30 Days of Artists: Mothers & Daughters Collaborate for a Cause

This year, Art Bra® Austin is fortunate to have several art bras designed and made by various teams, two of which happen to be a mother-daughter team. There is something special about a family collaboration, especially when it involves mutual interests shared between a daughter and her mother. Christine Fuhrman & Patricia Acker and Anissa Gahagan & Diana Saunders make up two such teams. Not only did these two duos work together to design their special art bras in support of BCRC, but they were also able to share many hours of quality mother-daughter time in the process. The end result of their hard work and collaboration – the fabulous art bras you see below – are testaments to the relationship shared between these talented and generous mothers and daughters.

Christine Fuhrman & Patricia Acker
“Woman in Gold”

Patricia (Pat) Acker was born in rural Arkansas and moved to Texas as soon as she could. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Art and a Master’s in Business Administration. Pat says she loves to make art and credits Claude Monet and Van Gogh as well as her quilting group as her artistic influences. She has a painting studio behind her house and quilts every day. Her paintings tend toward Impressionism and her quilts vary wildly in color and pattern. Pat was encouraged to collaborate on an art bra by her daughter, Christine Fuhrman, who first heard of the event from her co-worker, Sarah Geis. Sarah had modeled in last year’s show and will be modeling again this year.

Christine is currently an 8th grade English teacher in Austin. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Rhetoric from The University of Texas at Austin and will begin her Master’s in Educational Leadership this spring. Christine admits she is the least artistic person in her family and only recently has tried to learn to make art. Although her favorite artists are Van Gogh and Mark Rothko, she says mostly inspired by the talent of her artistic mother and sister.

“Woman in Gold” is Pat’s and Christine’s first art bra submission and they could not be more proud of what they created together. Pat was inspired by Mardi Gras masks on display at her friend’s house, so she and Christine decided to follow that theme. Being a family project, they received some help from Pat’s friend and Christine’s godmother as they began to search for materials, picking items of colors and textures that appealed to them. Christine and Pat selected a simple but elegant palette of white and gold. Everything was sewn by hand – they used white tulle sprinkled with a delicate gold design and a shimmering solid gold tulle to cover the bra. Christine and Pat also added accents of white ostrich feathers and white pearlized beads to complete their design. “Woman in Gold” was created in honor of Christine’s mother and collaborator, Patricia, a breast cancer survivor who has been in remission since 2002.


Anissa Gahagan & Diana Saunders
“Went with the Wind (Miss Starlet’s New Dress)”

Anissa Gahagan was drawn to art and creative activities from an early age. As a native Austinite, and born into a family of quilters, seamstresses and painters, she feels fortunate that she grew up in such a creative environment. Anissa, who has worked at The University of Texas for over 27 years, loves many types of arts and media, including jewelry-making, paper crafts, cross-stitch, and photography and she still enjoys learning new techniques. She was first introduced to BCRC and Art Bra Austin by her friend Jane, a former BCRC client and now a 12-year survivor!

In years past, Anissa and her mother, Diana Saunders, submitted their art bras separately. However, this year they decided to try working together on an ambitious design! Diana is a native Texan and longtime Austinite. Growing up with a mother who did a wonderful job of sewing most of the family clothing, Diana started sewing for herself in the 60’s, recognizing her own creative genes. She realized how important creativity was to her and seeing her creations evolve from an idea to the finished result influenced her. Diana describes her artistic style as classic yet modern with a preference for assemblage art and decor.

Both Diana and Anissa have been creating art bras for many years. Anissa’s inspiration for her this year’s design is humor. She believes that laughter is good for the soul and that humor really can make a difference during treatment and recovery. With that in mind, she thought back to one of her favorite comediennes and a very memorable moment in TV history. Her mother encouraged her to go with the idea and agreed to assist. Based on the 1976 “Went with the Wind” skit from The Carol Burnett Show, this is Anissa’s interpretation of the iconic curtain dress created by the amazing designer, Bob Mackie. Starting with Miss Starlet’s pink dress, Anissa made a pattern and cut out the pink calico fabric, and hand-stitched it to the bustier. The bodice was finished with mismatched vintage buttons down the front. To complete the ensemble, several accessories were designed by Anissa and handmade with the help of her mother, including a matching gathered pink calico skirt, white pantaloons with eyelet and pink ribbon trim, a crinoline cage made of fabric covered boning and antique white grosgrain ribbon, hunter green velvet curtains with gold bullion fringe and green sheers on a purchased curtain rod with decorative finials, a gold cord belt with tassels and finally, the hunter green velvet headpiece with more gold bullion fringe. More than 75 hours went into the design and creation of the bra and the costume!

Went with the Wind ” was made in honor and memory of all BCRC clients past and present, for their spirit and determination to overcome cancer and live life to the fullest. Anissa hopes this ensemble will bring a smile to the BCRC clients and supporters, and that the humor of it will have a positive impact on their individual journeys.

To see some of Anissa’s photography, we welcome you to follow her on Instagram!


Diana Saunders
“Wrapped in Hugs”

Art Bra Austin

“Wrapped in Hugs”

In additional to collaborating on “Went with the Wind”, Diana also designed and made her own art bra. Diana says we all need hugs! She made a pattern and cut out the antique white silk satin and black velvet fabrics, which were hand-sewn to the bustier. To mimic hugs, two pairs of vintage fine leather, full-length gloves in black and white were stuffed and attached to the front and back of the bra. For an elegant touch, Diana added strands of glass pearls, a pearl bracelet on a white glove, a bracelet of black faceted glass beads on a black glove, and two rings were slipped onto gloved fingers. Tassel embellishments complete her design, which reflects a step back in time and a comforting hug.

Diana made this art bra in memory of BCRC former client and “lifer”, Holley Kitchen, whom we recently lost. Holley was such an inspiration to us all and a beautiful Art Bra Model last year! Diana also dedicates this piece in memory of all other family and friends lost to cancer and in honor of the survivors!


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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