Placenta Picture Frames Bring Body Art to A New Level

Mar 22 2014

Pictures used to be the definitive memento in one of the most important moments in a mother’s life. Artist Amanda Cotton has taken this to a whole new level. You can now have the picture and its frame as a memento. She has developed the groundbreaking method of taking the mother’s placenta and transforming it into a picture frame.

Cotton, is a sustainable artist who has an MA degree in Sustainable Design from the University of Brighton, who toggles between her job in a design company and her projects. She has used frozen placenta as well as other biomaterial (human hair, urine, earwax) and turned them into functional products. As a sustainable artist, she is committed to helping people see waste (even human waste) in a new light and being at the forefront of finding novel ways to use biomaterials as raw material.

Creating the Placenta Picture Frame

She notes that parents have been taking the baby’s biomaterial (umbilical cord, a lock of hair, the first nail clippings)and keeping them as mementos. She contends, if these are taken, why not the placenta? Cotton produces the picture frames by taking the entire placenta, boiling and slow-cooking it and then grinding it into small pieces. This is then combined with casting resin and placed into molds to dry. The effect is a frame that has a marble-like appearance. The frame can also be inscribed with the child’s name and date of birth.

She got the idea while she worked with a midwife and found out that placentas have been used for various purposes but most placentas go discarded after the birth. Cotton, who has been receiving additional orders for this novel keepsake, advises new parents to place the placenta in a cool box right after the delivery of the baby.

Wow or Ewww?

Cotton’s placenta picture frames have drawn mixed reviews. Ulrika Jarl, one of the parents who ordered a frame, acknowledges this but has still committed to her order. She states that she understands how some people will find the idea a bit off-putting but that was the very thing that attracted her to order a frame for her second child.

Despite the criticism, Cotton has received more orders for the frames. “My work is all about our incredible bodies creating materials which we love and care for yet once separated from us, we are repulsed by and we feel the need to discard them.” Cotton asserts.

Traditional Frames

For parents who do not appreciate the use of biomaterial in frames, there are still plenty of the traditional frames they can use to display keepsakes. They can use a custom display case for 3D materials (such as the baby’s first shoe, or his christening gown). This can effectively showcase the items while protecting them from the elements and preserving them even for the next generations.