“PREOCCUPIED with PLACENTAS”

My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

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Sheela-Na-Gig DISCO BOOTIES FINISHED NOT LIT PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES Placenta Skin Baby Booties sock monkey portrait Sheela-Na-Gig painted in blood, Nomadic Village 2012 Placenta Print BW Sheela-Na-Gig lino print in blood/ black food colouring, Nomadic Village 2012 A Womb With a View see through placenta ket ring

umbilical clamp added to the harey purse placenta skin keyring and hares tail ROUND PATCH OF PLACENTA IN THE WINDOW WITH OLIVEPLACENTA PATCHY IN THE SKY Placenta cookery in Olive, Nomadic Village 2012

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(My placenta blogging has become quite prolific, so I have created new categories – Being Born’  & ‘Placenta Art’– especially to accommodate these and related blogs).

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 Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it.

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The placenta is an incredible, miraculous, life-giving organ!  It supplies your growing baby with a means of obtaining nutrients for development as well as a method of waste disposal.  While the unborn baby’s vital organs are developing, the placenta operates as its lungs, kidneys, digestive system, liver, and immune system until they fully develop.  The placenta does this so well that even when some of these organs fail to develop, the baby can survive until birth.  It is a thing of ‘Life’!

I remember hearing it for the first time along side my little one’s heartbeat!   The sound of the blood rushing through it was tremendous – it was all so overwhelming and awe-inspiring!  Truly magical!  I cried tears of pure joy!

I felt that the entire process needed honouring, what a miracle we are!  I have ended up doing many wonderful things with my/our placenta! – BEFORE and AFTER I ate it!!  lol.

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BURNING MAN – NEVADA DESERT – USA

BLACK ROCK CITY 2011 – “RIGHTS OF PASSAGE”

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Last year I participated in an Artists’ Residency program called the Nomadic Village UK 2012, sponsored by ISIS Arts.

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NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012

NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012

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One of my artistic endeavours whilst there, was to defrost my frozen placenta (actually, it’s Max’s placenta) and begin creating as many beautiful things from it as possible…

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To date I have done the following…

  1. PLACENTA PRINTING using the blood still inside the bag
  2. Painted SHEELA-NA-GIG images with placenta blood and black food colouring
  3. SHEELA-NA-GIG lino prints using placenta blood and black food colouring – also made ‘Thank You’ cards with the lino cut for my “Blessing Way Sisters”
  4. Made PLACENTA RAWHIDE from the Amniotic Sac
  5. Made the artistic piece “A WOMB WITH A VIEW”
  6. Cooked the rest – PLACENTA BOURGUIGNON!
  7. Had a lively discussion about eating placenta and cannibalism – “Be careful!  I know you taste delicious!”
  8. Made PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES
  9. Made PLACENTA SKIN “FUNKY-BABY” DISCO BOOTIES
  10. SOCK MONKEY with dried placenta in the stuffing – “FERTILITY COSMIC CONFIRMATION FETISH”
  11. I added the umbilical clamp which still has attached to it some of Max’s dried umbilical cord – I added this to the other charms/ tokens inside “THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE” – SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT
  12. PLACENTA SKIN KEYRING – with Hare’s Tail & Foot.  The Tail and Foot are from the same animal that made the “HAREY PURSE” above.

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….. as long as there are bits left, I will keeping adding to this list!  ‘Follow’ my blog-site and watch this space!  I will keep updating as I go along!

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I have enjoyed this process so much I am offering my services as a Professional Placenta Artist. 

Anyone wishing to preserve their placenta can contact me using the ‘Contact’ page or use this highlighted link.

Alison Brierley - Professional Artist 

What I would like to make for you are completely unique and personal ‘objet de’art’ using your placenta, what you want is your choice and I am open to suggestions. 

I will not however be producing items that are meant to be ingested. 

Prices are negotiable depending on what you want and to be discussed privately. )

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Now please enjoy the multiple emotions you will encounter by continuing to read…

“My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta”

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1.  PLACENTA PRINTING

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This is quite widely practiced these days.  Without really doing much with the organ, I blotted it using the wallpaper liner spread before me.  I repeated the process, experimenting with positioning.  It was an amazing thing to play with.  The veins running through the skin made patterns like a road map, palm print and tree roots.  The flesh inside the bag was just like a sponge, in texture and function… it just kept on blotting!!

(Read more…)

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2.  SHEELA-NA-GIG

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The bowl within which the placenta had been defrosting was full of blood!  I experimented by painting with this blood and then mixing it with black food colouring – it applied like ink!  I repeatedly painted a stylized self-portrait based on a Sheela-Na-Gig – an ancient and archetypal pre-Christian image of fertility.  I had a picture of this on the wall near my birthing pool to reassure and assist me through the first and second stages of labour.  It reminded me that women have been doing this for millennia and it does stretch that much’!. 

(Read more…)

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Black/White  Earth  Air  Fire  Water

 Self portrait of the archetypal image of Sheela-Na-Gig in B/W, Earth, Air, Fire & Water.

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3.  LINO PRINTS

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I then made some block prints using a lino tile I had cut just days before the birth.  The image was that of the Sheela-Na-Gig image that helped me through labour.  I made pencil rubbings of the tile and created thank-you cards for my ‘Blessingway Sisters’ who had nurtured me beautifully.

 (Read more…)

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4. PLACENTA RAWHIDE

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I scraped the sac that Max grew in.  I had a couple of shamanic drum hoops with me.  I figured that a bag containing a baby for nine months, kicking away had to be pretty big and strong!  I just hoped it could be stretched to cover a hoop!

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I separated the skin further into three smaller pieces of practically transparent skin, like cling-film.  I cured all the bits and turned them into rawhide – because it was in pieces I had to rethink my idea of a placenta skin drum.

(Read more…)

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5. “A WOMB WITH A VIEW”

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Using whatever bits I could find in the van, I made a light box, backlit with the LED innards of my broken head torch, a  plastic version of a 12-week-old foetus that was given to me last year, tissue-paper and a placenta skin window.  I named it,  ”A Womb with a View”.

(Read more…)

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6. PLACENTA BOURGUIGNON

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We first tried a small piece lightly fried in olive oil just to see how it tasted before the addition of onions, garlic, mushrooms, and a dash of tomato paste, red wine and seasoning.  It was really tasty!

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This is the only disposable organ ever made.  From a cruelty-free, veggie perspective – it’s the only piece of meat (save eating a surgically chopped-off bit) whose owner didn’t have to die first for it to be eaten!

 (Read more…)

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7. CORDON BLEU OR CANNIBALISM?

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Hannibal Lecter

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Despite me growing it and giving birth to it, it belonged to Max.  This meant that eating it was actually a form of ‘cannibalism’!  This sparked a couple of interesting conversations on the subject.

 (Read more…)

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“BE CAREFUL!  I KNOW YOU TASTE DELICIOUS

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8. PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES

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I had originally wanted to stretch the skin over a drum hoop, but it wasn’t possible.  I had to re-think my idea.  I had started to crochet a pair of Baby Booties whilst at the Burning Man festival but totally fluffed up the pattern!  Instead I had the brain wave of making Placenta Skin Booties and hanging them in the car like fluffy dice, lol.  They turned out better than I had imagined… both pairs!

 (Read more…)

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9. PLACENTA SKIN “FUNKY-BABY” DISCO BOOTIES

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These booties are rather special as they were made from the parts of the amniotic sac that were almost transparent and incredibly thin.  When dry, they were more delicate than tissue paper – impossible to sew… so I backed them onto bits of Max’s now redundant, but still sentimental, swaddling cloth.   Although they looked great when finished, you couldn’t really tell that they were made from placenta skin, so I ‘funked’ them up a bit with flashing LED’s…

(Read more…)

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Click here to see these fabulous booties in action via Youtube!  Hilarious!!  I am so pleased with them…

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10. SOCK MONKEY with PLACENTA STUFFING

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Placenta stuffing sock monkey

FERTILITY COSMIC CONFIRMATION FETISH

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The weekend we actually had conceived Max (and didn’t know it yet) we were walking in a park in London, it was a lovely day!

I walked past a ‘rolled-up’ white and blue ‘thing’ on the path… curiosity made me go back and have a look. It was a pair of tiny baby boy socks.  I joked saying it must be an omen!  I was compelled to keep them. I discovered weeks later that I was indeed pregnant and had conceived that weekend, possibly that day!!

It truly was a FERTILITY COSMIC CONFIRMATION!  Literally, were on the verge of planning IVF treatment!

Max has been wearing the socks, but I wanted to make something special out of them when he out-grew them.  So I turned them into a ‘Sock Monkey’ and combined some of the scraps of placenta rawhide too small for anything else with the stuffing mix.

(Read more…)

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11. “THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE” – SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT

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Some of the umbilical cord is still attached to the little ‘clip’ they use prior to cutting the cord.  I kept it because I am hopelessly sentimental, as you may have already gathered, lol.

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Max's umbilical clamp with cord attched

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I added this to the rest of the charms/ tokens inside the ‘HAREY PURSE’.

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umbilical clamp added to the harey purse

Vulva and Vagina made from recycled materials and a roadkill female hare.

(Completed in 2009)

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(excerpt below taken from the blog)

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I was studying anthropology at the time, having been fascinated with tribal customs and fetishism for many years.  I was absorbed in the study of magical practices and, in particular, fetishes.

Fetishes – usually an object (anything from a small stone carving of an animal to a carved wooden penis) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly: a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence. The use of fetish objects is worldwide and from the beginning of recorded history – from Cave Man to modern Christian!

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H2840008 H2840035

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Over the following 16 months since her creation (it took a while for an old bird like me to conceive, lol) her slowly bulging vulva was gradually stuffed and filled with little sacred objects, each having special significance: a carved penis from a dear friend; a small piece of chalk flint from the phallus of The Cerne Abbas Giant; a fossil spiral, a ring of shell; a sculptured clay zygote from another dear friend; and a bird’s egg.

Eventually, I couldn’t fit anything else in her.

She dangled in the window of my motorhome as we drove along, bobbing away to music and the rhythm of the road surfaces, up-front and part of our lives – makes a change from fluffy dice! (read more…)

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12.  PLACENTA SKIN KEYRING

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I made a ‘Keyring’ with a piece of the skin that shows off the veins beautifully!  I completed a ‘set of three’ with the Hare’s tail and a foot form the same roadkill animal that I used to create the “HAREY PURSE” above.

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….. as long as there are bits left, I will keeping adding to this list!

‘Follow’ this blog or my home-page and watch this space!  lol.

Let’s see how many things I can make from a single placenta!! – …. suggestions???

I still plan to plant a bit under the ubiquitous tree of course, lol, I have most of the umbilical cord in the freezer – too late for stem cell harvesting unfortunately.

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As with a lot of my work, I aspire to gently push the viewer, including myself, to question preconceptions and socio-cultural taboos by creating something beautiful and compelling from something dead and/or socially repulsive.

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Look out for blogs on my other ART projects – SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE, PLACENTA  ART & COOKERY, PLACENTA BOOTIES,  PLACENTA DISCO-BOOTIES, SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER MERKINANTI  BADGER-CULL – “TOTAL BOLLOCKS”, ROADKILL SQUIRREL TESTICLE EARRINGS  , BURNING-MAN ASARO MUD-FAMILY PERFORMANCE ART  JAPANESE WISHING TREE

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I am in the process of cataloguing my work of many years – it will eventually make it to this site!

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