30 Days of Artists: Two Artists Honor Friends with Symbolic Designs

Friends come into our lives and can leave a profound mark. Some are in our lives for a short time while others are lifelong companions. No matter when or how you meet, a dear friend is priceless. Such is the case for Jan Apple and Peggy Mason. They each have a dear friend and each of those friends is an Art Bra Austin model this year. Wanting to support their friend, and contribute to BCRC, these two ladies enthusiastically agreed to create an art bra in their honor.

Jan Apple
“Peter Max to the Max”

Jan Apple calls herself a psychiatrist by day and an artist by night. After hours of seeing patients, Jan settles into the evening with her own form of therapy – knitting and sewing. She describes her artistic style as eclectic, detailed and colorful – and that is exactly how one would describe her art bra, Jan first heard of Art Bra Austin from her childhood friend and Austin-resident, Susan Ribnick. When Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer, Jan wanted to find a way to honor her friend and support the community that takes on the disease.

This is Jan’s first art bra and the inspiration came from their past. As children, Jan and Susan were obsessed with artist Peter Max.  So, she decided to recreate some of his iconic artwork on an art bra. Jan made the bra from cotton fabric and vintage fabric she bought in New Hampshire. She found just the right Max images, sketched them onto the bra with washable pen and then the real work commenced as she began to embroider away! Once Jan was finished with the stitching, and the entire front of the bra was covered in bright colors, with whimsical images of peace, harmony, cosmic energy and flower power, Jan lined the bra with black fabric and Shazam! A magical, psychedelic trip down memory lane in honor of the special bond between two friends.

If you’d like to see more of Jan’s artwork, you can find her under the name “Shrinkdreamer” at Ravelry, a community site and yarn & pattern database for knitters and crocheters.

Peggy Mason
“Elegant Dragonfly”

Peggy Mason

Peggy Mason (left)

Peggy Mason is also a woman who wears many hats. In addition to working in Human Resources, she is also a seamstress, designer, and certified sewing instructor. For as long as she can remember, Peggy has always been a fabric artist.  She learned to sew with her mother and grandmother at just 8 years old, and dreamed she would one day be able to spend every waking hour creating and making items for others. In 2008, Peggy realized that dream, starting her own sewing and design business, Peggy Mason Designs-Sewing for Keeps. So when her dear friend, Joanie Johnson, faced breast cancer last year and was selected as a 2016 Art Bra Austin model, naturally she wanted to put her skills to use and create a custom piece just for Joanie.

“Elegant Dragonfly” is Peggy’s first art bra. For Peggy, it’s another venue that she can be creative, while supporting her friend, Joanie, and giving back to the community. When Peggy and Joanie got together to discuss the art bra’s design, Peggy learned how much dragonflies were an important symbol to Joanie during her recovery. Dragonflies, she says, have often been depicted in the arts as a symbol of courage, strength and happiness. The idea of using the dragonfly as an inspiration for Peggy’s design seemed like a perfect fit.

Peggy describes dragonflies as having bright iridescent coloring – to mimic this coloring, she selected a shimmering pink organza embroidered with pink flowers and vines and scattered with sequins. She made a pattern, cut the organza layers then hemmed them with a scalloped edge before attaching them to the cups of the bra. Peggy then added pink beads that catch the light and glitter like dew drops to the bra straps, and draped strands of pink beads below each cup. For the dragonfly wings, she made a frame using galvanized wire, covered the frame with more of the pink organza, and then added pink sequin trim along the edge of each wing. She designed a harness with satin straps, and attached it to the wings so the wings could be worn comfortably. A pink silk flower surrounded by loops of pink and purple ribbon accent the center of the wings. The overall look is both delicate in its beauty and strong in its construction. A beautiful tribute to her dear friend’s experience with breast cancer.

To see more of Peggy’s designs, visit her website, Facebook, and Twitter.


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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