A Mother’s Gift: The Making of a Dress

Some wedding plans fall easily into place, while others require a bit of patience to complete. Susan Timm’s determination to realize her daughter Jenny’s dream bridal look is an inspiring story of perseverance and love.

A Special Gift For The Bride

When Susan approached us in January, 2022 to commission a sculpture of her daughter’s bespoke wedding gown, the story she told was as amazing as the dress itself. Not only did Susan’s daughter Jenny design her own dress for the big day, Susan–a professional designer and seamstress of custom bridal wear–put together the gown herself using gorgeous French fabric. 

“I purchased the fabric in Paris on a trip I took as part of a sewing course,” Susan said. “At the time I purchased it, I had no idea that it would be for my own daughter’s dress.” Creating the dress from Jenny’s sketches would be the perfect gift from the mother of the bride.

Unexpected Events

While some brides spend months searching for that one perfect dress, this particular aspect of Jenny’s wedding was perhaps the easiest task to check off the list. As Susan related to us, the journey from Jenny’s engagement to the “I do’s” took longer than originally hoped. Yet, the bride and groom–and the mother of the bride–faced each obstacle with patience and grace. To hear Susan tell it, it seemed something different cropped up nearly every month leading up to the wedding!

It all began in January, 2020. Jenny’s groom, having come down with an illness, was recovering and the happy couple resumed their plans. Susan went straight to work on the dress through the next several weeks, when a trip to Guatemala for volunteer work in late February paused her progress. Susan hoped to bring Jenny in for fittings upon her return, but the national COVID lockdown beginning that March kept them apart.

Susan, undeterred, continued to sew the dress. She and Jenny were not able to meet in person until May, and that’s when they discovered the initial measurements were too big. Jenny’s lockdown weight loss necessitated alterations, which didn’t discourage Susan. “Easier to take in a dress than to add to it,” she pointed out.

By summer, when Susan was close to finishing Jenny’s dress, she had to vacate her Minneapolis-based studio in the midst of tensions occurring in the area at the time. Her studio was broken into, but since it sustained minimal damage she was able to return a short time later.  The gown was finally completed in August, but by this time other aspects of Jenny’s wedding had to change. 

COVID restrictions required Jenny to scale down her ceremony and reception, and just days before the wedding Jenny sprained her calf after an auto accident! The bride rehearsed on crutches but thankfully recovered in time to walk down the aisle on her father’s arm for the big day.

A Special Memory For The Bride

Susan noted a spirit of kinship when she approached Erika Hitchcock, artist/founder of StoneWear Ceramics, to commission a sculpture of Jenny’s gown. A designer of bridal gowns reached out to an artist of bridal gown sculptures. It seemed the perfect project for Erika to immortalize Jenny’s vision into a treasured keepsake.

Overall work on Jenny’s sculpture took 30 hours over 8 weeks to complete, from the floral and pearl detailing on the long skirt and hand-sewn bodice to the pearl beading and rhinestones around the waist. Matching the patterns on the Parisian fabric required Erika to piece together small bits of lace from multiple patterns and texturize and carve the clay to recreate the likeness of the gown. When Susan presented Jenny with the completed sculpture, she was so thrilled she planned a professional photo shoot and got back in her wedding dress to pose with her beautiful mother and the StoneWear gown. The unique artwork inspired by Jenny’s one-of-a-kind dress symbolized the amazing journey of mother and daughter to Jenny’s happily ever after.

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When Memories Become Art

Every StoneWear Ceramics sculpture, like Jenny’s, is handmade and designed to match the wedding dress or special occasion gown from top to bottom. A woman’s wedding day is one of the most important of her life, and nothing commemorates this better than the gift of her dress replicated in stone. Pictures may capture the beauty, but a wedding gown sculpture brings the memories to life.

StoneWear Ceramics gowns are commissioned by mothers of the bride, husbands, sisters, and best friends. Each sculpture we create is one of a kind, not mass produced, because they are modeled after your dresses, your body form. If you are looking for a special wedding, birthday or anniversary gift for the woman in your life, contact us today to learn more about giving her a StoneWear Ceramics work of art created by Erika Hitchcock.

A Loving Tribute: the Mother of the Bride Dress

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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