Pregnant Belly Masks
Sixteen years ago, artist Francine Krauze was pregnant and wished she could save the shape of her pregnancy to decorate and display it like a piece of artwork. Since she had taken courses in body casting, she thought she could use the same technique on her own belly. This is how “Pregnant Belly Masks” was born.
Francine charges from US$125 to US$1,000 for belly masks made in her studio. The price depends on the shape and style of the cast as well as the quality of the finish. Krause has made 450 belly masks, including a few for women who have been in labor at the time.
When creating a mask in her studio, Francine usually likes to take her time and make her client feel comfortable. She uses calm music to create a soothing atmosphere where she can explain the procedure to her pregnant client. Husbands, companions or friends are welcome to attend and participate.
Francine prefers to work on naked bodies to avoid recording the lines of clothes or under garments. She starts pouring Crisco margarine over the body to prevent the plaster from sticking to the skin and covers pubic and long hair with plastic wrap. She then soaks strips of plaster-filled gauze in a bucket of warm water, layer them over her client’s body and let them harden into what becomes like a suit of armor once dried. When the plaster dries, Krause takes if off from the body and trims the edges with scissors before smoothing with sand paper and applying acrylic paint on it to protect it from moisture.
For Francine, a belly mask is a powerful art form and a personal icon of the union of mother and child.
Francine Krause website is at www.bellymask.com
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