Professionals who do belly casting, photography, henna tattoos and scrapbooking will hold an open house Saturday at The Center for True Harmony Wellness and Medicine.
Tatiana Indrisek will remember exactly what it was like to be pregnant long after her child-bearing years are behind her. In fact, the Queen Creek mother of three will be able to touch her expecting tummy anytime she likes, thanks to a three-dimensional plaster cast done in an artsy, graphic black-and-white style.
Indrisek, 31, had a cast made of her stomach in her last trimester. It's one of many art forms women can utilize to capture the changes in their bodies and lives when they're expecting a baby.
"It's such a meaningful time for women, and it's such a limited time; we want to help them find easy ways to memorialize it," says Anna Filipski, organizer of a weekend event to help women connect with artists who specialize in pregnancy-focused art.
Professionals who do belly casting, photography, henna tattoos and scrapbooking will hold an open house Saturday at The Center for True Harmony Wellness and Medicine, a Mesa doctors' office that offers seminars, massage, yoga and other services for women. Afterward, clinic staff will host an hourlong talk and question-and-answer session on nutrition during pregnancy.
Rose Day, the Gilbert artist who made Indrisek's belly cast, will be there. She travels to clients' homes to create lightweight casts from a mixture of gauze and plaster of Paris. The process takes about an hour.
"I put it over her belly, and breasts if she wants to include them, and have her stand there until it sets up. Of course, we cover her in Vaseline first so she doesn't get a wax job at the same time," says Day.
The raw casts come out rough and reminiscent of a mummy's wraps, but Day takes them back to her studio to smooth them out, reinforce them with more plaster, drill holes and affix a hanger, and decorate them to a clients' preferences.
Prices range from $65 to upwards of $200, depending on the level of customization and materials, but Day says do-it-yourself kits are available for as little as $40.
For Indrisek, money and time were factors that kept her from documenting her first two pregnancies with something other than family snapshots. So was youth and inexperience.
"With my first baby, it was all new, and the changes are so drastic and sometimes frightening. You're not used to seeing yourself in this new way. I can accept myself more with my third than I did with my first. I'm to the point where I can see what an amazing thing pregnancy is. I can say this is OK, and it's actually beautiful in a way."
Her latest baby came in December, and she's already glad she had a belly cast and professional portraits done with pregnancy No. 3.
"In the scheme of things, being pregnant is such a short period of time. I didn't want to let the experience pass by, to slip by uncommemorated. You never know when it's going to be your last, and I really wanted to preserve that feeling of what it was like to carry my babies."