Saturday, November 30, 2013

Radical Elements

I meant to post this months ago, but I got delayed.  Back in January, I sent out a request for bra straps to several art quilting list-serves.  It is an unusual request, to be sure, and of an intimate nature.  But, I felt rather strongly about the whole theme of breast cancer, and it's early detection, and I just knew that I wanted some bra straps from real people to add to the work.  I got 6 responses.  And one of those was Lisa Quintana. She had been battling Stage 4 breast cancer for many years and graciously sent me a number of her old bra straps.  It was early October of this year when she lost her battle with breast cancer and died. My heart just aches for her family and friends.  She and I had visited multiple times via email, but I had never met her.  You can get a sense of what a wonderful and generous spirit she had by visiting her blog.  Meanwhile, I am left still grieving and numb, not quite knowing what to say or where to go from here.  One thing is for sure, it is never easy to lose a friend.

The quilt.

It doesn't look like a quilt to me.  And, it doesn't feel like a quilt either.   It is supposed to be the definition of a quilt, 3 layers, held together with stitching.  However, the call for consideration stated:
As the second part of the Radical Elements theme, the artists will also be asked to move quilting beyond the usual materials of fabric and thread, exploring the function and decorative properties of different surfaces and stitching materials. This exhibit is the first to embrace the newly expanded definition of an art quilt and will be a signature exhibition for SAQA.
And, from my previous posts, you can see that I am sticking with that concept fairly well.  Today, I will reveal a bit more, but not all.  We are supposed to keep images of the entire quilt until the opening of the exhibit, which I believe is in May 2014. 

I decided to use a black screen to hold all the components in place.  I also am using recycled plastic milk bottles.  I cut many, many circles, all by hand.  They will be used for 2 different purposes.  And, last I decided that the top "layer" of the quilt would be plastic baby bottle nipples.  I love all the symbolism back to mammary glands for this project!


I took the original drawing with all the circles and placed it under the screen, then stamped the placement of the circles with white paint.  The circles that required the LED's got an additional white center placement paint mark.  You can see the LED stuck through the screen here, with it's own little special resistor.
Here are all the LED's on a large portion of the black screen, correctly wired as evidenced by the fact that the lights are glowing with the switch flipped to the "on" position.  Yay!
On the back I used one of the plastic milk jug circles for each LED.  This protected the black screen from my heat gun when I applied the shrink wrap to the electrical connections.
You can also see that the wires stick up rather high, these will be bent to a flat position later.  On the front side, the LED lights are hidden by a clear nipple that has a smaller white plastic milk jug disc inserted inside of it.  While the lights are off, the LED's stay hidden, and when the lights are on, they shine right through the white plastic disc, a perfect translucency.  And it demonstrates the ability to see a tumor through high density breast tissue (possible with the MBI, but not with the mammogram.)
The nipples were fairly easy to sew by hand with a giant doll needle and embroidery floss.  The hard part was that the thread keep getting twisted around and stuck on the other nipples.  On the back, it now looks like this:
I used one plastic milk jug disc for each nipple, even if it didn't have a circuit component.  It helped all the nipples look the same from the front, and it added some stability to the structural components.
And, with the lights on?
Perfecto!

Last, here is an in process shot of the placement of the bra straps, before all the nipples were sewn on.
Thanks to everyone who helped me with this project!  I will be super happy to add your name if you desire, just send me a note, or leave a comment.  





1 comment:

Iris said...

omg. Your enormous and engaging talent, your thoughtful, gifted mind ----you never cease to amaze me. I'm sitting here, going back and forth between images, totally spellbound.