Sketch 17 by Rosemary GriggsAfter my nipple grafts had healed it was time to choose the nipple color to be tattooed on. Since my newly reconstructed breasts, and all the surrounding area had no sensation, it was a painless procedure. I was warned by the Mayo’s tattoo technician that choosing a nipple color was tricky and could take a long time. Since I was an artist, we all had visions of me being there for hours getting the color just right. I took this drawing of The Thinker with me to the tattoo procedure. The plastic surgery staff got quite a laugh out of it and hung it up for other patients to see. As it turned out, the first color we chose worked out just fine and we were out of there in less than an hour.

Author Note: A Stroll Down Mammary Lane is an illustrated journal chronicling eighteen months of our experience with breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and cure. During the long convalescence, I spent most of my time horizontal healing from multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments. I was unable to work in my pottery studio and my career as a full time ceramic sculptor was put on hold while I focused on getting through one procedure at a time. I wasn’t able to do much but I did draw and it resulted in about 90 illustrations of my process of fighting breast cancer.

More Reading: Rosemary Griggs Clay Art

Rosemary Griggs

Rosemary Griggs

As a fourth generation southern artist living on Saint Simons Island, my daily work commute consists of walking out the back door, past the koi pond and bird feeders, through the garden and into a very special place - my slightly skewed studio. I’m joined by a host of eager, four-legged “studio assistants” ready to greet another day. A full time potter since 1997, I continue to stretch the clay to new extremes as my signature style of hand built ceramics evolves. With depictions of plants, animals, fish and human forms, often united in liberating ways, my art is rooted in and inspired by the natural world. Using several different hand building techniques, I create both sculptural and functional works that often combine incongruous themes within the same piece. My family’s creative influence has played a huge role in my life. Clay and dirt are as inbedded in my soul as in my fingernails. With family art decorating our home and gardens, my husband’s mandolin music ringing throughout the house and now our daughter in the process of making her artistic mark, I count myself very fortunate to come from a family whose creativity continues to roll from one generation to the next.