A young mum in India has been creating baby figurines using breastmilk, newborn baby hair, nails and umbilical cords.
Tharika, 27, is an art and craft enthusiast from Chennai, south India, and one of the first designers in the country to make these memorable keepsakes for new mums.
The statues are a way to preserve their very first moments of motherhood in the form of a sentimental keepsake.
Tharika uses 15ml of breastmilk and turns it into ‘plastic’, using preservatives and moulds in resin for about two months.
This shapes the drops of milk to make the baby figures.
While she uses moulds, she also adds a baby’s clipped nails and strands of hair to make these pieces.
Tharika said: ‘I collect breastmilk from a mother, preserve it and make a jewellery out of it.
‘I add organic preservatives to stop the milk from getting spoiled, then I dry it up to make it as solid shapes… we make it to last for a lifetime.
‘If it is pendants, minimum 3ml is enough; for statues I use 15ml of breastmilk. I use the baby’s umbilical cord, first clipped hair and nails and even make keepsakes with wedding flowers.’
Tharika also designs silver jewellery pieces, including pendants, earrings, bracelets and photo frames.
Just a year into the business, the mother-of-one says the response to her talent has been overwhelming, as orders pile in.
New mums either come to her directly or parcel milk to her for the keepsakes.
She adds: ‘I get orders mostly by word of mouth. When a customer buys a product from me, she gets happy and spreads the word to her family and friends. People are so excited to see this.
‘Many customers contact me using social media. It’s the trust I have to gain from the mothers, that’s the real difficulty I faced.’
Tharika was drawn to the idea when she gave birth to her son. She did lengthy research on the internet and tried the process of using her breastmilk.
After experimenting for eight months, Tharika finally succeeded in making a baby statue out of her breastmilk.
She said: ‘As a new mom I had the dream to keepsake my own breastmilk. I was shocked when I learnt about breastmilk jewellery. I was curious to know more about it.
‘I tried to make one for myself and achieved it. I wanted help other mums to make the same, and that’s how my journey started.
‘There is no special course for this. I learnt from making mistakes from my own breastmilk.’
She has now sold 1500 products to over 250 customers across the country, with prices starting from £8.
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