Shannon, Essex UK

Shannon, a young mum from Rayleigh Essex, was inspired by how my frames bring the baby and placenta back together outside the womb. For this reason she decided to use the first ever picture of Freddie-Lee taken just moments after he arrived. 

Shannon's placenta was super tiny measuring only 14cm, but then, her little one Freddie-Lee weighed less than 6lbs. I made her a 4’x6’ portrait frame with a black back and inscribed with Freddie-Lee’s name and date of birth in white.

From the pictures above I think it's safe to say Freddie-Lee was impressed with his Placenta Photo Frame although this wasn’t the only thing I made. I also created a small trinket box to keep Freddie-Lee’s, first lock of hair, baby teeth and even his umbilical cord which I preserved and shaped.

On top of this, Shannon was the first client to test my body casting skills. I created a cast of Freddie-Lee’s foot and hand.  To start with, little Freddie was not impressed, but he certainly came round to the idea and in the end wasn't phased at all. The material I used to cast with is rubber based and completely child safe, once I take the cast it is a simple case of washing the body part.

Freddie-Lee’s casts were mounted onto handmade plastic disks with his name and date of birth matching the Placenta Photo Frame perfectly.

Finally, Shannon wanted something to represent their family as a whole and commissioned me to create a family cast of Mum, Dad and Freddie-Lee in a hand clasp.  This is the first time I had attempted casting three hands at once but it went perfectly.

All of us couldn’t have been happier with the result, Shannon sent me the above picture to show off how she had gone about displaying it.

Sarah, Birmingham UK

Febuary 2016

Ever since Sarah had a little boy back in April 2011 she kept her placenta in the freezer. When I asked Sarah why she had held on to it for so long, she explained, “I decided to keep the placenta because I think it's function is amazing, my body created it so my baby could live. I couldn't do it a disservice by incinerating it with a load of hospitals waste. We thought about eating it but that felt too weird. I had planned to plant it with a tree but we'd have to leave when we moved. My friend sent me a link to an article about you and I thought it would be perfect to have it made in to photo frame.” 

Sarah lives in Birmingham, but has family in London so whilst she visited the south we met at Euston Station and I collected her placenta which was really rather small measuring a diameter of only 15cm.

Once I had completed Sarah’s frame 4'x6' portrait frame with a black reverse she had a trustworthy friend who collected it from my house and held on to it until Sarah’s next visit to London. 

Although Sarah was extremely happy with the frame, I feel it is only right to mention that once she opened the box the frame had incurred some minor defects. Unfortunately due to it being enclosed for some time the bubble wrap I used caused a reaction. To think a frame was not up to scratch was incredible disappointing for me; however I am pleased to say it was a lesson learnt. I now use a completely different quality wrap and include gels to capture the moisture. Sarah was extremely understanding of the situation and I managed to smooth out all the imperfections therefore in the end it was a success. 

Finally I met Sarah at Euston Station to hand back her Placenta Photo Frame and she was thrilled, Sarah’s tiny ruby red placenta had created beautiful tones. 

Audrey, London UK

June 2015

Audrey gave birth over a year ago and she kept her placenta safe in the freezer. She ordered a 4" x 6" Placenta Photo Frame in black. Because Audrey was based in London I collected her placenta, from her home address, and delivered her completed Placenta Photo Frame both in person.

Audrey's placenta:  Audrey's placenta when frozen was approximately 20cm in length, so from my knowledge fairly average, yet shrank a lot during the dehydration process; weighing only 64g once dehydrated. Originally, she was only going to use half her placenta but luckily changed her mind.

Audrey's placenta has created the most colourful Placenta Photo Frame yet with an incredible range of brown tones. So far everyone's placenta has been different but compared to Audrey's, all others have been far darker.

Audrey: "I really love the frame; I sent a pic to my midwife too. Thank you. It's going to be a talking point in our house for years to come. I'm happy my placenta has been put to good use and will be on display forever- if I have any more babies I know where to come!"

Laura, Essex UK

February 2015

Whilst pregnant, in October 2014 Laura contacted me, to request a ‘Free Information Pack’. Laura was intrigued by the Placenta Photo Frame.

Laura: “I saw your details in one of the baby magazines (I can't remember which one, I've been reading a few recently!) and thought it was a great idea. It will definitely be a conversation starter!”

Laura was due over Christmas but I wasted no time and happily worked this busy period. On the 27th of December I collected Laura’s placenta from her home and began creating her Placenta Photo Frame. Since giving birth to a little girl Laura had kept her placenta in the freezer.

Laura was my first and only client to go for a pink version. Being the first to go for a colour other than black, I won’t lie, I was a little worried. However, after seeing the result, I feel the splash of colour really brought the Placenta Photo Frame to life. Great choice Laura!

Laura's placenta: Reddish brown in colour, Laura’s placenta seemed pretty healthy to me. Obviously, that’s not a scientific fact but through comparing clients, this is my thought on the matter. Laura’s placenta was roughly 19cm long when frozen and once dehydrated weighed 104g. So, again from my own knowledge, this was an average sized placenta.

Once Laura’s 5" x 7” pink Placenta Photo Frame arrived safely she was more than happy.

Laura: "It looks great, It has pride of place in our living room and is always a talking point whenever people come round!"

Ulrika, Brighton UK - My First Mum-to-be

December 2013

In 2013 Ulrika was very excited to announce she was pregnant with her second child which was to be a baby girl. Already being a mother to her first daughter Ulrika was aware of the following nine months and what was going to be involved.

Ulrika and I met through The University of Brighton whilst I was studying. Working as the Technical Demonstrator within the Ceramics Department, Ulrika has always been very supportive of my style of work, therefore, when I contacted her to ask the fundamental question of; would she like to be my first mum-to-be? She was delighted and for her own interesting reasons she agreed to help. 

My original work was a prototype using an animal placenta, so Ulrika is not only my first mum-to-be but her placenta is also to be the first human placenta I will have used.

Ulrika previously did an MA in Sustainable Design and felt the use of 'materials' like those in my project were issues close to her heart.

Ulrika: "To think of waste in a completely new way as raw materials hold huge potential.
This is something that is happening in a variety of industries. We even have an on-going project at the University of a house that is being built from a variety of post-consumer waste. Why not use human waste too where possible?
In this age where we have a growing population and natural resources are getting scarcer, we absolutely have to start thinking of new ways to use the resources around us. I recently read that Sweden is looking to import several hundred thousand tonnes of waste to burn for energy. They now have so many incinerators that make
waste into energy that they have run out of rubbish!"

To see Ulrika’s own work visit: http://www.ulrikajarl.com/

Since agreeing to participate Ulrika has been incredible. Even when 7-8 months pregnant, she not only had her baby bump in articles around the world but she also got involved in radio and television interviews.

Ulrika: "I can totally understand that people find the idea of a picture frame made
from your own placenta unpleasant
.

Having said that, I know it is becoming increasingly popular to have your placenta dried
and encapsulated and taking it as a nutritional supplement, however, as
I understand the science to support the health benefits is very thin.
Scientists are not sure why other mammals eat their placenta in the wild, whether it is to hide any traces from potential predators, or to regain energy after giving birth.

Whatever benefits there may or may not be I have friends who swear by their placenta capsules and say it has given them much more energy, more milk and even combatted the postpartum blues.
I also understand that you can donate your placenta to be used for training dogs to look for human remains. So many uses for these useful bits of tissue that has kept your baby alive for 9 months
and then the majority of them are just thrown away!
That really is a waste! "

Ulrika asked, once she had given birth, for me to collect the placenta immediately, therefore, I needed to transport Ulrika’s placenta from Brighton to London. I had to do some strategic planning in preparation for collection, ensuring to be hygienic and ethical at all times.

Ulrika’s due date was around the 21st of December 2013, which meant I was on call for Christmas. I knew I had to be prepared so I gathered everything I needed, as soon as possible; because much like any pregnancy, Ulrika was uncertain when she may pop!

Christmas came and went but on the morning of the 30th December 2013, Ulrika contacted me to let me know she had gone into labour. I was so excited, I grabbed my cool box and I was ready to go and collect my first placenta.

When arriving at the hospital it dawned on me how lucky I was to be involved in such a personal experience. I would like to say a huge thank you to Ulrika and her family for that privilege. Ulrika's placenta was handed over to me by the midwife, in an official medical placenta bag and was stored safe in a frozen state, ready for the next stage.

Ulrika's placenta: Ulrika's placenta was mostly rosy red in colour with white trickling through (minus a few separate areas). The best way I like to describe it, believe it or not, is strawberries and cream, seriously. Ulrika's placenta was super glossy and rich in colour whilst being 22cm long. Which can only mean one thing in my mind; a healthy placenta! Internet research proves my theory, "A better nourished mother produces a bigger, more radiant and productive placenta (but still within normal range)."