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We chat with two friends who launched a business that allows families to forever capture their familial bond with what they call a “lifecast.” Read on for more.

041816SPOTLIGHT
Cincinnati Lifecasting offers casts for families as well as pregnant women.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about Cincinnati Lifecasting, what is it?!
Melissa Friday-Lewis, Co-Founder of Cincinnati Lifecasting: Cincinnati Lifecasting is a service that basically creates physical versions of your memories. We make perfect replicas of hands, torsos, face, feet…virtually any body part can be cast in order to make a lifelike replica or “lifecast.” And when I say “perfect” they are so detailed that you can see hair follicles! We currently borrow space at Sage mama studios on Riverside Drive and in Mason at Roots Wellness on Reading Road near Tylersville.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind Cincinnati Lifecasting?
Friday-Lewis: We started off by deciding to make a more life-like version of the traditional “belly cast” for pregnant women. I had been making regular belly casts for years as a birth Doula and along with Jess’s help/encouragement/nagging and many failed attempts, we were able to make a beautiful lifecast on Jess while she was pregnant. About a year after that success I decided to try to do more belly lifecasts as I had some requests for pregnant torsos as art pieces. I found a few pregnant models, and Jess started helping me. We were posting about it on our Facebook pages and soon we were getting requests from friends to make family hand castings. We were excited to take on the challenge and to fine tune our process! We have now had dozens of requests for the hand casts! After doing several hand castings for friends, we were encouraged to finally step out of our circle by a very special request to cast the hands of a father who was losing his fight with brain cancer and his family. It was very humbling to be part of this family’s process of saying goodbye to their husband and father.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Cincinnati Lifecasting?
Friday-Lewis: My name is Melissa Friday-Lewis and I’ve been a birth Doula in Cincinnati since 2004. My family and I live in Blue Ash. Jess Kutchura is an accountant and a birth doula. Her family lives in Clifton.

Cincy Chic: What types of casting services do you offer?
Friday-Lewis: We are currently most skilled at making casts of torsos and hands, but we are open to casting almost any part of a body that we would have a request for. If we get a new request it might take a few casting sessions to get a good final product because each process can have different challenges that need to be figured out. We LOVE new ideas for lifecast art and will jump at the chance to do something different! We have been approached about possibly doing the torso of a bodybuilder, a full head casting to hold virtual reality goggles, casting baby hands and feet and breasts of a woman before a mastectomy. I was thinking how much fun it would be to make wall mounted hands to hold a guitar!

Cincy Chic: How much does it cost for a lifecast?
Friday-Lewis: Our current introductory price is $50 per hand, and that includes a basic clear finish. The metal finish will be $50 more per cast. We will be raising our prices at the end of the summer to better reflect our level of experience and the quickly progressing quality of our pieces.

The prices for the pregnancy lifecasts are:
-A full belly neck to thighs is $350 with a clear finish or $450 for a metal finish
-A belly bowl (without the breasts) is $250 for clear finish or $300 for the metal finish

These prices will not be increasing at the end of summer. In addition we can make a timelapse video of your casting session, set to music for another $25. We are also working with someone who will make beautiful wooden custom display cases for the casts.

Cincy Chic: What is it that makes Cincinnati Lifecasting unique?
Friday-Lewis: While most family activities provide an experience where each person is doing an individual task, having a family lifecasting session is sometimes the only time where a family will be physically touching and looking at each other face to face for 30-45 minutes without cell phones or gaming devices! It was actually a bit of a surprise for us how powerful these moments with everyone in one place without outside distractions can be for a family!

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Cincinnati Lifecasting?
Friday-Lewis: We would love to do more of EVERYTHING! We are working on expanding our variety of finishes, ways to display the casts, and of course we are dreaming of having our own studio! I personally would love to explore ways to accept donations for lifecasts of families with children who are terminally ill, or young families with a parent who is on hospice.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about Cincinnati Lifecasting?
Friday-Lewis: Like us on Facebook. Jess or myself will respond rather quickly to requests for more info or for scheduling. Last week I had a discussion about an Italian sculptor with a potential client! It was great, I love talking to people and learning new things! Readers can also Google “lifecasting,” or search on YouTube to get ideas for how they might want their lifecast art to be made!

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