What Is A Belly Cast And How Do I Get One?
When I first stumbled upon Dana’s work, I was blown away to find out that these beautiful bowls were not actually made of wood and porcelain, but were actually painted plaster. Then to find out that they were casts of pregnant bellies–mind blown! There is such an art to recreating textures, and you all know how much I love milestone props that show baby’s growth through their first year, so these were just so perfect! She even makes them with a flat bottom so they are safer for photo shoots! Read on for more details…
What The Heck Is A Belly Cast? Belly Bowl? Tell Me More!
It always amazes me how many times I come across people who haven’t heard about belly casting. It’s even harder to explain to them what I do without pictures, but this is how it usually goes:
– “I cast pregnant bellies. You know, like with plaster bandages that the hospital uses to cast a broken leg. And I turn those casts into bowls… Yes, bowls. Still don’t see it? Ok, well I take a mold of your belly (just your belly), then I cover that in layers of plaster, sand it a whole lot to make it smooth, prime it, and then paint it to look like whatever you want. I can make it look like a wooden bowl, or a glazed ceramic bowl, or metal, or stone…”
– “Really? Okay, cool.“
– “You can’t picture it, can you…? Sounds kind of arts and crafts right? Well, I guess the only way for you to really picture it is for you to actually see it.”
So I show them photos like these:
The most common reaction is a response along the lines of “OOOHH! Wow, I couldn’t picture it, but that is so cool!”.
I’ve been casting pregnant women for over 18 years, and each time it’s a new experience and honor. I love the challenge of creating new, unique designs for each mother. The opportunities are endless. If you are pregnant and you would like the experience of getting your belly casted, here’s what to expect:
The best time to cast your belly is around 37 weeks; too early and your belly will not be big enough, too late and you might miss your chance with an early delivery.
You can either come to my studio in Ottawa, or I can come to your home to do the initial casting. The best part is that you don’t need to worry about planning anything; I bring everything we need. The process is very quick; approximately 20 minutes. Your belly is coated in vaseline and then strips of plaster bandages are placed in layers on your belly. Once we have enough layers, we wait a few minutes for the cast to dry. Once dry, it’s very easy to remove and then all that’s left for you is to clean up your belly, while I clean the mess (if any).
I then take the cast (mold of your belly) home to coat in plaster and build it up until it is strong. We can discuss many design ideas, and I create a unique piece for you to enjoy forever. This process can take up to 4-6 weeks to complete for elaborate designs.
Once you receive your bowl, you can bring it to your newborn photo shoot and get fabulous images, like these ones captured by Stephanie from Pure Natural Newborn Photography. Having a baby sitting in their belly bowl as they get older (don’t forget to bring the bowl back for your milestone sessions!), truly shows just how small your baby was, and how much they have grown in the few months that have passed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dana Cote is an Ottawa based multimedia artist. Her unique casts of pregnant bellies, and busts of breast cancer survivors have been featured in magazines and on television. She has a history of working with many mediums. A self taught artist with a passion for melding the spiritual with the physical in her many drawings, paintings and sculptures.