Beauty and the Breast Redux

The title for this post popped into my head and the word redux just appealed to me, so I went with it. Well, my life has gotten crazy busy. I started school again last Monday, and I have soooo much work for my classes that I haven’t had time to post anything, and barely had time to work on any projects! So I probably won’t post nearly as much until the end of November or so, because I almost certainly won’t be finishing anything, but I’ll try not to disappear. I’ve been thinking about doing a series of posts showcasing people’s studios/work rooms, so I may try to do that while I don’t have time for crafting.

Now, to the actual subject of this post! I told you about the Beauty and the Breast show in a previous post, and this is another piece for the same show. I’m just gonna copy and paste the description I did of the piece for the show, since I already wrote it and I have a paper yet to write tonight as well!

I have always been intrigued by the idea I see represented in the Tree of Life motif. That interconnection of past and future, birth and death, with the present/life in between, in a harmonious, even beautiful, way has always appealed to me. In thinking about breast shapes in nature and how our identity as “breasted-beings” affects our relationship to others, I kept coming back to the shape of boles on trees, and the tree of life. Women, and indeed breasts, are often a tangible connection between life and death, past and future. We create new life in bearing children, and breasts are an integral part of nurturing those children. And women are traditionally the care-takers of the old, and the bodies of the dead as well. When I think of a woman comforting and caring for a dying person I always think of the phrase she is “cradling him/her to her breast”. Of course, in this context the word breast is used simply to refer to the chest portion of a person’s anatomy, but I think the use of the term is telling and important. In this case the breast is meant as a source of comfort, in many ways harking back to the comfort of a baby at its mother’s breast. And so, women are like the trunk of the Tree of Life, a connection between the past, present and future, between the dead, living, and yet to be born. In a way then, the female form can be seen as a beautiful symbol for life in all its stages.

With this piece I had a lot of issues the first time around as well, that seems to be my theme for this show. On my first try, I just started making the shape of the tree trunk by felting down lengths of yarn, like I had done to make a tree before. Apparently I did something different than I had done before because the background started getting really stretched out. Of course I didn’t notice this until I had the trunk quite a ways done and had finished the roots. So, totally disgusted with it, I stopped for the night and sent my mom an e-mail with pictures asking her advice. After showing it to her in person and talking the next day, we both agreed it would be best to just start over, and I’m glad I did. It was much better planned from  the beginning the second time around and ended up with a much better shape that way, and it just went smoother. I ended up felting the whole trunk by hand, which I hadn’t expected to do, and just doing the roots and branches with the machine, Even so I had a couple spots in the roots where the machine started to cause some serious stretching, which I’m quite perplexed about as that’s never happened before. But I am so very happy with how this one turned out.

Both pieces are off to the show. I ended up putting a price on The Temples but marking this one as not for sale, I find I’m rather attached to this one. And oddly detached from The Temples. In a way I think that may be a sign of where I’m at in my life. Anyway, the show has an opening reception next Thursday which I’m hoping to get to, depends on if a co-worker will swap shifts with me, and if I do make it I will put up pictures of the whole show. And the artists too of course!

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  1. […] « Beauty and the Breast Redux […]

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