Trying my hand at belly casts…

I also am able to paint your blank belly cast to something meaningful to you!  I have a BFA in illustration and use it to work with you and your vision for the cast.

Cost:

1.  All over color (you can add more decorations yourself if you’d like): $50

2.  All over color plus a simple design on the belly:  $100-175

3.  All over color plus a mural of your choice:  $175 and up

For #2 and #3 the fee is $40 an hour plus materials.

To give you an idea of how long things cost, the below “Tree of Life” mural took 26.5 hours to complete plus $30 in materials.  This is a very elaborate piece, the most elaborate I’ve ever done, and is on the more expensive end of the spectrum.  The second cast (blue with the vines) took me about 10 hours plus $30 of materials.  These represent the middle and high-end of the range.   Contact me and I can definitely create something within your budget!

The first cast is Brandy’s cast.  She wanted to incorporate a tree of life, sparrows, a “mother” symbol, her son’s zodiac symbol (Cancer), a labyrinth (which turned into a beautiful placenta), and a mandala.

View my process!  Click here to see a slide show of the cast going from blank to decorated.

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The birds are the Jamaican doctor birds, a hummingbird with a really long tail.  This baby is half-Jamaican and mama wanted to add something from that country (also the Rasta colors and blue like the Carribbean)

Jamie with her henna belly

Jamie with her henna belly

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Beautiful Birth Art

Amanda Greavette

Amanda Greavette

I stumbled upon a wonderful Canadian artist, Amanda Greavette, who does lots of paintings depicting beautiful scenes of birth.  *Sigh* if I only had time or a place to paint! *sniff!*

Mother Blessings/Blessingways

In lieu of traditional baby showers, more and more women are planning Mother Blessings or Blessingways for the mother-to-be.   Unlike a baby shower, where the focus is on the baby, Mother Blessings celebrate the upcoming birth of woman into motherhood!  Birth is a rite of passage for many women and it’s great to show our support of her in her journey.  I also have two books, Mother Rising and Blessingways, in my library.

Here are some ideas of things you can do pamper the mother-to-be in your life.

  1. Start by naming the mothers in your lineage (children, mother, grandmothers, great grandmothers).  If you want you can link all of your wrists together with yarn or ribbon.  After everyone shares their lineage the ribbon is cut to make bracelets.  If you like, you can keep the ribbon on until the woman goes into labor to keep her in mind and support her.
  2. Cleanse the air with a sage smudge stick or salt lamp.
  3. Give the mom a relaxing foot soak or massage.
  4. Make the pregnant woman’s favorite food.
  5. Bring a “Bead and Seed.” Everyone brings a special bead and something from nature to symbolize the life growing inside her.  The beads are made into a bracelet that the mother wears until labor is over.
  6. Henna, of course, is my favorite addition to this! It’s particularly fun when the stain is still visible when the mother goes into labor.
  7. Think about hiring a belly dancer or take a belly dance class with friends.  Belly dancing was originally only for women dancing for women during labor, to show them how to use their abdominal muscles to move the baby out.
  8. Do some sort of fire/water/sand ceremony where each guest either lights a candle, pours a cup of scented water into a bowl, or layers colored sand in a glass while sharing a bit of advice or well-wishing (you can also do this with presenting your bead). You can pour the water into a special vial and keep it as a reminder of the support of your friends.
  9. If your friends have had children already, share a birth experience of your own.
  10. Instead of decorating onesies like so many baby showers do these days, have your guests decorate a square of fabric to be sewn into a blanket.
  11. You can even send the fabric out with the invitations. If you have the party early enough, you can finish the blanket or pillow case by the time the mother starts labor to remind her of the women who stand behind her.  A less time intensive option is to decorate a pillow case with positive birth phrases, encouragement, and quotes.
  12. Do a belly cast to preserve her shapeshift into motherhood.  You can purchase kits online and decorate them after they harden.  Some people put the baby’s hand prints on the belly after the baby is born or paint them with an image that is meaningful to them.  You can also have guests at the Mother Blessing decorate the belly themselves.  Another option is to hire a professional lifecaster to do the cast for you.  Unlike do-it-yourself kits where the finished product is the strips of plaster and gauze, lifecasting creates an exact replica of yourself by creating a cast and pouring medium into it (see right).  It’s definitely the more beautiful option, but also more expensive (around $150-300).  Some lifecasters in Denver are Chris Guarino, or to find other artists you can visit the Association of Lifecasters.
  13. Make a “Help” list where the guests can sign up to do chores or bring meals after the baby is born.
  14. Make a “Belly Bowl.” Some casting studios in your area may have the option to make a cast from the mom’s belly and turn it into either a bronze or ceramic bowl.  With the ceramic bowls you can decorate them yourself before firing.  With the bronze bowls you can choose different patinas (bronze finishes) and it “rings” when struck to the individual tone of mom and baby.