are said to have hung their flag quilts under their bed canopies during the time of the Provisional and Territorial governments.

19 Sep


Pun intended.

I’ve been a bad supporter. When I found out about the altered bra project for our local Hawai’i Chapter of the American Cancer Society, I got all excited and made a calabash bra filled with poi and covered in flowers.

Calabash detail

But then I dropped the ball on supporting the cause by finding sponsors for my “cups of life.” I posted about the bra about the same time my site was down for two days, and then my project seemed so insignificant and puny compared to all the IBOL hoopla my hubby had tapped into, so I let it sit unloved.

Now I’ve got one week to gather as much support as I can for my calabashes. Look out neighbors! If any blog readers would also like to sponsor my bra and in doing so donate to the ACS Hawai’i chapter, please leave a comment and we’ll work something out.


24 Aug

Support Your Calabash

Our local chapter of the American Cancer Society is launching a program to raise money specifically for Breast Cancer programs and services here in Hawai’i. Funds raised will go directly to education, support, look & feel better programs, screening, mammograms, a funded research position and more!

Part of the program is an exhibit of altered bras, and here’s my contribution.

  Support your Calabash

It’s titled “Support Your Calabash.”

I’m assuming the word calabash itself was adopted from the portuguese immigrants brought to work the plantations. I do know that it refers to gourds used as bowls to eat out of. Traditionally, family meals were eaten out of shared bowls, and the term “calabash cousins” means people who eat together  — they may not be blood related, but they’re family just the same. The staple food in those bowls is poi. Poi is made from the taro plant which Hawaiian legend says is our brother, born of Father Heaven and Daughter Earth before man. It is the lifeblood of the land and the people.

My bra represents two calabash filled with poi, my metaphor for a woman’s nurturing breasts — the lifeblood of the family. That “melons” (and by association, probably “gourds” and therefore “calabash”) is slang for “breasts” doesn’t hurt.

Calabash detail

In the center of the bra are the plumeria blossoms always associated with the islands, but also with a bit of a dark side. Setting off the plumeria are red lehua flowers for Pele, the goddess of fire, because any woman battling cancer needs a strong presence beside her. Of course, I also had to include a lei. This one represents maile leaves, sacred to Laka the goddess of the hula and worn for celebrations. It’s scent is also associated with ghosts, so I think it (and the plumeria) appropriate for walking the fine line between celebrating life and acknowledging the possibility of death. Twisted in with the maile leaves is a strand of mokihana pods used for their spicy scent since ancient times. I believe both maile and mokihana are also associated with healing. The calabash are “set” on a lauhala mat — the traditional all-purpose mats woven from the leaves of the hala grass. 

Calabash back

Bras will be displayed in a Gallery at Making Strides, an event planned by ACS on Sat. Oct 3, 2009 and will be auctioned off at a charity event in October, 2009.


BTW, if you want to participate, send your size 36C altered bra to Rubber Stamp Plantation by September 15th, or contact me to sponsor my bra!