Jazzy Paper Dolls! (Make Art that Sells BootCamp 2016)

Recently, I joined the Lilla Rogers, Make Art That Sells, MATS Bootcamp 2016. This is a self directed 6 month class with deadlines, design ideas, many dedicated participants and lots of fun. (For the next 48 hours, you too can sign up for the class, if you would like to join in the fun). Please do!! I am having so much fun, it would be great to have fun with you too.

image

This month, we were asked to draw faces with 1920’s hairstyles, which then turned into designing a coloring book cover using these drawings. The above is my contribution. You may not know that we moved one floor up this month. I signed up for this class and then quickly got busy moving. I was fearful that I would not be able to complete the assignment in time, but yesterday, I did it!

image

I waited with bated breath to see my entry among my very talented peers. I find it interesting that I have little or no training in computer aided design. I sometimes wish I did, though I must say, I love designing and drawing, coloring and working by hand. My entry is hand drawn and colored.

I also find it interesting that I do not have training in graphic design. As I look through the other entries, I am learning much about designing, placing text, drawing the eye to ‘connect the dots’ of design.  I am unsure I will attain computer skills in support of this course, that isn’t my focus in taking the class, but I will keep my eye open and I am excited to be learning!

image

I had to place a Uniboober Beauty in the mix! I took this opportunity to allude to Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt, often depicted with a bow and arrow, sometimes with a stag, protector of girls, and bringer and reliever of disease. It was fun to design an outfit for this body type. 

Below is a link to a PDF, containing these two coloring book pages. This is my gift to you. I would love if you were to print them out and color them!

AND!! If you feel inspired, design some clothing, with tabs, so we can play dress up with the Uniboober Beauty!! I would love to see what you come up with. Those of us who have different bodies do need clothing options!

Jazzy Paper Dolls by Melly <—- This is the downloadable PDF!

Enjoy!!

Year of YES!

The Avant Gardener

This has been an amazing year. After loosing the book contract I realized my world had become very small. I assessed what I might like out of life. I began looking around and questioning what it could mean to be an artist in NYC. I told myself to start saying yes. I had misgivings, it can be scary to say yes, to do things, to meet new people. 

Having been diagnosed with cancer has allowed me to open a dialog of what it can mean to be female and to be breastless, in a breast obsessed society. It has allowed me to begin talking about body love, confidence, a strong sense of self, and body positivity.

We have just one body in a lifetime. Some of us are diagnosed with a body altering disease, or we get into an accident, fall into gaining too much weight for our own liking, or any number of other particulars. Whatever that is for each of us, we each have a battle to face.

What I have discovered over these last few years, and this year in particular is, it is all OK. This is a reflection of being human, having a body and, hopefully, learning to love it, no matter what.

Who would have thought at the beginning of this year that I would have been asked to travel to Berlin for a fabulous photoshoot with Esther Hasse and Uta Melle or take part in a music video called The Avant Gardener with Lindsay Katt.

Who would have thought that saying, ‘Yes!’, could be so much fun?

I hope you too might say a few, ‘Yes’s!’. Love your body, put down the worry, whoa and anxiety. When asked, try saying yes more often. You never know where it might lead! You too, might get to dress up as a genderless faerie and make a dream come true!

Life is so good!

 

 

#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!

 

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!