Monday, May 31, 2010

On Fighting Cancer I and II, Decision Portraits

(Above: On Fighting Cancer I, Decision Portrait. Stitched words: Mastectomy Over Chemotherapy. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. 25" x 19", unframed; 31" x 25", framed. Hand embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: On Fighting Cancer II, Decision Portrait. Stitched words: Chemo and Radiation over Mastectomy. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. 25" x 19", unframed: 31" x 25", framed. Hand embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

On St. Patrick's Day Dawn Goldsmith published an amazing blog post on her Subversive Stitchers site about my Decision Portrait Series and my need for "models". She included my entire "wish list". Within almost no time at all, fiber artists from all over the world responded....including Gerrie and Jane. In fact, their email messages popped into my "in box" within fifteen minutes of one another....and that's how I determined which was "I"/one and which was "II"/two.

These two works are inseparable for me. Why? Because these ladies, both fiber artists, faced the same horrible problem. They made two equally good but completely different decisions. I will display them flanking Solidarity which carries the words: I shave my head to support those with breast cancer. To view this portrait, click HERE.

(Above: On Fighting Cancer I, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Together, these portraits illustrate the complexities of dealing with breast cancer. There are options. For some, one treatment is better than another; For others, the exact opposite is true.

(Above: On Fighting Cancer II, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

The Decision Portrait Series isn't about "right" or "wrong". It is about the decisions....especially the difficult decisions. Personally, I don't know what I would do if confronting breast cancer. I guess I'd listen to my doctors, get second opinions, consult my family, weigh the odds....just like these brave ladies did. I hope people seeing the work in the upcoming exhibit quietly ask themselves, "What would I do?" and "How can I show support".

Please also visit Gerrie Congdon's excellent website and blog. Please also visit Jane Compeau's blog. Their work is GREAT!


Lynn said...

Wow, your series has been something special all along, but this one whacks me upside the head big time. I am not one who has had to deal with cancer or any other major illness, but know many who have. I just FEEL this one! Good for you for doing this. They are so very special. And they absolutely make me THINK and Wonder! And they are so well done.

lindacreates said...

These are such tough decisions and only the person diagnosed can make them. Beautifully done Susan!

Caffeine Girl said...

I just love your stitched portraits. So glad I found your blog!