Art Bra® Austin 2017 marks the participation of more local mosaic artists than ever before, and today we’re excited to share the stories and inspirations behind three of these beautiful works of art! Each artist is a member of the Austin Mosaic Guild – a collective of mosaic artists in the Central Texas area that has since grown to include over 80 members. Several artists from the Austin Mosaic Guild have been long-time supporters of our special event, and this past summer, they generously invited BCRC to give our ‘Call for Art Bra Artists’ presentation at one of their local meetups. Their response has been overwhelming and we can’t wait to debut these one-of-a-kind masterpieces!
The founding president of this supportive artist community is also a first-time Art Bra Artist. Her name is Karin Gerstenhaber and we could not be more honored by her participation. A native Texan, Karin traded Houston for Austin over 17 years ago. She loves working in the non-profit sector and currently serves as the Director of Grants Managements at the Tocker Foundation.
Throughout her life, Karin remembers feeling a pull towards creative expression. After many years of classes and buying art supplies that gathered dust, she stumbled upon mosaics and as she puts it, “it was love at first crack.” Karin has since exhibited in shows and galleries around the state. She founded the Austin Mosaic Guild in 2008 and its success has since inspired the formation of other regional groups.
As the artist behind “She-Shell”, Karin was determined to make her own contribution to Art Bra® Austin to honor both her friends and her dear aunt, all of whom inspire her daily with their examples of strength and courage in life after breast cancer. She was inspired by some tumbled seashell fragments and her creativity muse took hold almost immediately. After deciding on the theme of her design, the pieces of Karin’s art bra began to fall into place when she came across a beautiful image of a nautilus shell. Karin reflected, “The hard edges and sensual curves of the ocean’s bounty spoke to me of the strength and grace of the feminine spirit and fueled my enthusiasm for the project. These organic shapes infused with subtle colors and a shimmering surface helped me bring together the combination of glitz and nature that adorn “She-Shell.””
To complete this nautical theme, Karin embellished her art bra with freshwater pearls and a flat starfish. Her look even comes with matching earrings made out of sterling silver, oblong shells, and freshwater pearls.
“She-Shell” was created in honor of Karin’s dear friend, long-time survivor and Art Bra Artist, Monica Meadows, whom she says has taught her so much about giving and living.
Our second mosaic artist to shine the spotlight on is Christy Kale and her beautiful art bra, “Two Stars on a Moonlit Sea.”
Christy has called Austin, Texas her home for 35 “amazing” years. Deeply committed to the city’s art and music scene, Christy is a painter of iconic images in which she explores the intersection of reality and imagination. Oil painting has been her long time medium of choice, yet over the past ten years, she has expanded into stained glass mosaic work. Christy’s work is characterized by highly saturated color, a playful energy and a celebration of the natural world – particularly the beauty of the Texas landscape. She has exhibited widely on a local, regional and national scale; her exhibits often speak to her passions and concerns for both the environment and animal welfare. Christy hopes her work inspires others to come together in celebrating and preserving the health of our land’s natural resources so they can continued to be enjoyed by future generations.
As a member of the Austin Mosaic Guild, Christy felt inspired to join her fellow members, many of who are also breast cancer survivors, and enter a submission for year’s show. And we are so glad she did! “Two Stars on a Moonlit Sea” is a vibrant mosaic of crystal glass tiles in blue sapphire, emerald green, silver, pink rainbow and hot pink; accompanied by matching glass beads, and a handing pendant in its center. Each piece of stained glass is hand-cut and carefully arranged to invoke the scenery that surrounds one of Austin’s favorite and most cherished swimming holes, Barton Springs. Christy describes Barton Springs as “a sacred place, and the heart and soul of Austin.” Through this design, she hoped to capture the spirit of magic and possibility that embodies our great city.
If you look carefully, you’ll find all the elements of Barton Springs represented in Christy’s art bra. The blue glass wave pattern at the bottom evokes the Spring’s natural waters. The green pattern at the top of the piece suggests the dark green trees at night. The silver glass in the middle represents moonlight on the water at night. And finally, the green glass beads hanging from the bottom reminds us the of the stacked small rock sculptures near the pool’s edge.
Christy dedicates “Two Stars on a Moonlit Sea” to her mother, Claire Kale Grill, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34, underwent a radical mastectomy and has lived with the after effects of that surgery all these years without complaint.
The third and final mosaic artist we introduce to you today is the lovely Ginette Jordan. Ginette was born in Casablanca, Morocco. She is an artist of many talents, beginning with her first love as a hair stylist, which she continues to do part time. Ginette also has a passion for Moroccan cooking and is a true artist in the kitchen. She began working with mosaics at the urging and tutorage of her good friend, Susan Ribnick, who is also a mosaic artist, BCRC client, and Art Bra® Model. When Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Ginette was introduced to BCRC and saw the support and friendship that Susan received. At the time, Ginette was unfortunately no stranger to the disease. Her daughter, Monique, had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 at the age of 42. Ginette drew on her skills as a hair stylist to find a way to support the breast cancer community. For the past several years, she has given free haircuts and wig-styling services to patients going through chemo treatment. Ginette loves to help those in need and has a passion for putting her philanthropic spirit into action. Soon she would find herself in the world of Art Bra® Austin and that passion would take hold once again.
In June of 2016, Susan invited Ginette to attend Art Bra® Austin and cheer her on as Susan modeled a live auction piece on the runway. Ginette loved the energy and excitement of the event, and realized that designing an art bra for BCRC would be the perfect way to ‘pay forward’ all the support that both her daughter and Susan received at their time of need.
Ginette’s “Moroccan Hamsa Bra” is a beautiful tribute to her daughter and a symbol of protection and strength for the Art Bra Model who will wear this piece on the big night. It’s a mixed media mosaic piece made from sequins, beading, feathers, gems, ornate fabric, and gold trim. Ginette felt inspired to create an art bra that celebrated the image of the Hamsa Hand – an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. The Hamsa is known throughout history as a sign of protection. The Hand of Fatima also represents femininity, power and strength. It is believed to have extraordinary characteristics that can protect people from evil and other dangers. Ginette believes the two hands cradling the breasts serve to protect and promote health.
“Moroccan Hamsa Bra” is a vibrant celebration of the beauty that women possess in many different and exotic ways. We are sure its model will feel bold and protected as she makes her debut at Art Bra® Austin 2017!
Watch KXAN Studio 512 interview with Susan Ribnick (of the Austin Mosic Guild) about Art Bra Austin! This segment aired Monday, May 22, 2017 at 11am on KXAN.
Art Bra® Austin will take place on June 3, at the Austin Convention Center, 500 E Cesar Chavez St., Austin, Texas. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for cocktails, food service and silent auction, followed by the runway show and live auction at 8:00 p.m. General Admission tickets are currently on sale for $200 and reserved-seating floor and runway tickets are available for $250. Tickets are available at http://artbraaustin.org/get-tickets.
ABOUT ART BRA AUSTIN
Art Bra® Austin, now in its sixth year, is BCRC’s signature fundraiser. Every year, Austin’s talented community of artists, designers, and jewelers submit their original works of wearable art to be showcased by a dynamic group of Art Bra Austin models, creating an enchanting evening where everyone involved from the artists to the models and stylists donates their time and services. Approximately 60 to 70 pieces are selected from over 100 submissions to be offered for auction the night of the event. Top submissions are auctioned live during the runway show with winning bids as high as $8,500. For more information about this event and how to get involved, please visit www.artbraaustin.org.
ABOUT BREAST CANCER RESOURCE CENTER
Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) is a nonprofit organization providing guidance, education, and assistance to thousands of local women whose lives have been disrupted by breast cancer. Staffed by breast cancer survivors, BCRC helps each woman find her footing and determine the solutions that are right for her.
BCRC was founded in 1995 as a volunteer-staffed helpline and a single support group. Today, in addition to being survivors, BCRC staff are trained support professionals and experts in where to go, what to do next, and how to keep a woman moving forward through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. They serve more than 2,200 women annually, offering personalized guidance, robust educational opportunities, and several financial and personal assistance programs. All of it – free of charge – to the client. For more detailed information about BCRC services and programs, please visit www.bcrc.org.