Free the Nipple

This ongoing project explores bodily boundaries and social becomings within intimate care through the nipple as a threshold and interface during breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a complex and often controversial topic grounded in tensions between desire and disgust, sexuality and sustenance. In navigating these tensions, this project peruses an ongoing journey of intimate care to understand the becomings of multiple bodies and the vital force of breast milk. I start with my own postpartum breasts as a strange interface between myself as a mother, my breastfeeding baby, and an intimate co-caretaker.

I currently have two design explorations: Bras for Lopsided Breasts and Fiddling Necklaces from Breast Milk. More process images can also be found on my blog and instagram.

Bras for Lopsided Breasts

This exploration is inspired by a noticing by myself and my partner around 10 months postpartum of one breast often appearing significantly larger than the other. We attribute this to one nipple having always had a much quicker milk release, and thus perceived by us to be preferred by our baby. As none of my bras do not account for the dynamic asymmetry of my post-partum lactating body, I am knitting bras for lopsided breasts and from them extracting new knitting patterns.

Bra for Lopsided Breasts

Bra for Lopsided Breasts configuration diagram

Fiddling Necklaces from Breast Milk

My desire to make a fiddling necklace is grounded within my own physical and social frustrations during
which my toddler wants to fiddle with the other nipple while breastfeeding. While this discomfort drove the initial inspiration, I further desired for the hard components of the necklaces to be made from preserved and solidified breast milk, or milk plastic. In this way, by temporarily taking away the other nipple, I am reciprocating something else of the breast in return. Material experiments include making casein plastic from cow’s milk and exploring third-party proprietary chemical techniques purchased online to preserve my breast milk.

Breastfeeding fiddling necklace designs

Designing with cow and breast milk explorations