“No Lumps, Thank You” gives boost to breast cancer survivorsFARGO - Meg Spielman Peldo, daughter of a Hollywood Vassarette lingerie designer in the 1950s, has become a brassiere-maker in her own right. But instead of cotton, satin and lace, she’s used pancakes, maracas and pomegranates to create artsy undergarments.
By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM
If you go
WHAT: “No Lumps, Thank You: A Bra Anthologie” book launch/opening reception
WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. N., Fargo
INFO: Author Meg Spielman Peldo will also be signing books every Saturday afternoon in October near Creative Kitchen in the West Acres mall in Fargo.
FARGO - Meg Spielman Peldo, daughter of a Hollywood Vassarette lingerie designer in the 1950s, has become a brassiere-maker in her own right.
But instead of cotton, satin and lace, she’s used pancakes, maracas and pomegranates to create artsy undergarments.
The Fargo-based fine-art and portrait photographer spent years conceptualizing and shooting a series of “art bras” formed with flowers, plants, grasses, fruits and vegetables, stones, sea glass, buttons and other objects.
Spielman’s book, “No Lumps, Thank You: A Bra Anthologie,” combines 30 of her imaginative images with lighthearted humor to help raise money for breast cancer charities.
“No Lumps,” released Sept. 28, was inspired by The Hotel Donaldson’s annual Bras on Broadway fundraiser.
The project began with the wearable bird’s-nest bra Spielman made for downtown Fargo’s first Bras on Broadway six years ago. Her “breast nests” were so well received, she wondered what good she could do with a book.
“That’s why I have the book, because of Bras on Broadway,” she says.
Spielman submitted a proposal along with three images to a few publishers, and a week later she got a call.
Stories and laughs
The special edition of “No Lumps, Thank You” includes stories from 53 regional breast cancer survivors collected by Fargo writer and speaker Kim Wagner, who was undergoing treatment herself while she was doing interviews.
“This book is full of funny anecdotes and personal reflections from strong, gutsy, amazing women. It was an honor to jot down their stories and be a part of it,” Wagner says.
She says talking to other women who were going through the same things was therapeutic.
“I never liked the idea that it’s a ‘journey’ or a ‘battle,’ but it was nice to know that so many of us could commiserate and say we’ve been there,” says Wagner, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer last summer.
Contributors range in age from their early 20s to their 70s and 80s.
“This is not a team that we would ever volunteer to be on, and yet it really is a marvelous conglomerate of young and old,” she says.
Proceeds from the special edition will go to Sanford Health’s Embrace Cancer Survivorship Program.
“What we have learned through that program is how important other breast cancer survivors are to each other as far as their healing, because they have the most poignant tips and tricks for each other to get through that difficult journey,” says Dr. Shelby Terstriep, medical oncologist at Sanford’s Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo.
She says the blurbs included in the book address everything she and her staff hear from their patients on a day-to-day basis.
“We’ve already had someone at the beginning of her cancer journey comment on how helpful it was to read other people’s stories. That’s the kind of impact we want to have on people,” Terstriep says.
Spielman’s playful touch is meant to make a difficult time a little bit easier.
“I hope it offers encouragement and it shows compassion and laughter. It’s supposed to be light-hearted, and I think we achieved that,” Wagner says of the book.
Titles and materials
Spielman had a little help coming up with the clever titles for her bras.
“My husband is really good at helping me with titles. Sometimes I’ll have a concept for what it should be visually, but I don’t have a title,” she says.
He’s the one who came up with “Braw” for her sushi-themed bra, made with real sushi, garlic chives, wasabi, carrot, shredded radish and rice paper.
The butterfly garnish positioned in the center of the “cups” arrived with the lunch Spielman ordered the day of the shoot.
Other items used in her artwork came from eBay, flea markets and her own garden.
Everything used in “Sea Cup” except the string of pearls was found on a beach in Mexico.
“I brought the sand home from Mexico, too,” she says of the image’s background.
Once you start talking to the artist about her materials, you learn that her family has a strong presence in “No Lumps, Thank You.”
Spielman used her father’s vintage flash attachments, her father’s and grandfather’s fishing lures, and black-and-white film from old family photos.
“I specifically chose that piece of film because it had my two brothers and me on it,” she says.
A traveling exhibit of Spielman’s art bras is making its way around North Dakota, and Spielman’s daughter plans to model a wearable version of the title piece at the final Bras on Broadway event on Oct. 25.
“No Lumps,” however, is only the beginning of Spielman’s “Bra Anthologie.” She plans to produce more books and related merchandise such as gift cards.
“I have enough concepts to do two more books. But you have to take the concept and then visualize it and make it into a workable piece of art,” she says.
“No Lumps, Thank You: A Bra Anthologie” is available in Fargo at The Hotel Donaldson, Zandbroz Variety and Barnes & Noble and online at Amazon.com and http://nolumpsthankyou.com. The special edition is also available at Sanford Gift Shops and SHANNALEE in downtown Fargo.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590