Nipples that forecast the weather, bums that stand big and proud... Mark Deith has seen it all.
Rather, he hasn’t seen it, but his daughter Hannah has, as it is she who steps in when it comes to the more intimate female side of the family business of casting body parts.
That’s what Mark does at Long Sutton Barns under the heading La Boutique Du Moulage – that last word translates as ‘moulding’.
At this time of year whatever part of the flesh clients offer for casting is going to end up goose-bumped, even with the fires turned up, but there are consolations – Mark is currently offering casting for half price to whoever mentions this newspaper article.
And it’s not just “lips and nips” as Mark puts it that are most commonly cast, but treasured children’s hands or feet, beautiful baby bumps, family members’ hands clasped in a protective circle and, a recent development this, pet paws.
He has cast all these and far more since he launched the business last August, but it’s unlikely that anything comes as a shock for the man who spent 19 years with the Metropolitan Police in London – four of those with the riot squad.
In that capacity he was one of the officers dealing with unrest over the poll tax, strikes by Wapping printers and the miners as well as the Clapham rail disaster.
He and his wife Sheila had a young family at the time and understandably just wanted to get out of London. A move followed and Mark then spent 11 years working in Spalding for Lincolnshire Police, where he was Sergeant Mark Deith.
Alongside the police work Mark has always had an interest in ceramics, and took lessons in sculpting and throwing pots as a hobby.
After retiring from the police, Mark took over the Paint a Pot Place in Bourne where he was doing clay imprints and plaster outcasts, and the idea was he would also have time to produce and sell his own sculptures – predominantly stylised nudes and figurines of goddesses.
The shop was so busy that Mark didn’t have a chance to do his own work, but now he has moved on to body casting he plans to start sculpting and selling pieces from his unit at Long Sutton Barns.
Mark says: “I have always liked the human form and I had seen body casting elsewhere. My eldest daughter and I experimented on volunteers to gain experience – Sheila asked some of her colleagues and it was surprising how many of them were interested in it.”
With more time available to devote to his art, Mark is also considering the idea of making cold cast bronze pieces, sculptures that have the appearances of bronze but are a resin mix combined with bronze powder.