B. General Questions
C. Pregnant Belly Casts
D. Baby or Child Casts
E. Adult Hand Casts
F. Animal Casts
G. Large or Unusual Body Parts
H. Kiss/lip Casts
I. Intimate Casts
J. Training & Workshops
1) What if my dog is likely to snap or bite?
You can muzzle him if you like, but if your dog has that sort of temperament he/she may not be suited to having this done. Only you can judge this - but please be honest, as I do not consider being savaged a fun part of my work. ;-)
2) Will it hurt my dog?
Not at all. I will gently press their paw or paws into a soft, safe casting material to create a paw impression cast, or to get a 3d lifecast of their paw I will protect their fur with Vaseline and dip it gently into luke warm casting gel. If you know or think your dog has any peculiar allergies then please check with your vet first and I will give you a list of the materials your dog might come into contact with. Some dogs are very sensitive about having their paws touched, so it can take a few goes. If your dog is likely to be seriously distressed by having their paws touched for a minute then this might not be the best thing to do for your pet even though the process is safe and painless for them.
However, with you cuddling or holding the front of the dog and feeding it treats (please bring any favourites although I aim to have a few around just in case), and me working quickly with the back paw, most dogs won't even notice what's happening before it is finished.
3) Can you cast my cat's paw?
Usually. Again, this comes down to the personality of your cat. I recommend wrapping the cat in a towel or blanket and then holding them firmly and reassuring them with strokes or treats while I extract the one paw I am working on (so the others can't maim me!) from the towel. I work quickly, to cause as little stress as possible. If you have a particularly wild or nervous cat, then it's probably not best to attempt this.
4) My pet is ill and needs to be put down, I would like a casting done to remind me of him/her - is this possible?
Depending on availability, and distance, this can sometimes be arranged. Rockabelly Lifecasts is based opposite a reputable Vets surgery that may be able to help you. Because in this very sad instance there is no problem with them keeping still for the casting, we actually get a much better casting - working further up the limb if required and using a casting material which captures every detail. I understand that in this situation you may be quite distressed, and I aim to be as sensitive as possible to your needs and respect the dignity of your pet. This type of casting would have to be arranged in advance and need to be done extremely quickly after the pet was put to sleep. I'm afraid if you have a pet that has died of an infectious disease or is ill with one then I won't be able to cast it, as I would not like to spread infection from one pet to another. If in doubt - check with your vet first!
5) Will you cast other kinds of animals?
Yes! We can do any pet paw from gerbils to guinea pigs, and can sometimes accomodate more unusual farm or zoo animals by arrangement. Sometimes we will need to liaise with your vet to make this possible, and it can be a good idea to schedule a lifecast to coincide with any vetinary or dental work your animals needs so that it can be done while they are under anaesthetic. For more exotic pets such as lizards, we ask that you check with your vet first about any skin sensitivity they may have to the materials we use.
1) Can you do any body part?
Yes. Although larger and more complex sculptures can sometimes require the help of two or more lifecasters, for which we call on our trusted associates and affiliates. Larger body parts can be done as a rough shape (using plaster bandages), which can later be smoothed, or as a fine art piece (using the casting gel method). There is quite a difference in price that reflects the difference in quality and the amount of work involved.
2) I am about to start a diet and exercise plan - can you cast me 'before' and 'after'?
Indeed I can. I have done this for several attendees of Weight Watchers and they found it even helped their motivation to be able to 'try on' their former body and see how much smaller they had become as they continued their plan. It is also fun for you to decorate your before and after moulds using the 'decoupage' method - covering your before with pasted photocopied pictures of your larger self, food that you ate, and words about yourself that you feel; then to decorate your slimmer/fitter self with photocopied pictures of yourself looking/feeling how you want to, working out, wearing a bikini, eating healthily, and words about how you feel when you reach your target weight/size.
Alternatively, since I am a nice bumptious lady myself and see nothing wrong or shameful about having a big body (other than personal health concerns which are another matter entirely) - you can choose to decorate your large body in positive imagery/decoration or commission me to do it for you - encouraging you to think positively about yourself and who you are, regardless of your size or shape. When you see your body recreated in sculpture you might be surprised at how beautiful, sensual and exotic a larger figure can look! After all, this is something the classical sculptors and artists have known for centuries.
4) I am about to have an operation. I would like to have a casting done of my body before/after to help me feel better about it.
No problem. So long as your doctor or health consultant has no concerns, I can create a sculpture for you before and/or after your operation. Examples include ladies having breast removal operations who would like a memory preserved of their former figure. Or indeed, a casting done (once they are completely healed from the operation) of their new body shape - creating beautiful sculpture from their body with the aim of helping them to come to terms with the changes and feel more positive about their new form.
This can also be achieved for limb removal operations, or any operation where a scar might affect the look and feel of a favourite body part (e.g. a navel casting before a laparoscopy). You can even have a casting done of your face and/or body before going in for cosmetic surgery so you can remind yourself and your friends how much you hated your old nose/thighs/boobs etc.
5) What about unusual poses?
Bearing in mind that for larger body parts you have to stay still a lot longer than the 3 minutes it takes to dip cast a hand or foot, the pose is often up to you. Unusual poses often bring with them unusual challenges, but with planning and negotiation we can usually come up with a way of achieving what you require. Modelling for a large body part casting can often prove a little uncomfortable - whether it's just from the standing/sitting/lying still, the cooler (sometimes icy) temperature of the casting material when it first goes on (this lower temperature is necessary for larger body parts to allow a longer working time with the material), taking the casting off should a stray pubic or facial hair work its way into the mould and many other less than comfortable instances. If you want something unusual or dramatic remember you are creating a one off, totally fabulous piece of artwork and be prepared to suffer a little for your art - it will make for much more interesting dinner conversation afterwards too.
6) Can you do full body casts?
This depends on the availability of our associate lifecasters, but please feel free to get in touch for advice and information.
Please giving full details of your project idea for more information and pricing. Examples of some completely different kinds of full body casts can be seen here.
1) Will the casting gel get in my mouth?
That all depends on how good you are at holding a pouting pose without sucking. Usually a tiny bit will creep in the edges of the lips. Although it doesn't taste very nice, it's completely harmless - variants of the same compound are used in food as a setting agent, so you've probably had it in your mouth before. Dentists also use a variety of the compound for casting your teeth and gums, so you can be reassured that it's totally safe and appropriate for that use. The compound is made from seaweed, so is fine for vegetarians/vegans. Kiss casting is not advisable with a blocked nose or whilst under the influence of alcohol or strong medication.
2) Can my children use the kiss casting kits?
The kits are not safe for use on children because of the risk of them misunderstanding instructions and choking or eating the casting gel.
1) Do you cast female genitalia?
Yes. This is one of our specialities and we have recently started running Female Genital Casting Workshop Days for groups of around 5 women at a time, which can be a fun, enlightening and memorable way for your women's group to discover, rediscover or just celebrate their femininity. Contact us for more details. Casts can be left plain to show off every intimate detail or decorated in absolutely any way - you can even have them cast in precious metals. Check out our gallery for inspiration.
2) How embarrassingly awful is the process?
Absolutely everybody who has had one done by us commented on how the casting procedure wasn't nearly as embarrassing as they were expecting, and all of them enjoyed the day immensely. It does make it a lot more fun to do with a friend or two, and since we're all girls together we simply crank up the music and laugh together most of the way through it. It's not nearly as clinical or austere as a smear test, and many people comment on how having the casting done is as memorable as actually keeping the cast itself. Read some of our testimonials for reassurance if you are feeling nervous and dare to be bare!
3) What do I have to do?
We do recommend that you remove your pubic hair (in whatever way is most comfortable for you), as this means there's less to get caught up in the mould, and the resulting cast looks more beautiful and well defined without needing any sanding. If you choose not to remove your pubic hair, then you can apply a thick layer of barrier cream or Vaseline to protect your hair which we will provide, but please bear in mind you may lose the odd one as they seem to have a way of escaping into the mould gel no matter how much they are smoothed down.
On the day I will ask you to remove your clothing (you can keep a bra or short top on - best to wear one that doesn't matter too much in case of stray casting gel), and lay on your back on a comfy pilates mat. Everyone always feels a bit self conscious at this part. If you want a closed legged pose then you stay as you are, or otherwise 'assume the smear test position'. The embarrassment literally only lasts a split second as before anyone has a chance to look at you or for you to start blushing, I have poured a bowl full of luke warm casting goo over your holy of holies. The closest comparison to sensation would be to imagine someone pouring cool thick yoghurt over you. Most people squeal and laugh at this point. It's very hard to take it seriously given that the goo is bright blue! As your 'blue jelly pants' start to set, I apply a few layers of wet plaster bandage to your pubic area to form a hard outer shell that will support the mould. By this time you look like you're wearing a blue rubber thong with a sumo wrestler's nappy over the top. It's not a sexy process, but it's something to talk about at dinner parties for the rest of your life!
When this layer is set we gently pull the mould away from your body and you can get cleaned up while I work on filling the mould with plaster. If you want to decorate the cast yourself it is occasionally possible to take it away on the day or the same week. If you wish us to decorate or finish the cast for you, or mount it or cut it into a particular shape, then it will take several weeks depending on how busy we are.
4) Can I bring a friend for moral support?
Yes, of course. It is important for you to feel safe, comfortable and to enjoy the day as much as possible. However, if you are bringing a male partner or friend, they must be aware that the casting session is not meant for their titillation and they are expected to behave themselves at all times. It is permitted to take photographs during the casting session although we will ask you to sign a form agreeing to only use the photographs for your personal reference and they must not be published in any form including on the internet, without signed permission from Rockabelly Lifecasts.
5) What happens if I get my period when the casting session is due?
Don't worry. Everybody asks this. You can choose to rearrange your casting appointment, or use a tampon and it won't affect the casting session at all. For everyone's reassurance I keep plenty of babywipes and tissues around the workshop so you can 'freshen up' at any time if you are feeling self-conscious. Clients who bring a towel are welcome to use the shower or bath before or after the casting session if they wish. All we ask is that everyone who comes for such an intimate casting is in good health. Piercings can be removed or (depending on the type of piercing) removed, taped down, or moved to the side and cast.
6) Do you do penis casting?
For security reasons, we don't do this now apart from in a fine art context of larger pieces, which we reserve the right to use a male lifecaster for. We recommend purchasing a penis casting kit from a reputable company to try it yourself. Sadly the Proud Peckers casting kits which we previously sold are no longer in production and we are seeking an alternative of equal quality to pass onto our customers. Men are often intimidated in a workshop casting environment and so are more likely to achieve their best 'pose' in the privacy of their own home rather than with a stranger in a boiler suit armed with a scary looking spatula. When you have made a cast to be proud of, we would be more than happy to decorate individual penis casts to your requirements, or in a his and hers matching style. As this is a family establishment, we will not usually discuss penis casting over the phone, but prefer you to email for advice or information. Please do not ask if we will make an 'exception' for your penis and find a nice pretty lady to cast it for you. We're sure it is perfectly lovely, just like all other body parts, but we don't need to see photos of it, or to give it marks out of ten. And no, we won't make an exception even if you really ARE a policeman or a member of parliament or truly genuinely trying to surprise your wife with a romantic gift for her to hang her bracelets on. If you cast it at home however, we will happily decorate it for you, recast it in precious metals or turn it into an interesting hat.
1) I am interested in becoming a lifecaster. Do you do training courses? Yes. On occasion, we offer one-to-one training courses. Such training allows you to jump start your learning process and gives you access to tips and techniques based on years of experience, but should not be viewed as 'qualifying' you to cast professionally. The most important aspect of life casting is to practise, practise, practise until you are both confident AND competent. Each body part comes with it's own challenges and tricks to overcome those challenges. A basic course will give you a good overview of not just how to start casting, but also the problems you are likely to face and how to deal with them. For one-to-one casting course (usually two days), the student is usually required to arrange for a friend to model for them for at least one afternoon of the two days. If you wish us to hire a model on your behalf, this can be arranged at extra cost.
I have very strict criteria for who I will and will not train. For those on a limited budget who cannot afford professional tuition, I encourage you to invest in one or two different casting kits and use them to familiarise yourself with the basic materials and casting techniques by practising on friends or family. Read as much as you can on the subject, and practise as much as you can afford to. NEVER advertise a service when you haven't cast that particular body part before and have the confidence and experience to deal with problems that may occur. Casting is a very safe artform in the right hands, but those who are unaware of or ignore the vital safety considerations can put others at risk. All good quality kits will run through safety rules thoroughly, and this is a strong aspect of any of our training sessions.
If you would like to be considered for our next training session, or would like further information on a particular aspect of training, then please us.
2) What Workshops do you offer? I run sporadic workshops both from my studio and other venues in the south east of England on a number of subjects. Life casting workshops can be very hands on and interactive - like a group mask making or bellymasking workshop; or can be less interactive (ie I do all the casting, one at a time, and the workshop attendees either watch or combine the casting day with other activities/socialising while it is not their turn to be cast).
The Female Genital Casting Workshop is ideal to combine with either a) Some discussion/activities on the subject matter encouraging women to think more positively about their bodies and their femininity. Your own group leader can host such a gathering with the casting element taking part in a private side room, or we can provide worksheets upon request with suggested activities and discussion topics while others are being cast. or b) It can just be a fun day out, where everybody brings some yummy food and chocolate, we crank up the music, laugh an awful lot, chat, giggle and compare and contrast the resulting casts with fascination at the end of the day.
The Pregnant Belly Casting Workshop can be worked around a pre-existing group's timetable. This kind of casting can be time consuming and messy, so it's important to have as much time as possible to enjoy the task, but can be combined with a regular coffee-morning type event. We run regular pregnant belly and baby/toddler casting events with teen mum groups and can provide references from Council representatives we have worked for who run these classes/courses for the teen mothers if required. Again, such workshops work best as a side-line to another group activity or discussion meeting so that people do not get bored waiting for their turn and so that any children present are entertained until their turn.
Simple mask making workshops can be arranged using a variety of fun materials. Bear in mind this will involve applying casting materials to the face, and may create a bit of mess. Additional kinds of casting workshop for small classes at the venue of your choice can be arranged. Costs of such events will vary according to location, size of class, age of class, material requirements, and number of classes booked.
Other kinds of creative workshops are in development. Please contact us if you have any requirements.