When is a dress more than a dress? When, like with Linda Mitchell, it becomes a family tradition. We are thrilled to share her story. 

The Perfect Dress

Linda Mitchell was planning her wedding in the early months of 1975. Her mother bought a new dress at Yolanda’s of Belmont in Massachusetts for the special occasion. The floor-length sky blue gown featured delicate weave-work and baby pearl beading covering the tank-style bodice, and it beautifully fit the mother of the bride. To this day, Linda recalls with clarity the memory of watching her mother in the showroom, thinking at the time she had definitely picked the perfect dress.

Linda’s mother passed away in 1992. Yolanda’s, an institution in bridal and formalwear in the metropolitan Boston area since the 1960s, closed permanently in 2009. Yet Linda hung onto the blue dress and treasured the memories associated with it. 

The dress remained in a special place in her closet, never worn until 2001, when Linda’s daughter announced her plans to marry in Bermuda. Linda’s own search for the perfect mother of the bride gown proved fruitless at first. Linda wanted an outfit suitable for a tropical destination wedding, elegant yet formal. As it turned out, she had the perfect dress all along, and it fit.

“How about I wear the dress Nanny wore to my wedding?” Linda suggested to Heather one day after trying it on. She’d meant it as a joke, but Heather was thrilled with the idea. The Mitchells thus began a tradition of spanning the perfect mother of the bride dress over generations. While Linda’s mother could not be present for Heather’s wedding, both women embraced the nostalgia tied to the gown and happy thoughts of “Nanny” being with them in spirit.

The Perfect Gift

In 2021, Linda was about to welcome her new daughter-in-law to the family and wanted something unique and from the heart to commemorate the event. While browsing Instagram for ideas, she discovered StoneWear Ceramics and our beautiful, customized wedding gown sculptures. The pictures inspired Linda to commission us for a replica of her daughter-in-law’s dress (see below). 

As Linda surveyed our other works, she noticed a sculpture of a wedding gown also worn by different generations in the same family. Linda was so pleased with the replica of her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress, she asked if we would be willing to create a second sculpture, this time of her beaded heirloom gown.

We founded StoneWear Ceramics in 2019 to create inspirational gifts celebrating love and new beginnings associated with weddings, so we happily took on the commission because this dress had special meaning for Linda’s family. We sculpted the dress using our special stoneware” clay and, after two firings, painted the dress to color match Linda’s sky blue gown. 

The biggest achievement associated with this particular sculpture was the intricate beadwork not only on the bodice and sleeves but the miniature purse attached to the left cuff. We completed all these details of pearls and glass beading after sealing the sculpture. Overall, the entire work took approximately forty hours–over the course of 8 weeks–to complete. Work on the purse alone, which we added as a surprise detail for Linda, took five hours.

In the end, the attention to detail and color was well worth it when Linda received her commission. The two-time mother of the bride was so thrilled with our work, she immediately donned the dress again to pose with her newest heirloom and sang our praises on video:

The Perfect Memory

Linda Mitchell’s sculpture is one of a kind, as is the dress that inspired it. The sculpture not only symbolizes the beautiful and unique design of the dress but its role in the Mitchell family for the last five decades, a tradition passed from mother to daughter.

The gift of a StoneWear Ceramics bridal gown or formal dress sculpture is one to treasure. No two StoneWear sculptures are alike because every work of art is based on a bride’s wedding day dress–from the gown’s length to the individual accents that give the bride her unique style. Every gown we create also aligns with the bride’s form, adding a truly personalized touch that isn’t copied elsewhere. Mothers–and mothers-in-law–have given StoneWear Ceramics sculptures to the brides in their families and wedding and anniversary gifts, as have husbands for the special women in their lives. 

A StoneWear gown is a personal gift that makes a statement and preserves cherished memories. We are proud to capture the beauty of your wedding or formal gown and present you with a work of art you will pass down to new generations. Contact us today to learn more about commissioning your gown in stone.

Looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift? Use our Order Form to start your StoneWear design! Once we receive your request, we’ll send you an estimate and discuss the details of bringing your custom piece to life.

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