If you have been around the Large and Lovely site at BellaOnline for any length of time then you are probably familiar with my Beautiful Women Project experiences. A few years ago I went to a women's night out dinner and entertainment event. Artist, Cheryl-Ann Webster made an announcement about a project she was just starting to undertake. To this day it still inspires me.
It all started with a simple conversation she had with her 13 year old daughter about her best friend, also 13, who was saving up money for a boob job. Cheryl-Ann was floored (as were we all) and decided to start the Beautiful Women Project in hopes of inspiring positive thoughts about the female body in all its forms.
The project involved Cheryl-Ann casting 120 female chests from the collar bone to the hip bone. She decorated each of them with the essence she picked up from conversations she had with each woman. It has been a labor intensive project both physically, financially and emotionally. For the last few years she's been marketing the collection to different galleries throughout Ontario, having completed six successful showings (I went twice!) which drew the attention of girls of all ages as well as the men in their lives. Cheryl-Ann is still trying to get the word out via gallery showings of the busts anywhere she can afford to send them and set them up. She also does informative discussions on self-esteem and body image.
Recently to help with costs (and to reach a wider audience) Cheryl-Ann and Laurie Gordon produced a book about the endeavor highlighting the process from the start until now. It includes a color photo of each bust as well as anecdotes about its creative aspects and visual cues. My copy arrived last week and I have to say it is much better than I thought it would be based on the description listed at the self-publishing company Lulu.com.
The book is made with a heavy semi-gloss soft cover about the size of a magazine. It didn't take long to get through the 77 pages and I have to say that it is wonderful to be able to revisit the busts at my leisure and to read about the artist's interpretation of each one. All the busts in the the exhibit are presented. The models ranged in age from 19 - 91. There are thin women, plus size women and women who've had mastectomies.
Throughout the book in blue print are comments left in guests books from the showings. Comments as simple as, "A great way to encourage change" to as heart felt as, "Your display makes me sad for the time I wasted looking at my exterior and ignoring my interior. Today is a new day! Thank you!"
I highly recommend purchasing this book, which is $30 (costs go towards future showings), and if you get the chance to check out a showing. This is an excellent resource for teaching about body image to young girls and women. It will encourage discussion as well as appreciation of the many different feminine forms of the female body. No two breasts are alike, not even on the same body.
Purchase the Beautiful Women Project from Cheryl's website.