Sophie Hochwald

BFA in Art & Design

Journeys with BRCA

In Journeys With BRCA, I explore my relationship with the Breast Cancer genetic mutation (BRCA) through a textile-based installation and series of manipulated personal artifacts. BRCA is a genetic mutation that increases the likelihood of developing certain cancers; such as breast and ovarian. Within my own narrative, both my grandmothers, my grandmother’s sister, my four aunts on both sides of my family, and my mother have all been diagnosed with this genetic mutation, and this year I will be tested for it for the first time.

Utilizing different textile design explorations, which includes one tapestry for each family member, I created a physical manifestation of my own status as a potential “previvor” set within and among each of my affected family members. I hand-crafted these textiles, using slow-paced techniques such as hand embroidery and screen-printing to weave a personal connection into the handmade “skin” fabrics. This slow-paced creation process reflects the slow-growing BRCA mutation, which gradually changes its victims’ lives and bodies across generations of time. This installation of handmade textiles aims to connect with viewers who share similar stories of fear and empowerment and educates and informs those who do not.

This online flipbook documents the installation of handmade tapestries and the manipulated personal artifacts that belong to my family members.

This video walks you through the installation of hanging handmade tapestries.