30 Days of Artists: Fiber Artists and their textile takeover of Art Bra Austin

Donna Bone and Lorraine Bier, two well-educated women who devoted themselves to very different careers, have discovered (or rediscovered) their passion – textiles and creative arts. Donna and Lorraine both currently serve on the board of Austin Fiber Artists (AFA) but their path to the fiber arts wasn’t a direct one. In fact, each of these women had a lengthy career for decades, in “less than artistic” fields. Now, these women, these artists, devote themselves to their art and they want to share it with others and lend their support to BCRC.

Donna Bone
“All Buttoned Up”

Donna Bone grew up in Austin but moved away for 30 years before returning to her hometown. She worked in juvenile justice as a psychologist, educator and training specialist for over 40 years. During that time, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer (2000) and the BCRC was an important part of her treatment and recovery providing support, nutritional information and resource referral services. Upon retirement in 2013, Donna learned how to sew and began to explore and enjoy creating fiber arts. Donna describes herself as an aspiring artist. She works mainly with textiles and natural fibers, and has a somewhat whimsical and surrealist style. She joined Austin Fiber Artists (AFA) and is currently the Secretary Historian for the organization. When not working on her art projects, Donna enjoys spending time with her little dog, Ginger Rogers, working in her garden which she calls “The Little Prairie”, and writing short stories and poems.

This is Donna’s first art bra, after being encouraged by fellow fiber artists Lori Bier and Anita Mester. While going through cancer treatment, Donna says she felt exposed in so many ways. After finishing with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, the phrase that came to her mind frequently was that she was now “all buttoned up” and no longer on display. That memory was Donna’s inspiration for her design. Comfort and protection for the wearer was important to her so she started with a blue performance fabric and attached it to the bra as the base layer. Then she gently scattered a variety of carefully selected blue, green and white buttons of all shapes and sizes all over the bra, like spring flowers in a meadow. Donna hand sewed each of the 232 buttons to the fabric. She completed the design by draping strands of dark iridescent blue faceted beads across the front and adding a bow of blue, green and white sheer fabric to the center. To compliment the bra, Donna made a matching necklace, a statement piece of larger buttons using the same color palette. The finished look of “All Buttoned Up” is a very calm, tranquil design that evokes a sense of both comfort and peace.

Lorraine Bier
“Storm Front (with Silver Lining)”

Lorraine Bier has been sewing, embroidering and doing other fiber arts since grade school. She even considered a career in fabric design but went into computing instead. Having degrees in Math and Computer Science, she worked for over 30 years in the technical field. After many decades, she has rediscovered her love of fiber arts, which today includes painting silk with dyes and making belly dance costumes. Now, she considers herself an artist. Charles Eames said, “Design is an expression of the purpose, and it may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art.” She sometimes feels she has hit the mark. Lorraine is currently the President of the Austin Fiber Artists (AFA) and has found the group offers the perfect opportunity to continue learning fiber arts techniques.

“Storm Front” is Lorraine’s third art bra. Wanting to use a symbol of hope and survival, she turned to rainbows which gave her the perfect opportunity to use her favorite medium of dyed silk as well as other fiber art techniques. She decided to incorporate storm clouds, which called for a silver lining to reinforce the message of hope and the sun was required for the rainbow to appear. Lorraine spent several days creating felted wool clouds in varying shades of grey, then assembled them into cloud banks and storm fronts to cover the bra cups. She achieved the drama of lightning by adding sparkly fibers to the clouds. On one side she added lightning strikes by using silver embroidery thread, bugle and seed beads. On the other, she created a shower of beaded rain. For the finishing touch to the bra section, she made the storm clouds removable to reveal a bit of blue fabric sky and quilted silver fabric – the silver lining! For the colorful rainbow sky veil, Lorraine hand-painted dye on silk fabric. Lori made a fascinator-style hat using bright metallic orange fabric with sequins and swirls, which sits atop a band of blue with a puffy white cloud accent. Both the hat and the cloud skirt are her original designs. Like the storm clouds on the bra, the necklace was felted with a variety of wools to give texture and sheen to the cloud formation and beaded to create lightning, cloudbursts and raindrops. Together, Lorraine’s ensemble is a gentle reminder to wait for the rainbow after the rain and watch for the silver lining behind the storm clouds. There is always hope.

To see more of Lori’s artwork, visit her Etsy page!


All art bras will be auctioned off at BCRC’s signature charity event to raise funds to support local women affected by breast cancer. To learn more about Art Bra Austin, visit www.artbraaustin.org

Art Bra photography generously provided by Flashbax23.

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