Lydia Reeves is a brilliant, badass body casting artist, working out of a studio in Brighton (she travels around, too; see her Insta for more info on that). I’ve admired her work for a while now, and was lucky enough to be a volunteer in her Vulva Diversity Project! I then went back to have my fabulous, mismatched boobs cast so I could hang them in pride of place in my home. These experiences were so positive, empowering and fun; I’d recommend her amazing casting to anyone who wants to preserve a bit of themselves, get over any aesthetic hang-ups, and truly love their body. She has so many more awesome things coming soon, so give her a follow on Instagram and keep an eye on her website now!
Lydia recently popped down to Hastings to do some recording for a super exciting project I’m working on. I can’t wait for you all to hear her speaking passionately about body love, breaking stigmas, and the
pressures of society. But for now, here she is in blog interview form, talking about her vulva project…
(Photo from Lydia’s website.)
How did the idea for this project come to you? What was the original aim, and has it changed?
After suffering with huge anxieties and insecurities surrounding my own vulva, I decided I wanted to create something which helped other vulva owners to celebrate their vulvas, instead of feeling ashamed by them.
This started by casting myself, and then a few friends. I had no big plans for it to go the way that it has! After realising the positive effects it had on me and my friends, I put a shout-out out on my Instagram to see if anyone else wanted to come and get theirs cast. Turns out this project resonates with A LOT of people!! Since then it has organically grown into this beautiful, diverse, project which has
already helped so so many people understand that all vulvas are completely normal, and beautifully unique.
When did you first cast a vulva? What was that like!?
I cast my own vulva when I was 19 (almost 10 years ago!) This was after first learning how to body cast, and of course, I applied this technique straight to my vulva! At the time I wasn’t in the right mental place to start embracing my vulva, so hid the cast under my bed for years and years!
When I first started this project last year, my first vulva cast wasn’t the best…It was on one of my best friends and she happened to have a lot of pubic hair at the time. I had no idea how much Nivea cream I was supposed to use, and clearly didn’t use enough! We spent the best part of 10 minutes easing the goop off of her pubes bit by bit as she’d got pretty stuck in there!! A HUGE learning curve for me, and thankfully we’re still good mates haha!
What do you use to make your castings?
I mainly use a high strength plaster to create the finished pieces. I love the organic feel and the fragility each cast possesses.
What is the process like for you, the artist, working with a model?
I absolutely love the casting process. First and foremost I always make sure I’m putting the participant at ease as much as I can. I completely understand that this can be a very nerve-racking experience. Before getting into the casting process, we chat a lot about why they decided to come and get their vulva cast today, and I share a bit about my journey too if it feels appropriate. I could have never predicted how much I’d learn from doing this project, and it’s by far the best thing I’ve done to date!
(Photo from Lydia’s website.)
Where did you see this project going? Was there a particular goal you wanted to hit?
I had no idea where I was going to take this project when I first started. At the very beginning I kept on saying ‘if it helps just one person feel more comfortable with their vulva, then I feel like I’ve done a great thing.’ I could never have foreseen it going the way it did, as just over a year later I’ve cast 200 vulvas, and had countless messages from people – both who are part of the project, and also those who follow my work on Instagram – saying how much my work has completely changed the way they view their own vulva! I can’t wait for my exhibition, and my book launch, to reach more and more people.
Did you know Lydia sells some amazing handmade products, too? Check her store out here!
Where can people find you on social media? And how can they sign up to get their beautiful bodies immortalised in this unique way?
My Instagram is @lydiareeves_artist and my website is lydiareeves.com . I am no longer taking volunteers for my Vulva Diversity Project, but I am still very much casting vulvas, boobies, bums and tums (and anything else you’d like casting!) so please feel free to drop me a message about booking in!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Lydia. Huge love for you!