So, as I posted a few days ago, that Aiden and I were invited by ever-so-lovely Laura to visit "First Treasures", a company that specialise in 3D Hand and Foot castings, which act as beautiful keepsakes. Laura had offered a free 3D Footcast, in exchange for a review and/or blog post.
Laura runs her business from home, which makes the whole process feel really special, purely at the fact she warmly welcomed us into her home for the work to take place. We entered into her kitchen, before being shown examples of her work - and can I just say - WOW!
There was one piece of her work that I instantly noticed, and needed a closer inspection of, to which I was told it was a casting of Herself, her husband and her childs hand - all 3 clasped together holding each other. It was beautiful! The amount of detail visable is remarkable - from the creases in everyones knuckles, fingernails (you could tell Laura had lovely nails!) and the diamonds featured on her wedding rings - its quite amazing.
My eyes then glanced along the shelf, viewing several different sized 3D hand and foot casts of babies and young children in different colours, which are used as examples when choosing the casting colour of your choice.
Laura also does another type of casting known as an "outprint". These are a detailed handprint taken from soft terracotta clay which is then finished as an 2D flat keepsake. The final finished peice included so many details from the impressions of the palm, fingertips, soles of foot and toes finished in a variety of colours - either the full final piece or only just the impression for a more predominate look.
There were collages of images of previous work all compiled together and proudly shown on display, to show different examples of what was possible, and what to expect of the outcome, as every hand and foot is unique. I was in love with the examples shown, and was slightly sad to see a set of newborn baby hand and foot prints - I wished I had done this when Aiden was tiny, I had never heard or seen anything like this before! I spur of the moment decided to also pay and have Aidens hand casted too, to go alongside his foot, which I would then frame and proudly display at home.
"First Treasures" is brilliant in not only the fact your having a extremely bespoke piece of art, suited to your family life - after all it is of your child - its also Laura's prices. For something so detailed which also requires quite a lot of time and effort put into creating, the prices are ideal. Laura herself is a mummy to two young children, and she explained she wanted to be able to provide a unique service that was affordable, and well with the "mummy budget".
Ive often found several keepsake items available to buy online, but haven't physically brought anything, or paid for anything as moneys not the best situation, mainly due to the fact im on maternity leave and my wages are half of my normal income - so keepsakes and knick-knacks for the home have to wait. A single freestanding hand or foot casts is £25, or a double (2 hands or 2 feet) is at £40. There are optional extras that you can pay for, such as having it mounted, framed or a plaque included etc, which are a little bit more expensive, but still within a budget. Overall, for a bespoke treasured keepsake, its well worth the money!
After gawping at her work for a good while, Laura explained the process and how it would work. I was completely surprised to find that the actual casting takes less then a minute to set! So for those of you who would be or are slightly concerned that it may take a long time - trust me, it doesn't!
I took along my son Aiden who's 16 weeks old. He can sometimes be a fidget-bum, and had convinced myself that he was going to play up during the process, and cry or wiggle, but he was an absolute little gem. I think he actually enjoyed the whole "messy play" experience - his first ever!
Laura collected all the things needed to start - a measuring jug, several large mixing bowls, a few jayscloths and water. She measured out the moulding powder, and mixed it with warm water, to which she added that when using warm water, it sets much faster and so is perfect for wigglebums. She mixed it in the bowl like some sort of machine (an obvious pro at mixing ill add!) to which the white powder changed to a pink jelly, before placing in the center of a cloth and moving swiftly over to Aiden, where he sat upon his Aunties lap, socks off, trousers rolled up, ready and waiting.
Laura placed his foot dead in the center of the "moulding jelly" and wrapped the cloth around his foot. She began lightly kneading the cloth and jelly over his foot and part of his ankle, to obviously ensure the foot was fully covered. It looked as though she were giving Aiden a little foot massage as his face did let out a little smile. I think he enjoyed having warm squidyness between his toes!
As I said before, it was extremely quick, and in less than a minute the pink jelly had set inside the cloth, and changed colour. It was if Aiden was wearing a little bootie, it simply slipped off like a little sock. The foot casting was complete.
Next we moved onto the hands - which I partially was dreading as just recently Aiden has found that he does infact have hands, and that they move aound with individual fingers, and make great fist sucking devices - he constantly has his hands in his mouth!
The same process was applied here, the powder measured out, mixed with warm water to create a pink jelly, placed onto a jayscloth and then wrapped over his left hand. The alternative side hand to the foot is always taken e.g if you cast the left foot, the right hand is casted - and visa versa. It took less than a minute to once again set, and Aiden didn't kick up a fuss at all, if anything I think he also enjoyed having his hands done, as he began babbling away to Laura and his Auntie, and his face smiled again.
The casting process was complete. Laura explained that she next took the castings and used them as moulds, to which she poured plaster in and left to set. Once they were set, the cast mould would be removed and quality checks would take place - ensuring all details were perfect before being finalised and painted or if people had chosen to have done - framed and mounted also.
I was told the final finished pieces would be ready in a few weeks time, and so we shall be returning to collect them. Im like a big child, so excited to see my beautiful baby boys hands and feet in a forever tiny keepsake!
I woud like to thank Laura for her hospitality, for inviting us along to the session today, and also for genuinely being a lovely lady.
More about Laura and her fantastic business "First Treasures" can be found here at:
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