1 of 2
Sarah Maitland of EverCasting Love LLC (Photo by Jay Paul)
2 of 2
(Photo by Jay Paul)
While photos are a great way to preserve memories, there’s a 3-D alternative called lifecasting that’s proving to be popular.
In lifecasting, a mold is made of a portion of a loved one’s body often using alginate (an algae-based substance). Stone or cement powder mixed with water is then commonly used to create the replica by pouring it into the mold and letting it set.
EverCasting Love LLC in Chester (454-0091 or EverCasting Love on Facebook) creates the castings. It’s owned by Sarah and Toby Maitland. A stay-at-home mother for their five children, Sarah Maitland became intrigued with the craft after she saw an image online of a wreath of intertwined stone hands made from a lifecasting.
She wanted something similar that captured her own offspring’s hands, but could find no one in Virginia who performed the service. A year ago, she decided to learn the process on her own. Several months of research, numerous calls to established lifecasters and $1,000 of wasted materials later, she had her wreath of hands.
Maitland developed a passion for the process and has honed her skills. She primarily uses alginate to create the molds, and stone or plaster for the physical replicas. The business offers several options and will tackle some special requests. The options are really only limited by imagination (and the amount of stone or plaster she’s able to mold). She has created pieces including a child’s hand holding a baseball, couples holding hands, and even feet and faces. Prices can range from $45 for a casting of an infant’s hand to $175 for a prenatal belly casting. Pricing varies based on the size of the piece.
Belly castings, in which a pregnant woman’s baby bump is captured for posterity, have become popular. The plaster or stone replica may be hung on a wall as a meaningful keepsake.
A lifecast is also a way to hold onto a piece of someone who is terminally ill. Maitland has been commissioned to create castings of stillborn babies. She says she would love the business to grow big enough to be able to offer the service for free.
“I have so many mothers that come to me and say, ‘I wish I would have had you [before a loved one’s death] to do this and give me this,’ ” she says. “So that’s where it really tugs on my heartstrings.”