Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lets Talk Healthy Boobs

We all want our cleavage to look fabulous and in some instances, we just want it to be cleavage at all... 
How many of us know that by doing so we might be harming the health of those very boobs whose cleavage we want to look nice?


Growing up in a time where the only options were a underwire bra or a sports bra that flattened out your boobs into the horrible uniboob, I am so happy that not only are designers making bras without underwire, they are making them pushups and great to look at!!! 

The concept of an underwire can be traced to an 1893 patent that describes a breast supporting device using a rigid plate under the breasts for stability. The modern underwire bra was designed in the 1930s, and gained widespread popularity by the 1950s. As of 2005, underwire bras were the largest and fastest growing segment of the bra market. 

The breast can be compared to a rubber band, I know that sounds bad... but the more weight that is attached to it, the further the rubber band will stretch.  Over time the rubber band will get thinner. The breast ligaments are similar to a rubber band.  (now you will all be thinking bouncing rubber boobs every time you go bra shopping)

By supporting your breasts and taking the weight off those ligaments, you may see the breast begin to adhere back to the chest wall. In addition the tissue that has been misplaced will get the proper blood flow to rebuild. A small busted woman needs just as much support as a large busted woman. She will often wear a padded bra that gives her a false front, but also flattens and spreads her breast tissue over her chest wall and impedes circulation through the tissue. Often glandular tissue is cut off from the main tissue mass inside the bra. The separation of the breast can cause mastitis or other health problems during pregnancy or lactation. There is little or no support for the tissue. 

One important reason for not wearing a constricting bra with underwires especially to bed, is it prevents normal lymphatic flow and can lead to anoxia (lower than normal oxygen content); much the way your feet and ankles can swell when you sit for a long time. This has been related to fibrosis, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Likewise women who exercise have a lower risk of cancer.

Underwire bras are occasionally linked to other health conditions including breast pain, mastitis, and allergies. Many health professionals claim that underwire bras, like other constrictive garments, may also contribute to clogged milk ducts in lactating women.

Underwire bras can rub and pinch the breast, causing skin irritation and breast pain, and the wire of a worn bra can protrude from the fabric and scrape or cut the skin. When the fabric of worn bra exposes an underwire, skin contact with nickel and other metals may cause contact dermatitis in a few women. Some acupuncturists oppose underwire bras in the belief that the metal wires cross the body's meridians, obstructing the flow of energy or qi.

Of course, if you love attention lots of attention... you might want to know that women wearing an underwire bra have in a few rare instances been subject to extra scrutiny when their bra set off metal detectors at security checkpoints in airports or prisons. 

And in the event of a shooting some goods news for the underwire bra... there have been a few recorded incidents where the underwire deflected a bullet or other weapon that struck the woman's chest.

With the new popularity of the bra without an underwire becoming increasingly popular, designers are flocking to design the best bra.  I recommend the TOMgirl Apparel bra.  It pushes up the cleavage without feeling stuffed, it has a velcro closure which is perfect for the lady who has any weight fluctuation or just likes the ease of velcro versus the tiny metal hooks from 1890...  On top of all of the benefits, is the fact that it is extremely comfortable!!!  Every lady should have at least one of these great bras!  Especially if we want stop the bouncing rubber boobs! ;)

Check them out at TOMgirl Apparel

Gotta make sure my girls are happy and healthy!
Go healthy cleavage!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Explanation of a Funny Word: Scrimshaw

Sometimes life takes you places that you would rather have not been. Like knife shows. But sometimes, at said knife shows, you discover something really cool. Like scrimshaw. (Then you feel a little squirm of guilt for having whined about going, even if you only whined to yourself.) Anyway, I got hooked on the stuff and only later found out that 80% of the planet has no idea what scrimshaw is. I get a lot of questions about it, so I thought it might be nice to give a little history and context to the jewelry I make.

This is traditional scrimshaw: 
Photo credit: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

 It's a very old art form, not much used anymore, but kept alive in little pockets. The basic technique involves you, a piece of animal tooth or bone, a pointy object, and a LOT of spare time. So, scrimshaw was a perfect pass-time for bored sailors. It was practiced by Inuit and other Native cultures, but the most elaborately drawn (that I've seen) were often from sailors on long voyages. Whalers had literally tons of bones lying around and months or years of boredom on a boat. So they doodled with their knives and rubbed soot from lamps or grease into the tiny detailed drawings to create very fine black and cream colored designs. Many of the illustrations were from books, if books were available. If you are at all familiar with old intaglio prints, you'll notice a similarity in the illustration style and the use of lines and dots to create light and dark areas.

Teeth, and the long curved bones in the head were some of the most prized parts
to scrimshaw because of their generous size and shape.

Portraits of ladies were popular, (Perhaps it was like having company?) as were ships like the one above. Nautical imagery was most prevalent. Sailors carved tools and personal items from the bones and then decorated them with scrimshaw. From the sailors, scrimshaw spread inland, to household decorations, ladies toiletries, and men's weapons and powder horns, and to other shores as well.

As for the origin of scrimshaw, I've read many accounts of the skill developing among the whalers of New England whose voyages could last as long as 4 years. I've also heard that sailors such as these learned the techniques from the native peoples, such as the Inuits, during long winters. These two links below, especially the first, give a fuller account of the origins and some of the unanswered questions:

Today, "scrimshanders" have evolved the technique and medium further. They often illustrate exotic animals and have added vibrant colors to the traditional black, thanks to great pigments and paints. Abstract or "tribal" patterns have become popular, and just about anything is fair game for subject matter. Illustration styles have strayed from the traditional in several places (including my own). I've also heard of scrimshaw being worked into surfaces such as fine micarta and plastics/resins as well as traditional ivories.

In case you're wondering where I fit in: My scrimshaw is done in a much simplified line-drawing style using colored pencils and sealing waxes. I love botanical motifs and use mainly wooly mammoth and walrus ivories as surfaces for scrimshaw. [These are entirely legal, you know. Please don't think I'm doing something naughty. Despite the art's bloody history, today's scrimshanders are very careful about our materials' histories.] I have tried cow bone, pig bone, and deer antler and bone as well, with varying degrees of success. The long, flat ends of cow's ribs are surprisingly useful. The porosity and hardness of a substance is a large factor in how clearly an image works out. Denser pieces that are not too soft are better for precise drawings.

I'll leave you with a fun fact. While no one knows the exact origin of the word "scrimshaw," it appears to have been from either Dutch or English and the general meaning was "to waste time." Originally, anything that a sailor did on his off-duty hours was called scrimshaw. Most of your free time as a sailor aboard a whaling ship probably involved whale bone in some way, however. Maybe you made tools, cane handles, and other items that could be sold when you eventually got back to port. Maybe you put on puppet shows. Whatever you did, you were all scrimshanders.

 That's all from me for a while. I hope that if you have any questions, you ask them!

-Rachel C

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welcome to 6 Opinions Blog!

For starters, an introduction:

This blog is run by a group of intelligent and rather feisty women. We are all quite different but find our common ground in art, making things, and striving to sell our handmade goods on the Web. Probably we share some other things as well, but that you'll learn as we each write posts here. Our purpose is simply to share our passions, knowledge, and thoughts on topics from craft to life. You can find out more about each of us using the links to the right.

We hope that you enjoy our blog and find something interesting along the way!

PS: I don't know that there are *technically* six of us, but we have plenty of opinions, so don't fret. ;)