Cara: Our alternative health guru
I create miracles for mums from breast milk!
That’s beautiful,’ I murmured, easing a white-hot ball of glass from the furnace and beginning to blow through my pipe.
Glass blowing had always been my hobby, a deeply personal way of channeling my creativity. But when I became a mum, all my energy went into taking care of my kids, Lily, now 8 and George, now 6, instead.
My births had been traumatic, and breastfeeding had been a rocky road too. So when I spotted a poster offering basic peer support training to help others, I knew it was meant for me. I trained for two years to become a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor, doula and baby massage therapist.
I absolutely loved my job. Working with new mums was so powerful. Lactating women produce oxytocin – the love hormone. I’d come out of my group classes feeling euphoric!
Time passed, my kids were growing up, and I hadn’t picked up my glass-blowing tools in years.
One day, browsing the internet. I stumbled across the website of glass blower Mel Scholz in Canada, who makes gorgeous bowls for breastfeeding women to express milk into.
It felt like a sign calling me back to the studio. I began blowing glass again in July 2017 – and immediately felt the healing power of putting your heart and soul into something you love doing.
Then I had another idea: what if I could infuse my glass with breast milk? It was a bit off-the-wall, of course, but it’s every artist’s dream to do something that’s never been done before. ‘Do you fancy giving me a little bit of milk to try blowing into glass?’ I asked the ladies in my breastfeeding group. My heart was thudding as I gently introduced some of the milk into the hot glass. It had been a gift from one of my mums and I really wanted to do her proud.
The idea was to trap liquid bubbles between the layers of glass as it cooled, setting it forever - a bit like the insect caught in the amber in the movie Jurassic Park.
I gasped as I turned the paperweight I’d made over in my hands. The breast milk bubbles looked liked a tiny constellation of stars.
Now I take commissions from all over the world – even from husbands who’ve smuggled a bit of their partner’s milk out of the fridge! It’s a way of preserving this wonderful moment of motherhood forever.
I’ve also made bowls and vases from the milk of mothers who’ve tragically lost their babies and want something special to mark their passing.
Each woman’s milk is different, depending on things like its fat content, so each sample creates a unique effect in the glass. Some come out looking like candy floss, while others are as fragile and delicate as spiders’ webs.
Breast milk is one of the most beautiful and natural things on Earth. It’s the divine feminine in all its glorious essence.
Why shouldn’t it be art?
For more information on Helen’s work, or to commission a piece, visit breastbowl.com
I felt drawn back to the studio
Artist’s passion: Glass blowing
Mother’s milk: Special creations
Beautiful: Unique bowls