Yoni (योनि) is the Sanskrit word for the vagina.
It is the divine passage, womb or sacred temple. The word covers a range of meanings, including: place of birth, source, origin, spring, fountain, place of rest, repository, receptacle, seat, abode, home, lair, nest, stable.
The female form has always been a subject for artists who are fascinated with the curves, folds and beauty of a woman’s body.
I started incorporating the Yoni into my artwork about 10 years ago as I explored body casting techniques and found that I could create the artwork that I wanted to by using plaster moulds, alginate and clay. My work is inspired by nature in all its forms so I love being able to combine the human form with the natural textures of leaves, ammonites, stones and tree barks.
Choosing to have your Yoni cast is one that some people jump at whilst others initially say “oh no, I couldn’t!” but have later come back to me after thinking about it and decided that they’d love to!
You will see yourself in a way that you have never seen before and it is certainly a unique talking point. There are many reasons why you might want to immortalise your most private, sacred and sensitive part of your body. You will have your own personal reasons.
The casting process
The casting takes place in a safe and comfortable environment and you can chose the position that you’d like to be cast in ie legs together or open. The process takes about 30-40 minutes. I do ask that you remove or at least closely trim your pubic hair before arriving (in whatever way is most comfortable for you), as this means there's less to get caught up in the mould, and the resulting cast looks more beautiful and well defined without needing any sanding. If you choose not to remove your pubic hair, then you can apply a thick layer of natural barrier cream to protect your hair which I will provide. Piercings can be removed or, depending on the type of piercing, taped down, or moved to the side and cast.
On the day I will ask you to remove your clothing from the waist down and lay on your back on a massage couch. Everyone feels a bit self conscious at this point. If you want a closed legged pose then you stay as you are, or otherwise assume the ‘frog leg’ position. Any embarrassment only lasts for a moment as I will immediately apply a think layer of alginate to the area to be cast ~ please note that I wear gloves at all times. If you are having your final piece made from clay, I will be pouring quick setting plaster onto you at this point. The closest comparison to sensation would be to imagine someone pouring cool thick yoghurt over you. Most people squeal and laugh at this point.
As the alginate starts to set, I apply a few layers of wet plaster bandage to your pubic area to form a hard outer shell that will support the mould.
It's not a sexy process, but it's something to talk about at dinner parties for the rest of your life!
When this layer has set I will gently pull the mould away from your body and you can get cleaned up while I work on filling the mould with plaster.
There is a small element of mess involved so I provide wetwipes etc but any small pieces of alginate and plaster generally drop off as they dry. If you want to decorate the cast yourself it is occasionally possible to take it away on the day or the same week. If you’d like me to decorate or finish the cast for you, or mount it or cut it into a particular shape, then I will post it to you when it is ready. We can discuss the options and your requirements when you make your appointment.
It is important for you to feel safe, comfortable and to enjoy your casting experience as much as possible. If you’d like to bring a friend with you, you are very welcome.