Artist Paula Strawn has turned her paintbrush and talent to an unexpected but charming art form – baby helmets. Her decorative paint jobs turn these medical devices into playful accessories.
The baby helmets Strawn paints on are actually used to shape babies’ developing skulls. Flat-head syndrome, or plagiocephaly, is a common condition for children in which their still-soft skulls become deformed and appear flat. The potential causes for this condition are numerous – it can result from a constricted environment in the womb (for example, if there is more than one baby in the womb) or if the baby spends too much time lying on their back with pressure on the back of their head.
It is unclear whether plagiocephaly is just an aesthetic condition or whether it affects brain function, but it is easily treatable if identified before the baby’s skull has hardened. It can be treated by repositioning the baby’s head often or by giving them a baby helmet.
The idea to paint on baby helmets came to Strawn when a friend of hers complained about the looks she would get in public when people saw their child wearing a baby helmet. After painting a design on that first baby helmet, the baby’s doctor encouraged Strawn to leave business cards and fliers at his office. Now, her business has ballooned – she estimates that she has painted more than 1200 baby helmets in the 10 years that she has been doing so.
Be sure to check out her website for more awesome designs!
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