Software engineer by day, craftswoman by night; such is the life of first-time Art Bra Austin artist Dallas Hudgens, a creative force who uses her skills to develop software for IBM during the day and create works of art in her spare time, many of them wearable.
Dallas is a true “Renaissance woman” — both literally and figuratively — using mediums from hand-tanned-and-dyed leather to pen and paper to fabric for projects that include leather working, illustrating, painting, jewelry making and costuming, much of which she dons at area Renaissance festivals, including our local Sherwood Forest Faire. At Sherwood, she’s perhaps best known for her fairy costumes: whimsical, colorful outfits topped with flower crowns that always incorporate her beautiful leatherwork and, of course, wings.
“I feel there is nothing better to lift your spirits than a pair of wings,” said Dallas.
With the sky the limit, Dallas created her first-ever art bra, “Winged Warrior,” out of leather, made in honor of her breast-cancer survivor grandmother. Explained Dallas, “I believe Art Bra is a great way to use my skills as an artist to donate to a worthwhile cause.”
She began with a piece of vegetable-tanned leather that she stained with leather dye and molded into a bra shape, completing the look with metal rivets, a buckle and sinew thread to hold it all together. And speaking of “holding”:
“An interesting moment was when I was shaping the leather around a dress form to get a breast shape, and I had to awkwardly hold my dress form’s breasts until the leather started to dry. Then it was just a matter of adding all the details, staining it, and making the straps adjustable for the model.”
Dallas drew inspiration from the Valkyries, mythical female warriors she likens to women battling breast cancer: brave, determined and triumphant. But she couldn’t leave out her favorite fantasy being: the fairy. Thus, the “Winged Warrior” lifts your spirits high, carrying you through good times and bad.
“Winged Warrior” will be modeled on June 2 at Art Bra Austin by BCRC client Rabecca Cross, who was diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer in 2015 at age 41. After eight rounds of chemotherapy, eight surgeries and 28 rounds of radiation, she has been in remission for two years. When not fighting cancer she practices law, fosters animals and loves to travel and stay fit. She is the proud single parent of three adopted children, ages 10, eight and seven.
For Rabecca, being an Art Bra model means the opportunity to celebrate the end of her treatment and breast reconstruction, which was finally complete in January. Her advice to others going through a challenge is to remember that a challenge means whatever you make of it; it can be an obstacle or an opportunity, and only you get to decide. Rabeccas says BCRC has provided her with tangible and intangible blessings, including the knowledge that she is a powerful woman connected to other powerful women — in this way, she epitomizes the essence of “Winged Warrior.”
Watch Rabecca take flight on the runway this Saturday at Art Bra Austin.