The Art of Adam Schultz

At a small mountain-town holiday festival this past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting acclaimed sculptor, Adam Schultz, who was offering a demonstration on his latest piece-in-process, ‘Octopus Princess’, at a local gallery there.  After having shared online correspondence only, it was nice for he and I to finally meet face-to-face and discuss life, love, art and our mutual zaftig philosophy.

Adam and Me

 

'Olive'

I first became familiar with Adam’s bronze Goddess Series earlier this year, when I visited Stoneheart Gallery for a group show titled “Every Body’s Beautiful,” showcasing the diversity of body types through various art mediums. I immediately fell in love with ‘Olive’, whose smile, relaxed pose and candid demeanor quickly captured my heart.

At the time, I appreciated ‘Olive’ to be zaftig whimsy at its finest, however, the Enchanted Zaftig concept had not fully formed in my mind yet.  

It wasn’t until many months later that I became re-aquainted with Adam’s work, when he joined the Enchanted Zaftig Facebook page. Sifting through his photos, I was delighted to see that he was the creator of ‘Olive’ ~ and countless other pieces which are equally resplendent in their voluptuous beauty.

Adam and I share a sympatico philosophy: uplift the zaftig form while bringing awareness to the world.  

“Artwork is one of the best ways I know of to help raise consciousness and change the world. :-) I figure that the more size-positive images of people we get out there, the sooner people will start to realize that there is more beauty to be seen in people everywhere than the one, narrow definition of ‘beautiful’ the media has been feeding us the past 80 years or so.”    

'Prince Charming'

'Pandora'

 

'Kiss Me'

 

'Fibonacci's Girl'

 

'Galatea'

 

“My dream is to install a large-scale, celebratory and beautifully abundant sculpture, wrought in bronze, in every country on the planet.”

I would love to see that dream come to fruition. Art really does carry the power to change people’s perceptions.  Wouldn’t it be great to have the message be a positive one?

'Octopus Princess'

Adam’s latest creation, ‘Octopus Princess, will take a bit of a turn from his usual ladies in the  Goddess collection; she will encompass both beauty and a sense of eeriness ~ a woman-beast, shrouded in mystery and sensuality. I wish I had taken a photo of her backside, because the octopus’ eyes are cleverly planted on her curvaceous derriere. I look forward to seeing the final piece once it has been cast.

Be sure to check back, or visit the Enchanted Zaftig Facebook page, to see the sculpture when it is complete.

You can view other works by Adam, including non-zaftig bronze and stone sculptures, by visiting his website: 

http://www.adamsculpture.com/index.html 

Also be sure to visit:

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On Becoming A Pin-up Girl (Part II)

“The reason you don’t see a good representation of full-figured women on our website or in our studio is because, more often than not, those women won’t give us permission to do so […] and they are the very subjects who look the best in boudoir photographs.”

~ Melissa Lazar, deBoudoir, LLC 

How unfortunate to experience a moment of liberation and beauty and yet be too embarrassed to share the results! Zaftig ladies, why not allow your captured moment to be shared with other women who might, as a result, feel uplifted by your show of courage? Or, better yet, be inspired themselves to shed their hesitations, slip into something cute and sexy and embrace their femininity for an afternoon ~ or for an eternity, even? 

This is why, when asked by Melissa while perusing my portfolio if I would give deBoudoir permission to use some of my photos on their website, I replied with an exuberant, “YES!” Because if there is even a slight chance that I might inspire women of size while simultaneously breaking down societal walls of prejudice and shame, then by all means… let me contribute!

 

 

(On a side note: As of yet, I do not have the bulk of photos from this shoot, but as soon as they are available to me, I will post more. So stay tuned!)

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On Becoming A Pin-Up Girl

This past weekend, I peeled off the last vestiges of my timidity and revealed myself in a whole new light: I took part in an intimate boudoir photography session.

BOUDOIR
: a woman’s dressing room, bedroom, or private sitting room
 

After seeing zaftig women on the internet photographed in beautiful and sensuous ways, and after a local coupon for a boudoir photo shoot was brought to my attention by a girlfriend, I felt inspired to overcome my trepidations and join the zaftig community of pin-up dolls. Afterall, I love to tell you ladies to go out there and get ’em, release your fears, embrace your curves and live life to the fullest, so what better way to set an example than to bare some serious skin and become a contortionist in front of the camera?

The coupon I purchased was good for a one-hour session and included four outfit changes. For an extra fee, someone could do my hair and makeup. A male friend of mine graciously contributed to the “Make Her Beautiful” fund, which was a relief, as a big fancy hairdo and the fine art of makeup application has never been my forte. 

Prior to the appointment, I spent a great deal of time trying to decide what on earth my four outfits were going to be. Corsets? Bra and panties? Sexy clothing? How does one determine such important factors? I tried on many items within the course of a few days… with jewelry, with hair accessories, with gloves, with stockings. I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to do it RIGHT (including indulging in a pedicure and manicure the night before, because one can’t very well walk into a photography studio without pretty nails!)  

Admittedly, the morning of the shoot, my nerves were a bit frazzled ~ I’ve never been in a photography session, and the thought was, well, a bit daunting. Afterall, I would soon be strutting my scantily clad self in front of perfect strangers, allowing them to take snapshots of me while I struggled to “act natural” in front of the camera. Kind of like sending a bull into a china shop.  I ended up shoving an assortment of corsets, bras and panties, along with a plethora of accessories, into a big shopping bag and figured I would just wing the costume changes once I got there.

When I arrived at the private residence which housed deBoudoir, I was greeted at the door by a very charming young woman named Carmela, who welcomed me in with a smile and immediately took care of me, giving me paperwork to fill out before ushering me downstairs to start in on my hair and makeup. Following behind her, I glanced at the many photographs adorning the walls which showcased a multitude of women in lingerie and decadent poses. They were all very lovely. And all perfectly thin.

Had this company never photographed a plump woman before? Or had they simply chosen not to showcase her? What a shame not to include this body type in their display! Surely, this would make a zaftig woman feel a little more at ease when visiting the studio. I shall make mention of this when I return to review the photos… 

Standing in the makeup room, Carmela asked what look I was interested in achieving, and I heartily replied, “Pin-up girl!” to which she clapped in delight. Typically, she said, clients request smoky, bedroom eyes with very neutral tones and nude lipstick. Carmela preferred dolling the ladies up more, and was excited to give me the “Marilyn Monroe” look.

We spent the next hour chatting incessantly while she proceeded to mold me into a pin-up girl ~ cat eyes, bright red lipstick and deliciously curly hair. We discussed my inspiration to be there, and I explained my blog to her and also the fact that after my divorce, I’ve been continuing to venture outside of my comfort zone and find ways to blossom further as a zaftig woman. Being a tad plump herself (but hardly!) Carmela said that she could relate to my thoughts and was quite interested and excited about the blog. We shared the philosophy that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

After meticulous preparation, I was finally given the opportunity to glance at my reflection in the mirror. I was stunned at the woman looking back at me.  Who in the world was that?! I appeared nothing like myself. And yet, I did ~ an accentuated, vibrant version of myself. The inner sex kitten had surfaced! Pleased at the transformation, I gave Carmela a hug and thanked her for her expertise.

When it came time for my outfit changes to commence, I stepped into a very pretty little restroom complete with scented candles burning and pulled out Outfit #1: a classy, sexy, satin bustier with black lace trim and a satin ribbon. I added black ruffled panties, a few pieces of jewelry, elbow-length velvet gloves and a pair of very high-heeled black shoes that somehow, miraculously, I could stand in. I took a deep breath, opened the door, and entered into the studio on wobbly, but stable, feet. 

Carmela took one look at me and  shrieked her approval. The photographer, Julie, added her own exuberant response and helped me tie the satin ribbon around my bustier. As I stood there, heavy cleavage and thick, cellulite-laden curves exposed to the world, I knew that there was no going back. I was fully committed and ready to grab the opportunity with both hands  to make it the best experience I could possibly make it. 

And under the warmth of the studio lights and the tutelage of a well-seasoned photographer, my fears began to slowly melt away. I found myself pleasantly immersed in the challenge of becoming a pin-up girl…

 

(Stay tuned for further thoughts on this subject, as well as… PHOTOS!)
 

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Your Worth

Never settle
For the man who purports to adore you
Who worships and reveres you and touches you in the darkness
But hesitates to proclaim his affection for you in the daylight.
For you are worth far more than that, Beautiful One.
… You are worth the moon and the stars and an entire symphony of song
You are worth the adoration of a man who will delight in your presence
Fully and completely, without reservation.
You are worth LOVE.

©2011 Enchanted Zaftig

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Not For The Shape of Your Vessel

“You are not your bra-size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Your shoe-size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not your mustache. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress.
You are no amalgam of these things.
You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one.
You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries.”
~ Michael Wriston 

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The Art of Juan Alcantara

Lately, I have been blessed with unexpected opportunities to connect with several amazing zaftig artists.

Juan Alcantara, creator of the provocative and lovely “Bottoms Up (Reprised)” painting which decorates the header of my blog here, recently connected with me via the internet. I’ve since had the great pleasure of corresponding with him and viewing more of his work, which I am delighted to share with you.

Red Headed Beauty

Tan Line

 
Juan appreciates the zaftig form without apology and displays his admiration in bold and exceptional ways. Even in quick sketches, he captures the innate beauty of each woman he draws.
 

Well, It's About Time

What?

Lovely Woman

Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

 

“I believe that inside every skinny woman there is a round, plump, full-figured woman just waiting to get out. Or at least there should be.”  ~ Juan Alcantara 

 

For further examples of Juan’s work, including non-zaftig illustrations and paintings, visit Juan Alcantara.

 

 

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The Photo That Facebook Deleted

Early yesterday, I posted this photo on the Enchanted Zaftig Facebook page. My intent was to encourage a conversation about it ~ what do you see? what do you think? how do you feel? Occasionally, I post photos of social importance to stimulate responses from the Enchanted Zaftig community and to help us grow and learn as a society.

This particular photo received what was quite possibly the highest number of  responses I have yet to see on the Facebook profile. Approximately 11 new people joined the page yesterday, adding comments of sadness, disbelief, confusion, even positive reinforcement about how beautiful they think this woman really is.

Yes, it’s a simple photo ~ black and white, some words scribbled on the subject’s torso ~ and yet the symbolism is profound. She’s thanking someone, the world perhaps, for hating her body, for making her feel inferior, for causing her emotional pain. You can see it clearly in her eyes. In the heaviness of her shoulders. Across her forehead should be written: “Low self-esteem”.  

This photo drips with sarcasm and sorrow.

At some point in the night, Facebook decided that it needed to be deleted, due to violation of their Rights and Responsibilities code (*gasp* there are nipples showing!) Although I respect and understand Facebook’s policy, I wish that it could be focused more upon pornographic nudity rather than on such a poignant portrayal of one woman’s self-loathing that sadly mirrors a large majority of our population.

It is a photo meant to inspire a conversation, not masturbation.

So here I am… posting it on the Enchanted Zaftig blog, where it will (hopefully) not be censored or removed.

Please feel free to share your comments below:

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Nurse Grumpy and the Elephant Blanket

About a month and a half ago, I scheduled a routine physical examination at my doctor’s office. I had been experiencing some odd heart palpitations for a couple of days, which were unusual and disconcerting to me; although I attributed the heart flutterings more to stress and lack of good sleep than anything else, I knew that I should get checked. It had been years since I’d had a physical.

A new doctor had taken over the practice, and this was fine as I had never been tied to a particular doctor anyway. I was not, however, prepared to meet the new nurse ~ a petite, late-forties woman who ushered me into the back room and proceeded to treat me like the dirt beneath her shoes rather than a patient.

In my adult years, I have rarely, if ever, been teased, degraded or made to feel bad about my weight. Perhaps I’ve been lucky. Or, perhaps, I’ve had the pleasure of not being surrounded by unkind people. The attitude of this nurse was new to me. As she attempted to check my blood pressure, she became irritated that she couldn’t get a proper reading and swiftly exited the room, announcing, “I’ll have to go get the LARGE arm cuff.”

After she left, I sat on the examination table, shaking my head and giggling to myself.

Had she really just said that..?

Upon returning with the larger cuff, the nurse successfully read my blood pressure  and noted that it was a bit high. Later, the doctor wrote me a prescription for blood pressure medication, which was disheartening; I’ve never had high blood pressure, and the diagnosis made me think that perhaps my health was not as good as I’d thought. The doctor, although friendly enough, additionally spent several minutes discussing the merits of weight loss, handing me nutrition pamphlets and prompting me to look into a program like Weight Watchers. Despite my explanation that diets don’t work for me, she continued with her obligatory rhetoric. I just nodded and accepted the proferred pamphlets.

When it came time for the most enjoyable part of the physical examination, the pap smear, I was asked to strip out of my clothes and don the customary medical gown, which I did without second thought. Admittedly, the clothing was a bit small for me, but considering we were all females, I am naturally untimid, and I was going to have my legs spread open to the world anyway, I wasn’t too concerned about it.

The nurse, however, was not so comfortable with my half-clad appearance. Upon re-entering the room, she took one look at me and said, “Oh, you’re going to need a MUCH BIGGER GOWN,” and promptly disappeared, returning a moment later with a gown that was so huge, it could have passed for an elephant blanket. Literally.

I changed into the new attire without complaint, because, for me, it truly didn’t matter. However, when the nurse returned, eyeballing me once more and saying in a condescending tone, “Ohhh, that’s MUCH better now, isn’t it?” I realized that this woman needed a good ol’ slap to the face.

However, I refrained from doing so.

It is my belief that my curvaceous, zaftig body probably intimidated and frightened her; she knew that I could smother her on the floor with one swift movement. Perhaps, secretly, she even wanted me to. But I chose to smile at this unhappy, petite little woman and exude the positive energy that is naturally within me. Because that’s who I am, and that’s how I roll.

Once leaving the appointment, I mulled over the ridiculousness of the nurse’s attitude and thought, “You know, if I wasn’t a self-confident person, that interaction back there would probably have left me in tears.”

Fortunately, it did not. But what it did leave me with was a sour taste in my mouth. I hated to think that other patients were treated this way ~ people who might be much more sensitive about their weight and much less forgiving.  I contemplated writing a letter of complaint to the doctor, outlining the incident.  But I also considered giving the nurse the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she’d just had a really bad day (although, that would still be no excuse for treating a patient in such an insolent manner.)

I made the decision to wait until my follow-up appointment to see if there was improvement with her demeanor. In the meantime, I filled my blood pressure prescription and contemplated my health and my life, trying to come to terms with the fact that my body may not be as healthy as I’d imagined. Perhaps my weight was negatively affecting my well-being, despite my thoughts to the contrary. I am ashamed to say that I began to harbor some self-doubts, viewing my reflection in the mirror a little differently ~ not liking what I saw so much.

When it was time for my follow-up appointment, I arrived at the office surprisingly calm. The doubts and anxiety I had been experiencing seemed to have dissipated. I guess I’d decided that whatever the outcome of my tests, I would face the challenges head-on and remain optimistic. 

So when my favorite nurse appeared to usher me into the room, I greeted her with a sparkling smile. And, lo-and-behold, she somewhat reciprocated the notion. Although far from friendly, her patronizing attitude had vanished. Not a single snide remark escaped her lips as she checked my vitals. She even managed a little smile when she asked, “So how are you doing today, honey?”

Honey..? 

I ruminated over this term of endearment until my doctor appeared with pages of lab results in her hand. Spreading them out on the examination table like a hand of playing cards, she looked at me with a slight smile and said, “Your numbers are better than 90% of the patients that come into this office.” I could hear the surprise in her voice. Could see the amazement in her eyes. I was healthy ~ and she was eating crow.

No further mention of Weight Watchers or nutritional information was discussed with me. We decided to re-evaluate my blood pressure in a couple of months, and I left the office feeling quite victorious, half-tempted to flip everyone off and shout, “Take THAT, you bitches!”

However, I refrained from doing so. Because that’s who I am, and that’s how I roll.

In retrospect, I think perhaps the nurse had shown some kindness to me in the end because she’d been privy to my lab results. Perhaps she’d had an epiphany that revealed how obesity doesn’t always equal unhealthiness. Or… perhaps she really had just had a bad day on that initial visit.

Whatever the case, hopefully she’ll think twice now before offering  patients the elephant blanket.

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Ceres

Here is a poem for the season ~ like a zaftig ode to Autumn: bountiful, curvaceous, round, pumpkiny. A succulent feast!  

by Lesleigh Owen  © 2006

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Autumn’s smooth, puffy bronze cheeks,
 salty sweet chin
 Gently creaking sounds of awakening,
 Bones groaning like the cracking
 of a rusty cellar door,
 Autumn, with her dusty-wheat-scented breaths,
 whose round, curving, gently drooping body
 polishes the world into
 smooth, gray contours

 Her eyes,
 like newly-discovered amber
 with never-popped air bubbles,
 warm the room like vanilla-scented candlelight
 as she envelops the world in her
 spicy rolls of flesh

 Summer’s not the time for me:
 Sunlight that casts angular shadows in wide-open mouths
 No more feeling the scrape of sand
 sloughing over my dense curves,
 trying to whittle down my folds of flesh
 into smooth, plastic expanses of cookie cutter skin
 No more poppy-scented laughs
 that chime like dissonant dinner bells
 and abrade my delicate ears

 Bright white light
 Take away my sight
 Thin, hungry, sweaty bodies,
 arms shaking, smiles flaking, biceps quaking
 Frozen in flashes of sunlight on teeth
 False idols of perfection
 that die before they can ever
 live a full-bodied life

Autumn, that sweet, round, wise, dangerous old woman
 arrives slyly in her orange, Cinderella-like pumpkin –
 as round and majestic as people –
 tossing dried, crackling, russet leaves like confetti or candy:
“Throw me something, grandmother!”

Autumn: Happy, crisp, nutmeg, rounded season
 My mouth opens and closes in happy little O’s
 over words like “orange” and “clove,”
 circular, bouncing words,
 round, rich, and warm.
 Leaves bend and snap beneath my ponderous weight
 while the scent of earth weaves like cinnamon
 through my sinuses.

 Yawning, indolent light puffs gently through
 twisted branches and desiccated leaves,
 shining golden orange
 like heaps of buttered, cinnamon-scented, steaming mashed yams
 or lightly-oiled strings of spaghetti squash

 Walking this cooling, linear stretch of sidewalk,
 I am tempted to bite into the toothy, yellow winds
 that crease around my body like well-starched sheets,
 to jump high and far,
 passing through the low-hanging laundry
 snapping in the sky,
 jump miles away from all scents of limestone and exhaust,
 to throw my gray, woolen poncho over the clouds
 and roll in the decaying scent of leaves
 that stick to my face
 like allspice on a baker’s hands

 I can finally breathe beneath this nubby grayness
 that stretches like a fluffy headscarf
 over the dome of the sky.

 Seasonal bounty,
 Harvest time, time for rest
 Shelving our immature dreams
 And discovering reverence for plenty

 At night, I eat ginger carrot soup for supper
 and slurp pumpkin custard from heirloom dishes
 My squash-shaped body, –
 honored for its softness,
 its abundance,
 its life-affirming heaviness –
 snuggles into the scratchy red blanket
 crocheted for me by my mother
 while I bounce children and tradition
 on my plump, arthritic knees
 and sip cocoa and warm candlelight.

 Fatness and autumn:
 Round, pumpkiny, bountiful:
 A sensual feast

Fatness and autumn, –
lush and earth-scented as mounds of warm flesh –
dance together in gentle spirals
 like leaves in a windstorm

 Come evening time, Autumn and I sit
 like old friends,
cackling on the front porch,
 bellies bouncing together
 while heavy, purple mugs of chamomile tea
 warm our loving, generous,
 fleshy hands.

Autumn Woman ~ Tali Marotz

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He Floats

He floats in and out

Like wings, like dreams

Brushing past my skin in tender touches

And quiet whispers

Swirling in speculation like a leaf caught in a whirlpool

Or a bird circling the clouds

The Caress ~ Jea Dovoe

With presence both tangible and elusive,

He is wrapped tightly in an illusion I cannot reach

In an existence I cannot share

Yet still I cling to the notion that one day he will return

To brush past my skin in tender touches

And quiet whispers.

©2011 Enchanted Zaftig

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