© Another Day in the Country
I’m not sure that breasts are a topic up for discussion in this portion of The Marion Record, but I’m going to give it a try. Recently I was invited to join a “breast awareness” project to assist the fight against breast cancer. It was called “Blinged Up Bra Contest.”
Artist friends of mine had each done one. My friend Phyllis said, “You’ve just got to see what we’ve been working on in the Studio.”
My sister was in front of me and immediately she dissolved into peals of laughter. “Oh, how neat!” she cried. “This is wonderful.” And there, right before my wondering eyes, was the most beautiful bra I’d ever seen done up like a “Winner’s Trophy,” in black and white checks with hot pink trim and a miniature silver trophy cup in the center of the bra.
Beside it hung a number made by Michaela called “Chicken Breasts.” It was covered with exotic feathers and jewels with a chicken head on each cup. “You have to understand,” said the artist, “but in Austria (her home country) if we were small breasted women we were deemed ‘chicken breasts’ so this has double meaning for me.”
“How about you and Jess doing one?” coaxed my friends, “we have an extra bra!” Well, all the way home from Lindsborgh, my sister and I talked about breasts: what they were called, their social standing, how they were in peril, how they were healed, the nick-names applied all the double meanings (derogatory or just plain funny). By the time we got back to Ramona we had a pretty good idea of where to start.
I had a tiny little chess set that was designed for playing in a car. I’d never used it, I don’t even play chess, and since TTT is gone, don’t know anyone who does. So, I decided to turn that ‘extra’ bra into a chess board, with all of political and social ramifications (including “It’s Your Move.”) and call it “Chest Board”, complete with new rules for playing the game.
We had another idea for making a bra made from a map and calling “Breasts are Such a Trip” with the roads looking like veins and little road signs (“Curves Ahead” or “Divided Highway”) and tiny cars driving along the scenic view. (One little car sports the slogan “California or BUST!” as it heads for S.F.) In fact, I made the bra out of a map of the state of California and one from Kansas — the new Scenic Byways Map was absolutely perfect. There was so much exotic, sensuous writing on the side bars of the map extolling the virtues of the view of Kansas landscape that I just clipped out the phrases and included them on the display hanger for the bra. It’s a hoot.
My sister actually wrote a poem about her childhood prayer for breasts when she was 7 years old. It’s such a beautiful piece that we mounted the poem and the bra she decorated with photographs and pearls on an art canvass for display. Lovely!
Yesterday we took our blinged up bras over to the Lindsborgh Community Hospital and paid our entrance fee. We got a sneak peak at some of the entries coming in — absolutely delightful. We saw a bra completely covered with candy, made by a breast cancer survivor, entitled “Mammograms are Sweet.” Another bra was covered with bubble-gum wrappers entitled “The Big Bazookas.” One submission had a hunting theme, called “Nice Rack!” Another bra was covered with eyes and the title “My Eyes are Up Here!” The creativity was astounding. What a clever way to make breast health awareness a subject for discussion on another day in the country!