In November 2014, we were sitting around the table, trying to figure out how to showcase the breast massage techniques we’ve discovered.
Ileisha: “Maybe we can find a mom and ask her to let us film her?”
Anna: “Let’s just buy a mannequin and show the techniques on that!”
Jeff: “Wait, you want a mannequin? Why don’t we just make a simulation model?”
How do you make a lactation simulation model? What is a lactation simulation model? Imagine–a CPR dummy, but for breastfeeding. At the time we didn’t think about training future doctors and nurses, we just wanted to build something so that we can film breast massage techniques!
Our first plan of action was to scan a real-life woman, capture her geometry, and 3D print a mold that we could then fill to make a life-size torso. We tried doing that, but we quickly found that the scanning technology we had would not allow us to scan a living, breathing human–this technology was made to scan lifeless, immobile objects. On top of that, the 3D printer would have to print the mold in four parts–that means that our final product would have ugly seams. We had to abandon this idea.
By this point, it was January 2015, and I had already convinced the University of Michigan that we would have a simulation model to showcase at the SXSW Interactive University of Michigan booth in March.
So, there we were, sitting around the table again, trying to figure out the next step. Jeff suddenly realizes that we could just life-cast. Life-casting, in a nutshell, is painting someone with a substance that captures every detail of that person’s body. When that substance hardens, you take it off and have a perfect imprint that you can then fill up to create sculptures.
“Great idea! Let’s learn how to life-cast!”
That same night, Jeff sent me a website with instructions of how to life-cast a pregnant woman. At the bottom of the screen, I saw the name Guy Tedesco.
Looked him up and gave him a call–miraculously, he picks up.
We spend the next hour learning about each other’s passions, interests, and goals. At the end of the conversation, I ask him, a talented and accomplished artist and sculptor, if he could help guide us through the process of life-casting a breastfeeding mom. His response “Why don’t you guys drive down to Louisville, Kentucky, and I’ll just do it with you guys in my studio? I’ll even find you a breastfeeding mom!”
Two weeks later, Jeff, his girlfriend, my boyfriend and I made the six hour drive down to Louisville from Ann Arbor.
We spent the next 48 hours eating a lot of great food and immersing ourselves into the world of life-casting.
Here are some pictures from that experience!
We are so grateful to OwlTree for lending us their space to do the life-casting, to our model, and to Guy Tedesco for spending a weekend teaching us and supporting our mission!