Survivor Series

For all the warrior women going through cancer treatment. Emotions in clay.

Warning: Disturbing content!


This sculpture came from a feeling of fragility, like we could just blow away in the wind, or blur like a long exposure.
When faced with your own impermanence the idea that we all are stardust and our carbon will be returned to the wind is deeply felt.

Chemo brain 

When your body can't make new cells for 6 months, you start to feel like there's a swirl of fog round your head. Walking through the world, but not really "in" it. A year of memories and conversations are lost forever. The effects take over a year to wear off, but they do, the brain is slowest to re-build.

The nagging horror

There is a nagging horror in the back of my subconscious that wants to acknowledged. 

When you go in for surgery they say" It's okay you 'll be asleep and drugged when you wake up, you won't remember a thing." You feel re-assured. But, even if your consciousness is knocked out I think your subconscious is wide awake, paralyzed and screaming. I still have a vague memory of it all somehow, the cuts were felt. I actually went through the surgery twice, the second time was 6 hours of  scar tissue getting cut away. I woke up in the O.R. that time and felt every single cut (someone F'd up and didn't give me pain meds before) So, I did feel what the subconscious felt that time, and it was a horror I'll never forget. 

I guess this sculpture is a way of assuring the subconscious that I know, and it really is okay.  I don't think the body understands cancer, it's the ultimate infiltrator, your own cells turning against you. It's not a virus to be fought, or a broken organ, I don't feel like the subconscious understands that it has to be cut out.

Sorry if this is disturbing to some, but I make art, and art is life. Sometimes life is F'd up, and the subconscious fights to be heard. I'd love to make only beautiful, happy, pink and gold pretties, but that's not authentic to my life.

And I know there's other survivors out there, or even others traumatized by surgery and not sure why, so this is for them, an attempt to understand.

I can only make this now because I am finally in a space of Gratitude, acceptance, and motivation. Our Earth is inspiring and beautiful and I guess I'm glad to live in a modern era where anesthesia exists!

Made for catharsis.

Original Maquette

Heart Forward.

After all the raw emotions, I came out living with my heart open and in the lead. For awhile it felt ripped open, too raw, absorbing too many thoughts in the air.

Then I learned to control it and feel the golden light. I let it lead me to a more clear understanding of what it is to be alive, here, now.

A little about my story, and the Survivor Series.

I was diagnosed at 31 with Triple Negative breast cancer stage 2. I'm a crunchy girl, I usually cure myself with herbs, and hardly ever get sick. But, in doing the research, this type of cancer is super aggressive, and does not respond to natural treatments. So, I went with the doctor's plan and did the strongest Chemo out there. The surgery left me with no evidence of disease and I'm happily cancer free 5 years later.

Luckily, I was already working in clay and could use it as a way to express emotions and work through it all. I have made them public so other women going through cancer treatment may feel less alone, and more hopeful.

These are all done in porcelain or stoneware clay. Measuring 11-15 inches.

 The series is ongoing.

 All Images © 2014-19 Chelsea Mae Wesley    

Sculpture by California Artist Chelsea Mae

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