Monday, October 15, 2012


Solidarity. Stitched words: I shave my head to support those with breast cancer. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin.  Hand stitched and beaded.  25” x 19” unframed; 31” x 25” framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

The Decision Portrait Series has been an artistic adventure. It is part embroidery, photography, and collaboration with each "model". It has been a design challenge, a conceptual development, and an organizational task. One of the very best parts of working like this is: "THE HUNT". While creating the series, I found myself constantly on the lookout for "models"....people who might fulfill one of the potential portraits on my "wish list".

During the summer of 2009 while on scholarship at the University of Minnesota's Split Rock Program, I had breakfast in the dorm's cafeteria. On the second day, this tall, strikingly beautiful woman with a totally shaved head walked in and sat down a few tables away. I had to join her. She'd made a decision. For whatever reason, I wanted to stitch this portrait.

A few days later she met me in the nice computer lab. I showed her the Decision Portrait blog (as it existed then ... a documentation of the works in progress and a conceptual statement).  She didn't hesitate, signed the model's release (yes...I still carry them in my purse!), and posed for this photo.'s her story. Her name is Irene Rivers. She is an incredible woman. Irene has never had breast cancer, but family members did. She shaved her head when they lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy. It was an act of love and support. It was also a way to spread awareness of breast cancer. Though her family members are now in remission, Irene continues to shave her head for others.... still and act of love and support.... still a way to spread awareness. Okay.... she’s absolutely stunning without hair.... but I think that has more to do with her inner beauty! I am proud to share her solidarity, love of others, hope for healing, and her "walking definition" of real, internal beauty as a conscious decision.

The best protection is early detection. To learn more, please visit the official Pink Ribbon website. ( . This organization is a New York registered, internationally operating charity organization aimed to create a global community to support breast cancer patients, survivors and their families all over the world. Pink Ribbon is dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

No comments: