If you know me, or have read a few of my blogs, you know that I tell every mama-to-be I know to make sure to “get those maternity portraits scheduled!” I’m a maternity portrait photographer in Arizona, in my defense. I want every mama to remember their pregnancy, because it is something to be cherished! So, naturally, when I found Maternity Keepsake Phoenix, AZ, I had to get in touch and share the news with every mama I could!
I am so glad I was able to get in touch with Gloria after I found her incredible work! She was kind enough to let me interview her so that everyone else could learn what she’s all about, and how her beautiful belly casting pieces bring a piece of art and a memory together for generations. Imagine keeping this up there with your preserved wedding bouquet or your wedding dress?! Your first baby…all your babies! Be still my heart! Okay, I’m getting too mushy and Southern on you, and I’m a desert girl, so let’s dive in!
Q: Share some of your story us! What got you started? What keeps you going with this business?
A: God gave me my gift in 1995. Something was churning in my soul, I was supposed to be doing something greater even though I had a career and was a part time massage therapist. When I was finishing a pregnancy massage, I said to her, “if I could only make a sculpture of your torso” and she said do it! And that was the churning! Little did I know that everything was already lined up for my new artistic adventure to begin. So grateful, thank you God!
Q: If we’re meeting you for the first time, what can we expect when working with you?
A: Professional, kind and talented.
A: I am self taught. Anyone can learn to cast, there are many courses and videos as well. I’ve been on all the local TV news channels in Arizona and San Diego. I’ve also been featured in many newspapers and magazines and appeared on Total Bellas reality show performing Brie Bella’s belly cast Sonoran Living Live.
Maternity Keepsake and Family Life Casting is body casting! You can bring your kiddos, spouse, and even your pup in for some custom casts that will create the most unique art there is – a statue-like you! You can have your hands, baby feet and bottoms, and of course, your pregnancy belly! Gloria also has some incredible décolleté pieces to show off in her portfolio! But I’ll let her share all the details of her craft with you.
A: When a client arrives, they are welcomed into my home studio room which is very comfortable, clean and filled with sculptures to view. We then sit and discuss their sculpture design (paint or embellishments) and if it’s a hand casting, we practice the pose first then I start the process. If it’s a belly cast, my client is usually sitting, I lubricate her skin for the casting product, cover her undergarments and begin the casting process. Most clients are so relaxed by the end of the process, they feel like they’ve had a spa treatment!
I perform all castings and for a belly cast, I like to ask the other adult present if they would like to add a piece of gauze and I take pictures for the baby. Adult hand castings take 8 minutes, newborns, less than a minute and belly or body castings take 45 minutes.
A: For a belly cast, I ask clients to wear comfortable clothing and specific undergarments which we discuss over the phone prior to her appointment and for a hand castings, it’s best to wear casual and if women get their nails done, they should get them done prior to their appointment so their sculpture looks complete.
Q: Let’s talk safety! What are the best things to know for moms-to-be and parents with kids?
A: Most pregnant clients sit during the casting process with a pillow behind their head and back. No dangers at all. I use medical grade products and products made from seaweed. For a belly cast, clients are always welcome to bring another adult to take pictures and participate.
If they have smaller children at home, I ask to please provide child care during their appointment time and even for adult hand castings. I cast all ages of children but for 3D castings, they have to be at least 5 years of age and up. Toddlers have a difficult time holding still for any period of time, so I offer 2D impressions which only takes a few seconds, plus, they like putting their hands on squishy stuff!
Once the main part of creating a mold or cast of your choice is finished, you get to decide how to preserve it! You can choose to take it home and decorate it, or opt for Gloria’s premium and trademarked finish. This takes everything from a plain piece of plaster looking statue, to a piece of family history that will last generations!
Q: How does the final product come to life?
A: I offer consultations and they are free. I have several price packages on my website that clients can choose from. Clients are always welcome to bring their own ideas, some ask for help and I do have pre-determined selections. I’m known worldwide for my “Trademark” belly cast finish that will last for generations. For a belly cast, I allow 3 weeks if it’s preserved to last for generations, if it’s a basic plaster gauze cast, they take it home to decorate themselves and for hand castings, usually 2 weeks.
Gloria has the biggest heart for helping parents turn the journey of motherhood into a type of timeless and custom souvenir. I’m just a sucker for all things that make put a memory in your hands. You need to see Gloria! She accepts appointments Tuesday through Friday 1:00 – 5:00pm, Saturdays 11:00am – 3:00pm and is closed Sundays and Mondays. You can schedule your consultation with her and see all of her incredible work on her website!
While you’re looking for ways to preserve the time with your baby before they’re earth side, you can schedule a session with yours truly as your Arizona maternity photographer and get some insanely beautiful canvases or framed prints to put on the wall with your belly cast! When your sweet new baby comes home, you can even get those precious newborn features casted with Gloria and add it to your gallery wall. With these sculptures, it will truly become a family gallery full of completely customized art! *swoon!*
By the way, I have a few more ways you can celebrate your newest, sweetest addition to your family. These links will take you right to them!
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