Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Breast Pockets for Melanie

Wallowing in ones condition isn't conducive to healing, of that I am certain! When Melanie sent out a call for 1000 breast pockets I took on the challenge; a much needed one. The five pockets might have grown to a stack of at least 10, but a round of chemo a week ago had it's say and that's that. I'm learning to listen to my body.

The first person in our family to have breast cancer was my Aunt Gladys. For the last eight years she's had a clean bill of health. But even after radiation had been successful eight years ago that doesn't necessarily mean that can be counted on;  just this last year she had recurrence followed by two unsuccessful surgeries. At 89 she's made the decision to end the battle and just live day to day until it's her time. What grace! (the cancer is non-aggressive)
    My aunt's humor is so similar to that of my dad's that often when I'm talking to her it's as if I'm having a conversation with my dad who passed away 12 years ago.
   One of my aunt's favorite colors is pink and another one is golden yellow. This hand-dyed piece of fabric honors my aunt for all she's been to me and her family. A loving and caring aunt!

Nellie, of Nellie's needles, and I have been cyber friends for quite some time. We'd been out of touch for awhile until a post on FB appeared letting readers know she was doing okay after a double mastectomy. Huh? Stunned, I reread the post a number of times. I was having my own cancer event and so was someone I knew. We reconnected and now have more in common than our art. 
     I've been a huge fan of Nellie's art since I discovered her through a mutual cyber friend. Cyber friends are the best!
    The above pocket is a hand-dyed piece that shares a color combo of many of the spectacular sunsets that Nellie often shares on her blog and FB page. 

The hand-dyed fabric below also honors Nellie who is known for her use of creative embellishments in her work, thus, two copper verdigris hearts.

Mom's pocket. Last year mom had her own breast cancer event, but being that she's so deep into Alzheimer's she's never been aware of it. I continue to take care of her and am amazed at how foreign her body is to her. Where there used to be arthritis and back pain and might have been pain from a mastectomy she seems to longer  respond to pain. Alzheimer's is more than memory loss.
Mom loved denim jeans and jackets and at 87 she still looks great in them. This hand-dyed stitched piece is for mom whose strength I daily feel as I continue on my journey.
I has assumed my journey was full enough with losses and challenges but it wasn't until last April when I was faced with the largest one yet that I wondered if I had what it takes to deal with the entire package that comes with breast cancer treatment. I'm still discovering if I'm up to the challenge. But so far I've come through a mastectomy and 4 rounds of chemo better than I expected. I look forward to the day when I can say, "I'm doing great," rather than, "hanging in there."

    And so this last breast pocket is for me. A little unbalanced perhaps, but that's where
 I'm presently at.

Kudos to Melanie Testa!

Quote: what strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life? Michel Foucault


Penny said...

Fantastic pockets. What a family history. Glad you are holding in there.

Julie said...

A powerful post Gail and quite poignant. You are right about Alzheimers changing the person's response to pain. I have noticed it in my mum who is suffering from dementia and we saw it in my DH's mother. My mum used to suffer with anxiety and would faint if she heard a loud noise but that is all now forgotten. Joint pain that existed before has gone. (Sorry I've gone off the point of this post). I saw Melanie's call for pockets and it is fantastic that so many are joining in. I hope she gets the publicity and recognition she is striving for. I too look forward to the day you can say 'I'm doing great'. Maybe it won't be long now.

ART*ticulation said...

What a great project and I love what you wrote about your family and friend. The pockets are magical.
Thanks for sharing!!

Nellie's Needles said...

Gail, your pockets are fabulous ... I'm honored you made two for me. Your sentiments behind all of them are touching. I'm glad we found each other ... though not the suffering of fibromyalgia and now this rugged journey with cancer that we share. ((((BIG hugs))))

hw (hallie) farber said...

Gail, what wonderful pieces of art--so much feeling in each one. My mother also did not seem to be in pain at the end except for the blood pressure checks--I believe she thought someone was trying to hurt or restrain her.

I think life is art in many ways, sometimes messy and we're undecided about the next step. We keep plugging away, though--reworking until we like it.

deb said...

A powerful post indeed! Love your pockets, especially the one you made for yourself.

Marilyn said...

These are all beautiful and unique. Gail, my friend, you have had more than your share. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Sherry said...

I love them all, but I especially love the one to you -- "a little unbalanced". Here is to you, to the day you can say you feel great and not just hanging in there!