Search Results for: breastless beauties

The Breastless Beauties

Breastless Beauty 1

You will soon find a sales gallery of what I am calling ‘Breastless Beauties’ on my website. I am very excited about this work as it integrates my advocacy work for body positivity and flat reconstruction due to breast cancer with my artistic, multicolor printing endeavors. I have not previously printed so many pieces in a single go, nor have I worked to bring so many pieces up to a salable point as a group. 

The Breastless Beauties are based on my 2007 Quilt National entry, Repose. Seen here:

Repose

I would like to tell the story of sharing one of the Beauties to a flat related peer support group of mine. The Beauty I showed them was what we fondly call in the breast cancer community, a uniboober, (or a single breasted woman). The first response I got after showing the piece was, ‘Wow. I never thought I would see my body in a piece of art!’

And I must say, I was touched beyond measure to hear this.

Throughout the last few years, I have worked to create visual representation within the media for the bilaterally flat chested women like myself. I have done this because I understand  the importance of having our bodies reflected back to us, and for those images to be positive, strong, fully embodied and filled with hope. Beauty is not the end all in life, but when we are forced to make bodily changes due to cancer diagnosis, self esteem can take a big hit. Seeing our changed bodies in the media and on the wall, reflecting our new reality, serves to heal the soul. 

IMG_3685

For the most part (there are still a few projects that will be released), I feel I have done enough breast cancer advocacy work. It is time for me to step away from the public eye and back into my artistic endeavors. Printing and stitching the Breastless Beauties has been a great segue in this respect.  I hope you will follow me in this more artistic form of visual representation.


 

craftnapa-color1

I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

Uniboober Beauty, Breastless Beauty 1

UBBB1

Today I stitch a Uniboober Beauty, Breastless Beauty 1.

The Uniboobers are the ‘hardest’ Beauty to print. They aren’t actually difficult to print, it is just that… they are a combination of two printings, a Breastless Beauty is printed along side a Breasted Beauty, and the organza layer from each is switched with the other.

The hard part is keeping the layers together during steaming and washing! And not even that part is hard (!), it is just that it requires memory and I often loose that during the wash out process and end up making either a Breastless or a Breasted Beauty instead! 

Anyway. My favorite of all the Beauties is the Unibohbber Beauty for several reasons.  1. I feel women who choose unilateral mastectomy are the bravest of us all. For me, this choice would require that I wear prosthesis, because symmetry and ease of finding clothing that fits is essential to me. Knowing I did not want to engage with this, has made me open my heart to those of us who have chosen this option. 2. I so often forget to match the organza to the printed cotton layer after the wash out, that the Uniboober Beauties are a rarity. 🙂

I particularly like this Beauty because the organza falls upon the cotton in such a way that the dark area is crisp and stark. In the video below, you can see how the layers shift and can change the look of the piece. I think this is just plain magical.

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on


 

craftnapa-color1

I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

#breastlessbeauty

If you are coming here after watching the Great Big Story piece about me, welcome.

Check out the Great Big Story video here.

 I am an artist and an activist for Flat Re/Construction due to breast cancer treatment. Going flat, not wearing breast forms, is a beautiful and vibrant option, one option among many-due to breast cancer diagnosis. Some women relate to and need reconstruction, some do not. All of us could benefit by investing in body positivity, love and respect for the one-beautiful-body you own.

Welcome to my blog and web site.

BB1v2

I am working to bring 30 hand printed Breastless Beauties up to completion and hope to sell them directly from a gallery page, here on my site. I will be making a donation from the proceeds of the sales to a well researched breast cancer group, I will let you know the specifics soon.

The Beauty pictured above os Breastless Beauty 1, which you will see, by comparing the gallery image to the above image, has been stitched upon and appears different than the original. It is my hope that you might follow along, by reading posts here on the blog, as I finish hand stitching each of the Beauties in the gallery!

They are coming along quite nicely, I hope you agree.

If you would like to follow along and read some of the articles I have contributed to over the last year, please do. Huffington Post invited me to pose for an article called 24 Women Bare their Scars to Reveal the Beauty in Imperfections. Women’s Health magazine invited me to contribute to 4 Women Show the Reality of their Mastectomies in Stunning Photos. I participated in a Play Out underwear photoshoot with the essay called, Shirts Off, Underwear On: Play Out, Breast Cancer and Gender Expectations. And I participated in Grace, debuting that photos release with this essay called, The Grace to be Flat & Fabulous. I also participated in Jamie Courville‘s audio portrait called Squirrel Stories. I keep a Pinterest board specific to flat sightings across the web!

I would very much like for you to use the hashtag #breastlessbeauty. If you are a flattie, a uniboober, if you wear prosthesis or not, tag yourself with #breastlessbeauty. That way, we can find one another!

 

Base Layer!

image

This is a sample for my upcoming online class called Stitch Journal, which I will present through my teaching site, The Clever Guild. In this class, we will create a stitch-able sample, using the techniques you see here, reverse machine appliqué, fusing, raw edge hand appliqué and Mistyfuse and more. And then, we will hand stitch and embroider it.

It feels great to get into teaching again. I hope my efforts are well received, and that you are interested in working with me.

I have been working and reworking this hand drawn nude for years. You may remember Repose, which won entry into Quilt National ’07, and if you poke around my quilt portfolio (I will update it. Soon) you will see a few more small work interpretations, like Repose in Blue. Recently, I recreated this image as Breastless Beauties, to honor those of us who have had breast cancer and body altering surgeries.

Little did I know when I originally drew this image that it would become a seminal work and a series to boot. I am well versed in this drawings needs, I know where the curves need to be just right, I know which lines are essential and which can be covered or altered. It is nice to know a drawing in this manner.


Abrupt change of topic:

image

Please, go straight to Pinch of Yum and make this, ‘Life changing 30 Minute Masala Sauce’ Make an entire batch and dispense the paste to an ice cube tray, 3 frozen cubes works for a family meal, 1 cube makes a nice fry-up for one! It really is life changing. And versatile.

 

 

Craft NAPA 2016, soy wax, embroidery, small works!

We are blog hopping, and I certainly hope that you might jump over to every name on our hopping list and comment (list is at the bottom of this post). There are great prizes in store if you do, but you must comment! And! I am hoping you might consider registering at Craft NAPA and take one of my classes, or a class from another fantastic teacher in our ranks.

Soy1

You Can’t Resist This! is a class that uses soy wax as a resist along with paint on cloth for an easily accessible way to build layers of color, texture and line. Soy wax is a champion in the resist department. It is super easy to use, easy to clean up, and it creates gorgeous cloth with depth, beauty and vibrancy. 

Soy2

In fact, I find soy wax resist, and building layers of color and texture to be addictive, like eating potato chips. And it is a good thing, because I have begun making quilts out of my fabrics, you can see one here. Being able to both make pleasing cloth and use it, is instrumental to making more cloth!!

Small Works

Small Works, Big Impact is a one of my most favorite classes to teach. Working small has had a huge impact  😉 on me as an artist. Working small can help you create larger works, if that is your goal, but they are also easy to complete, they sell well, as most folk have a small wall available to hang a well chosen small work, and I think it is also a great way to learn new techniques. Working small also lends itself well to working in series.

Small2

The techniques we will use in this class include using tulle and sheer cloth overlay, fusible webbing and collage, in addition to finishing techniques. And remember, small works do not limit the possible subject matter to explore! Check out my gallery and Breastless Beauties pages to see more small works.

I have been creating and updating a pattern for what I am calling the 'Gather your Sew-plies!!' sewing chateliane (which is free on my blog). In this purse in particular I used the 15 Minutes Play idea, my idea was to use new materials (wool batting, fabrics new to me, and embroidery stitching). It worked, this is not a purse or flow of fabrics that I would have used had I not played with this idea. melanietesta.com/tag/gather-your-sew-plies/

The Gather Your Sew-plies!! purse is a great sew-on-the-go item for the studio as well as the coffee shop. The purse has a back pack styling that remains close to your body, while carrying the essentials, needles, thread, thimble, pins, scissors and embroidery floss. The purse pattern will be supplied, and we will focus on using embroidery as a means to Journal with Fabric and Embroidery

Gather2

The purse I show here uses stitch to enliven a fantastic commercial fabric. If you would like to see more purses, click here and scroll downward.

I would love to teach and work from you. I very much look forward to meeting up, enjoying Napa, making new friends and enjoying old friends too. I do hope you will register!


Here is a shout out to the wonderful CRAFT NAPA sponsors, BERNINA and Meissner Sewing and Vacuum Centers

BERNINA Made to Create Right

 

meissner-logo-2x

PLEASE comment on this post if you want to win great prizes. All comments go into one big grand prize drawing that will happen after Pokey’s blog post.

Comments close on Dec 10th. 

The grand prize is a $500 Gift Certificate from eQuilter.com! 

I will award one commenter on this blog with a copy of Dreaming from the Journal Page. So, please, comment. Also!! Check out all the blogs listed below and comment freely.


Nov 30- Jane LaFazio – http://janeville.blogspot.com/

Dec 1 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/

Dec 2 – Judy Coates Perez – http://www.judycoatesperez.com/

Dec 3 – Jenny K. Lyon – http://quiltskipper.com/blog/

Dec 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/

Dec 5 – Melanie Testa – http://melanietesta.com/blog/ (Here you are!)

Dec 6 – Elizabeth St. Hilaire – http://www.paperpaintings.com/

Dec 7– Leslie Jenison – http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/

Dec 8- Carrie Bloomston – http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Dec 9 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Dec 10 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/

Printing we will go

IMG_4008

I have been happily printing, because I am on a quilt top mission!! Each year I attend a pretty awesome retreat with great friends. The next one will occur next weekend. The cloth you see above was printed using dye left over from printing the Breastless Beauties. And, although these printed fabrics are quite pretty, the color is not as sharp or boisterous as I would like to see. I am happy to use up as much dye as possible though!!

This morning I mixed new dyes.  😀 HAHA!

IMG_4009

Do you want to know how very exciting it is to print your own cloth and use it in a quilt top? REALLY freaking exciting.

I mean. Right at this moment, there is a completed quilt, using my hand printed cloth folded neatly and resting over the back of my couch. On a very regular basis, I pet and fondle that quilt and admire my handy work. I feel blessed to be able to do this work.

IMG_4011

The prints I am sharing with you today were made using wood block stamps bought from Coloricious. First, I stamped each image onto paper, scanned these into Photoshop, created a repeat, then for the Peacock image anyway, a background was created.

I burned a Thermofax screen with the images. This, not the wood block stamp, is what I am using to print the cloth you see here. Of course I am printing with my beloved Procion MX dyes on cotton, which is just gorgeous and cannot be compared to any other media.

I bought these stamps perhaps two years ago at Quilt Festival. I like the stamps a bunch, but until now they have been a decoration. I love -using- the stamps, and better still, I really like the cloth I am printing. It makes me daydream about how I might piece and create a satisfying quilt top! Great big sigh. I love this. 


 

craftnapa-color1

I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

One stitch and one day at a time.

I am happy to say, I have found my creative verve again. This year has been a challenge for me artistically. One where I totally lost my ability to create for a few months. This is not normal for me. Usually, when I become blocked and find myself unable to create, I will stop using the media I am focused on and start using a different media all together. This year, this did not work, at all. Instead, I stopped seriously making anything for a few months and did other work. 

BBprogress

I did many things to try and lift the block. I Gathered my Sew-plies!! and sewed around the city, I made a quilt after printing all the fabric for the top, I posed for breast cancer awareness articles, and traveled to Germany for an exciting photoshooting. I know it sounds like I was super engaged creatively. And I was.

But what really gets up my gander is challenging myself to try new things. Like printing a series, which I have never done before. And while working with the same image multiples of time might sound boring, I don’t find it that way at all! Actually, quite the opposite. With each printing, I see differences in print quality, different color combinations, with each stitch I see the work individuate from its fellows. I guess sometimes, creative blocks really just need time. 

BB9Detail600

I have just uploaded and completed 5 of the embroidered Breastless Beauties. Breastless Beauty 5, Breastless Beauty 6, Breastless Beauty 9, Breastless Beauty 10, Breastless Beauty 11. I hope you might like one! 


 

craftnapa-color1

I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

TV taping and Gathering your Sew-plies!!

 

Check out the blog post related to this video: http://melanietesta.com/2015/10/tv-taping-and-gathering-your-sew-plies/

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on

This week, I found myself in the unique position of needing to Gather my Sew-plies!! on the quick! I was asked to tape a video segment for a major media outlet. The original idea was that they would come to my home and film me while I was printing the Breastless Beauties. But at the last minute, they had a change of plans. (I was excited that they would come film me printing!!! Their loss. Haha!!)

IMG_3651-1

So, 15 minutes before needing to leave to get to the meet up spot, I grabbed a Gather your Sew-plies purse, some thread and all of the printed Beauties I had made so far. Wow!! Talk about thinking quick on your feet! Talk about needing your supplies at a moments notice!!!

IMG_3649-1

It is strange, I can’t really talk about this project yet, but I can share vaguely.

So…

To be honest? I feel blessed to be able to have done this video shoot!! It seems I have made waves this year. My perspective and the narrative I am speaking to; body positivity in the face of breast cancer diagnosis and its treatment, or even more broadly, loving your body no matter if you had a cancer diagnosis, is being considered, discussion is occurring.

What more could an artist wish for in her lifetime?

Wear them close.

So, what do I carry in a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse? Embroidery/thread snips, thimble, thread, a hank of hand dyed embroidery flosses, needles and a few pins. That is all. The purse has a backpack styling, fits snuggly against the body. Does not swing or make its presence known, as you work about in the studio or wherever you may be. I have been known to wear them on the subway, it is a great sewing in transit purse! 

I will be teaching at Craft Napa January 7-9 2016 There is a stitch class where we will begin making a Gather your Sew-plies purse. I hope you will join me! I would love to work with you. Throw knowledge nuggets, share laughter and have fun with you. I need a teaching retreat and I am ready to teach again! Please join us.

craftnapa-color1

 

I will be teaching You can’t resist this, a soy wax class.

Small Works, Big Impact

and the Stitch Journaling class where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse. PLEASE Join US!

Melly

More updates to come!