Nursing Bra, pictured on the cover, is part of the Artfull Bras Project, a collection of 50 bras created by the Quilters of South Carolina to raise breast cancer awareness.
The project was conceived by the group's president, Sandra Baker. "I thought it would be something fun for us to do," she explains. "It could be exhibited in mammogram centers and treatment facilities. But most of all, it could raise awareness of a disease that has touched all our lives."
At the February 2008 meeting, Baker challenged members to participate by making "an artful bra." The idea was a hit: at a retreat the following October, members presented their beautiful, comical, and elaborate designs with names like Thelma and Louise (A Pair of Perky Hooters), for a bra in an owl motif (on this page); For Those Who Served, for a bra made of camouflage fabric; and Girls Divided, for a sports bra with soccer ball and softball cups.
The exhibit will travel throughout South Carolina until October, when the bras will be auctioned to benefit the Best Chance Network, a local program that serves uninsured women who've been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer.
About Nursing Bra, designer Anne Duncan, a former nurse, writes that both "Bar-bra (the surgical nurse) and Deb-bra (the traditional nurse)" are hand-sculpted and painted. "They represent the nurses who have given their time, talent, and love for many breast cancer patients," Duncan writes. She used surgical masks to create the cups, scrubs and surgical suture to make the back, and oxygen tubing to make the stethoscopes that serve as straps. "This bra honors the nursing profession for which I have proudly been a part for over 35 years."
To learn more about the Artfull Bras Project, go to www.quiltersofsc.org/artfullbras/artfullbras.htm.
Alison Bulman, senior editorial coordinator