Fiber and mixed media artist Melanie Testa has embarked on a conceptual art project which she hopes will raise awareness of real women and their choices about dealing with breast cancer and in particular foregoing reconstruction after surgery. Read more specifics on her blog here.
These are my contribution to the project.
The red one is in honor of my quilt mom Gerrie who is a “half-flattie.” She’s a redheaded free spirit, hence the color and the bird (not to mention her Portland connection so I could “put a bird on it!”). She also loves aspens and the mid century aesthetic, so I’ve tried to convey a bit of that.
While the project is primarily to raise awareness about the option not to reconstruct, I made a pair of pockets in honor of my aunt who did choose reconstruction. They could also be for two of my dad’s girlfriends who chose reconstruction. If I thought about it hard enough, I could probably come up with even more women I know who have been affected by the disease. I think this whole project is for them.
My favorite though is the BDU pocket in honor of my mentor Elaine. I chose the older BDU uniform since that was the style Elaine wore when she served. She chose reconstruction after her double mastectomy. But just as she modeled for me the practical and compassionate way to lead family members in an army unit, she also represents to me all the service members I do not know personally who have battled breast cancer at the same time as they train for and fight our nation’s battles. I suspect that these women reflect women as a whole and have chosen many options from chemical treatment to lumpectomies to mastectomies to reconstruction or not.
If you are interested in contributing to Melanie’s project, please comment directly on her blog. She’d like to collect 1000 pockets by October 22nd.