Picture This: A Photo Frame Made From Your Placenta
Art or Ick?! A British woman creates picture frames out of dried up, crushed placenta, and the orders from new moms are coming in.
Placentas. They’ve been getting more attention, lately. In recent years, it has become more common for women to place importance on their placentas after childbirth and to give their placentas some love. Some women, like my mother-in-law, bury the placenta under a tree or in a garden as a keepsake, and a really good source of fertilizer. Others choose to keep the placenta attached to the baby until it falls off on its own in a practice called Lotus Birthing. And some women opt to eat it, in various and interesting ways, including in capsules and even in smoothies. Well, if none of those options sound good to you, but you find yourself feeling a bit of placenta envy, you just may be in luck. There’s a new placenta-honoring option in town, and it allows you to keep the blob of tissue as a birthing souvenir, forever.
Placenta photo frames. Yes, frames featuring and decorated with dried up and crushed bits of placenta.
Amanda Cotton, a recent University of Brighton graduate who works for a London design company, creates frames made of placenta. She does this with a process and technique she developed in art school wherein she first boils the placenta, then grinds it into small pieces and then adds it into molds with clear resin. The resin mixed with placenta creates a marble effect on the frames.
Being that mothers often save things such as their baby’s umbilical cord, a lock of baby hair and baby teeth as precious mementos, Cotton wanted to make it possible for women to also save the placenta as a keepsake. She states, “The placenta is one of the first creations the mother and baby make together—why not celebrate that with a keepsake?”
Though I can think of more than a few reasons, apparently there are a fair number of women who think it’s a great idea and can’t wait to showcase a photo with parts of this dried up lady organ.
Cotton is already receiving orders and building a passionate clientele. One of her clients, Urika Jarl, supports the recycling and use of human waste, and feels that it’s a true waste that “the majority of placentas are just thrown away.” Jarl says,
“I can understand why some people might find this a bit yucky but what attracted me was the use of materials that we think of as waste. I finished an MA in sustainable design at the University of Brighton a couple of years ago and these issues are close to my heart. We need to think of all waste in a completely new way, as raw materials which hold huge potential. Why not use human waste where possible?”
And though I appreciate her argument, my reaction to that goes something like, “HUH?!”
This is taking recycling and sustainable use to a whole new level. I mean, I am generally open-minded about most things, whatever a woman wants to do with her placenta is her business. But, a frame made of placenta nuggets is just not my cup of tea. I may be more influenced by the argument for doing such if 1. we weren’t talking about using actual chunks of human waste and 2. she didn’t consider photo frames as “huge potential.” Listen, if you wanted to fuel my car with placenta fuel, that’s another story. Hell, I could even more easily accept grinding it into a re-usable shopping bag. I’m sure those would be a hit at Whole Foods. But photo frames? What’s the slogan here? Save an unsightly bare wall, donate your placenta? Home decorating needs you!
Though Cotton supports the use of this organ in general, she is less about the utility of a recycled placenta as she is about its aesthetic and sentimental value. Cotton stated, “It is my belief that human by-products have just as valid an aesthetic value as their virginal material resource. From this starting point, I chose to create souvenirs which pin-point key times in one’s life, using materials of personal significance.”
Yes, she did just say aesthetic value.
Listen, I’m all for art, I really am. I like to appreciate and support most forms of artistic expression. But I have to be honest here, as much as I want to embrace this idea, I’m finding it difficult because quite honestly, I think it’s gross to have bits of placenta just chillin’ up on the mantle. I’m cool with not having my pictures placenta-photo-bombed.
And then there’s always that human waste slippery slope. It starts with placenta photo frames. And tomorrow, it’s a poop paperweight. And the next day? A mucous plug coffee mug, where someone decoupages your mucous plug onto a mug. And wait, you could call it a “mucous mug.” Hmm, I might be on to something here. Does anyone know how I can contact Ms. Cotton?
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