When lockdown first happened I had a moment of panic, like a lot of you, I’m sure. How long will this go on for? How are we going to manage being together 24/7? What will happen my business? And then, like most, I just got on with it. I was somewhat conscious of using the time well and using it to develop some of the “businessy” end of things…. something I’m often allergic to! But when I look back over the past few months I’m delighted to see I’ve achieved a lot, hopefully enough to keep me going into the future. Some of the highlights…
✨I’ve kept myself busy over the last few months and even developed a new product – Fingerprint Keepsake Jewellery – to keep loved ones close. Everything I do here is about you and your family, all those memories and that special bond you have developed and I’m thrilled to be able to offer a full service again. I’ve really missed the excitement of new babies, the joy of newly wed couples, the contentment of older couples and the fun crazy chaos of family groups. you’ll find my shop where these sterling silver keepsake charms are available here on my website….
✨I’ve been working on an online booking system which will make it much easier for you to find available times and make your booking. You will find here and a link on my page….
✨there will be a few changes when you come here to make your unique keepsake. You will all be asked to wash or sanitise your hands on arrival and I will wear a mask and gloves while I work. All equipment and surfaces will be sanitised between uses. I rarely book more than two groups in here on one day so there is little chance of meeting another customer here.
✨Baby casting tour will go ahead in September or early October, time slots for this will be increased so there is enough time between customers to fully sanitise the work area. Also I’ve found a wonderful new local supplier who will build my baby frames for me.
✨You will also find me at the Southern Brides Wedding Expo on Sunday September 13th! Some changes to the format and access is strictly by appointment. You can book a slot at the event page on the Southern Brides page.
To my way of thinking there is nothing so sweet as little baby toes. Hands and feet of new borns always fascinate me – how perfect they are and those little nails! I wish I had known life casting when my two were small, I’d so love to have little 3-D casts of the little fingers and toes. I do have casts of my baby bellies and the girls have both (at different times!) asked “did I really fit in there?” Hard to believe but yes they did! I can only imagine that if I had casts of their hands or feet they would also be asking “were my feet really that small?”. It’s not a service that’s very readily available here in West Cork so I am thrilled to be in a position to offer this to the new Mams and Dads down here. I have a few dates in the calendar and a few more to be pinned down, so keep watching! Last week I had a great trip down to Schull and met some wonderful babies, next Saturday 6th April I’ll be meeting new babies in Dunmanway. Dates to be announced for Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Castletownbere and Bantry.
There must be something going on alright! Suddenly I seem to be surrounded by couples holding hands. I had a wedding anniversary myself recently, and so did several of my customers. On the bench at the moment are a 40th and a 25th wedding anniversay as well as a gorgeous cast of a newly married couple.
It’s all got me thinking! I’m pretty sentimental and often imagine the future life of the pieces I make. Imagining people looking back and remembering the day they had their hands cast or the story Granny told about it. But the sight of these couples holding hands has me thinking about what it all means right now. For the young recently married couple there is so much hope and optimism for the future you can actually feel it in the air. Surely you get married in the hope that you will end a long and happy life together! And then the anniversaries marking the mile stones along the way, proving that you are getting there together. Life’s not easy and relationships have their ups and down but what makes any relationship valuable is the time and work and commitment you put in together. I love the idea of having your hands cast together either as a promise for the future or as a marker of how far you have come as a couple and as a commitment to keep going! Best wishes to all the couples xx
Getting a nice review is always good but once in a while I see a statement like this and thing “Wow, what I can offer people really is a treasure”. Initially when I was first interested in lifecasting the detail is what caught my eye. But more and more I’m realising how powerfully emotional a piece can be. How just looking at a loved ones hand can bring back so many memories of times spent together and can bring a degree of comfort for a loss or separation. As part of my Mother’s Day offer I cast a pair of hands for Sandra with her lovely Mam, Ann. She recently posted this lovely review. Thank you Sandra.
“I recently contacted Maura as I had decided to get my mam and my hand cast. After a few delays on my behalf I finally took mam on the 24 th Feb to meet Maura and have the cast done . Maura was more than nice to us both and made us feel totally wellcome in her home . The whole procedure only took about ten minutes and was ready for collection three weeks later . I am thrilled with the result my mam will be 90 in Sept and I will have this to treasure long after she is gone . It is a wonderful idea as a present and as I said it us a keepsake forever. I would highly recommend Maura and the wonderful work she does” Sandra O’Donovan (April 2018)
A couple of months ago I had a very nice job on. The main customer wanted me to cast their family, husband, wife and young teenage children and both their parents. It was lovely to capture three generations and no doubt these will be passed along to the two children in the piece…and perhaps even their children in time!
The request in this case was for the pieces unmounted as they had an idea of how they were going to disply the pieces themselves. Recently I was sent some picture of the pieces hanging and they are just stunning. The hands are all mounted on some slate that came from the house the customers father grew up in, so his grandparents house! I just love how the family connection is kept by mounting them on slate from the old homeplace to create a centre piece for a new homeplace….how one of the older hands was born under the slate that now displays the hand that tell the story of his life…beautiful
I have a little offer on my Facebook page for Mother’s Day and it seems the whole theme of mother’s and hands is following me. I came across this lovely little bit of writing by a young woman called Karisa. I especially like the part where she talks about how her mother consideres her own hands ugly whereas Karisa recognises all the work those hands have done. Sometimes when I cast hands and they see the result I hear “oh, my hands are so old looking”, I try to remind them (it’s usually the Mammy!) of all the work those hands have done and all the care and nurture they have provided. The full piece is here
“I think you can tell a lot about a person by just looking at their hands and what my mother’s hands tell me is of a life of hard work. They are hands that are nearly always submerged in dishwater; hands that have been burned by brief moments of carelessness in the kitchen. But never once have those hands wavered; they have remained as steady as a surgeon’s. And where she looks at them and sees the wrinkles and calluses she finds so ugly, I see something much different: I see hands that have successfully raised three children to adulthood.
Yes, if I believe in anything, I believe in the strength of my mother’s hands. I can only hope that by holding them I can absorb some of that strength into my own.”
Last year I had a small promotion running on Facebook. As I’m location based I was only advertising around Cork County thinking there wasn’t much point in advertising elsewhere because of travel and distance etc. So you can imagine my surprise when I got a message from Avril all the way over in Florida! Avril is originally from Cork but has been living in Florida for several years with her husband and small children. A friend of hers from Cork had shared my post and lo and behold Avril spotted it. She explained to me on the text that she would be back in Cork that summer to visit her Mam and the rest of the family and was there any chance I could make a cast of their hands together and have it ready for her to take back to America. She explained that she is always very lonesome for her Mam when she returns to America and when she say the post thought “that’s a way to keep my Mam close”. Once I cast the plaster I need to let it cure, more often than not it’s cured within a week but sometimes if the weather is damp or cold it can take longer. It was going to be tight to have it ready in 10 days!
So the day after she landed I met Avril and her Mam, two lovely women. Friendly and chatty and we had a grand old natter. It was immediately clear to me how important family and family connections are to both Avril and her Mam. Avril longes for time back in Cork cathcing up with her brother and sisters, nieces and nephews and of course spending time with her Mam. Her Mam is a mighty woman, she raised a large family on her own and has great pride in her children and how well they all have done for themselves. I got the mould amde and cast and luckily the weather was on side and the piece was cured and finished and mounted in time for the return flight to Florida. What an adventure those hands have had. Avril had it packed safely in her hand luggage, a hard shell wheely case – she was taking no chances! But airports are busy, especially when you are travelling with young children so at some point Avril noticed her bag was missing. Avril was close to tears and her husband retraced their steps through the airport and luckily found the case. Then not long after they returned to Florida they received an evacuation notice as storm Irma was about to hit. First thing packed was the hands! Soon after she sent me a message “its just a comfort being over 4,000 miles away from my mam and knowing her hand is always in mine, yesterday I was emotional again over my Mam and I just felt her hand and it brought me comfort”.
A couple of years ago I was asked by a lovely young woman, Sharon, to do a very special job. Her Granddad was 95 at the time and her little daughter was 5, she wanted a cast of both their hands toghether. It was a beautiful piece to do, granddad/great-grandad was such a gentle man, soft spoken and curious about what I was doing. He had the most amazing hands, long and thin and of couse so many lines and wrinkles that told the story of his life. The contrast between these and the little 5year old hand – no lines or wrinkles yet and a life of stories yet to tell – is beautiful. Just this morning I had a lovely message from Sharon…
I saw the competition you ran in January and all the beautiful memories that people wanted to create. I just wanted to say thank you again for doing the amazing handcast of my lovely grandad and daughter. I am so glad that we took the time to have it done. Now that he is no longer with us I can’t express how lovely it is to still be able to hold his hand. Thank you again for your fabulous work and talent. Sharon xx”