Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Winter 2007 - Page 24

Thornton Spotlight Academy A Journey of Healing through Art For Sue Stickney Baker ‘68, art isn’t just about perception; it’s about healing. When faced with breast cancer eight years ago, Baker took refuge in her art to aid her healing and recovery. Still cancer free to this day, Baker’s art and work have taken her on a new path to helping others confronting cancer express themselves creatively. At the age of 40, Baker began studying art at the University of Southern Maine. However, before completing her senior year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. What ensued was a year of treatment and recovery. To help he r cope with her situation, Baker immersed herself in her art, switching from her usual muted palette to brighter hues, “to keep the thoughts of cancer and dying out of my head.” After all the treatments were over, Baker wanted to give back to the community. Now, almost eight years later, she continues to volunteer her time teaching art classes through The Cancer Community Center in South Portland. It was here that the Bustier Project was born. During one of her monthly workshops, Baker organized an “Art Bra” class, where breast cancer survivors could get away from thoughts of diagnoses and treatments and focus on having fun by playfully decorating a bra. Around this time, Baker purchased a dozen bustiers on sale at a local store with thoughts of creating an installation to raise awareness of breast cancer. “I started painting them, and I realized they harden up. And I started putting flowers on them, and I realized I couldn’t stop,” says Baker. What ensued is a whimsical collection of one-of-a-kind bustiers, some covered with flowers, others with vivid paints, and many with brightly colored jewels and beads and bangles. Since then, her bustiers have caught the eye of thousands all over Maine and as far away as Boston. They have been featured at conferences, at showings and in the news. This year, her collection also is featured in a calendar produced for The Cancer Community Center. Titled “The Art of Womanhood—The Bustier Project: A Journey of Healing through Art,” each month of the calendar features a different bustier, whimsically photographed by Jerry Robinov. “I love doing something like this. I love the calendar, I love the showings, and I love the TV, because it’s not all about me. It’s See Bustier on page 23 Change Service Requested Thornton Academy 438 Main St. Saco ME 04072-1595 Want recent TA news? www.thorntonacademy.org Weekly features, press releases, slideshows, e-mails, and more. Postscripts Winter 2007 * Vol. 42, No. 1 Thornton Academy To: NONPROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID Brunswick, ME 04011 Permit #65