I have been focusing on jewelry for the past year and a half, but my not-so-secret passion lies in making tiaras, hair picks, and anything super fancy for special occasions. I just love love love pearls, gemstones, gold, platinum, silver, all of it. I always have. Growing up, I cut out pictures of high-end jewelry from catalogs and mailers and glued them to all manner of dress-up props. I collected costume jewelry and wore all of it at once. I buried treasures in order to find them again and feel the renewed glee of the first glance at a bracelet’s sparkle or gem’s depth of color. I’ve devoured more books about crown jewels than any normal person should.
My lust for the subject paired with my knack for working with hand tools created my very first tiara. That, and a conversation with my cousin (Hi, Jill!) about one-of-a-kind versus generic-and-gross weddings. Over the years, I’ve found the exploration of the subject using materials I could afford and tiny work spaces I was dealing with to be quite satisfying. I can honestly say that my tiaras are unique and totally of my own design. They’re inspired by what I’ve seen, but they’re built using the resources available to me and with my own way of crafting. I love the unique architecture that goes into a tiara–so delicate yet strong, so over the top yet completely purposeful, and so many, many ways to personalize.
Recently, I was contacted by a bride-to-be asking if I could make a piece for her very special day. She wanted a hair vine–a long, wire-twisted tendril with beads and sparkles, usually wrapped or pinned through a more loose and natural hair style. She saw my work in my Etsy shop and thought I might be the right person to attempt her wish. She emailed me the one tiny picture she had of what she was looking for and a description of her overall goals for the end product. The inspiration vine was silver with clear or white glittery pieces and some tiny leaf- or feather-like adornments. I did a little research to find more pictures of the same or similar hair vine, but didn’t discover much. I knew I would have to invent my own way of doing it anyway, so I just kept the tiny picture in mind and tried to focus on my own vision. We were communicating completely by email (she lives in Brazil), so we clarified and solidified details, I set a time line to keep our communication clear and moving, and I started in.
I located a few silver leaf-shaped bead options for her to choose from (she picked my favorites) and gathered some round, white pearls, clear Swarovski crystals, and quite a few feet of 26 gauge sterling silver wire. Having never made a hair vine, I was a little nervous, but I got over it pretty quickly after doing a few practice lengths in junk wire. I found that reshaping the leaves made for more graceful lines and kept the spacing of each small shoot off the main vine a pleasing and consistent distance from the next. It took a few hours to get the whole 15.25 inches completely wrapped and another 30 minutes to tweak each tiny tendril into a more organic and flowing line.
I am pleased with the results and, most importantly, the bride was ecstatic! I sent her some pictures to approve before officially posting it to Etsy, and all of the sentences in her reply ended with exclamation points. She’s going to send some photos of it in action, which I can’t wait to see. I’m tickled that I made my first hair vine as well as completed my first online custom bridal piece. I can’t wait to do more!