Faye Browne has always painted, but after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, it became a way to express how she felt and in doing so has helped her heal.
While her day-to-day job as fashion designer/business owner is creative in and of itself, cancer brought a new need to use creative expression in terms of self-discovery.
Faye was all ready to go on holiday in 2012 when she was initially diagnosed.
“At that moment, my whole world disappeared.”
Faye attended the inaugural Gawler Foundation Breast Cancer retreat (“Boob Camp”) in August 2013 after undergoing surgery, radiotherapy, medication and breast reconstruction.
She found camaraderie in the all-women group, one of whom was another artist.
“I fell in love with these women. The space created and energy of the place was very healing. I meditated and faked it till I made it…I was dreading the meditation, but of course it became the biggest healer.”
“The pain wasn’t physical.”
Faye looked within and found herself in the midst of deeply emotional exploration. “I’ve allowed myself to cry a lot…and I do a heck of a lot of laughing too.”
Creativity has helped.
“The quiet space of creating helps, it’s quite special. There is more emotion in my (painting) work now…I’ve got my canvasses ready to do a series.” The first of this series is featured on the page opposite.
Her creativity extended outward as well as inward. While still in treatment she made herself the subject of a giant photo collage to raise awareness for breast cancer month in October 2013. These photos (featured here and on the cover) appeared blown-up large in the windows of her fashion stores in Melbourne – Motto – for the whole month.
“Posing for and then seeing the photos was raw and real. It was moving how others responded and it was personally both confronting and healing to put myself out there in that way.”
Faye also expressed her creativity through a new avenue – writing. She started a blog on Facebook – The C-word Diaries. It has become yet another source of self-expression, as well as a way to connect with new friends, old friends and family.
“All my relationships have gotten deeper.” says Faye.
“Life is different now and I’m ready for it.”
Faye is the star of our summer appeal, see the back page for more.