Many of us discovered hidden talents and hobbies during lockdown last year, whether it was knitting, baking, or trying our hand at brewing pineapple beer.
When Alison Hawthorn, from Wirral, England, found herself stuck at home with her four young kids she decided to milk the situation.
She came up with the idea of making jewellery with her breastmilk – and her business is proving to be quite the cash cow.
Alison (30) and her partner, Dan Byrnes, have four kids – Daisy, Rosie and twin boys Joey and Jensen. When lockdown hit she says her days were filled with “kids, nappies, morning, noon and night”.
“I felt like I was losing my mind, I was going crazy,” Alison says. “I said to Dan, ‘I need to do something for myself’.”
The stay-at-home mom was breastfeeding her twin boys and looking after her two elder children during successive lockdowns when she started experimenting with resin, a material which can be moulded into strong and pliable products.
She then decided to make handcrafted keepsakes, jewellery and trinkets and added her breastmilk to them. “I breastfed my twins for the first year, and as we approached the year, I wanted something to celebrate our feeding journey,” she says.
For each piece of jewellery, Alison needs about 10ml - or two teaspoons - of milk. The process includes double boiling, adding preservative powder and leaving it out to dry. It’s then ground into a fine powder before being moulded into special pendants, rings, charms and keyrings.
After making the special pieces for herself and sharing it on social media, Alison (30) has been inundated with requests from people across the country who want a personalised reminder of the special bond between mother and child.
“People send their breastmilk to me in the post,” she says. “It’s actually quite resilient. Although it wouldn’t be suitable to be eaten after this time out of the fridge, it’s absolutely fine to go into the resin.”
But not everyone is a fan of her unique artwork. Opinions on the keepsakes have ranged from gorgeous all the way to ghastly. Not only does she use breastmilk, she also uses ash, hair and even fur.
Despite the naysayers, Alison plans to be making jewellery until the cows come home. “I’m struggling with orders because I can only really work when all the kids are asleep,” she says.
“It’s doing really well, because people like things that are a bit different.”
SOURCES: METRO.CO.UK, NYPOST.COM, LIVERPOOLECHO.CO.UK, ENTERTAINMENTDAILY.CO.UK