Have you ever wanted to give a wedding gift that is so unique and memorable it can't be duplicated? Using ceramic, glass, and stone, mosaic artist Shelly Hamill creates sculptures commemorating the bride's wedding dress. Parents have commissioned these beautiful and intricate mosaic sculptures as a surprise gift, presented to the bride on her wedding day.
These art pieces seem likely to ensure that the memories of the wedding will last far beyond the ceremony and reception. I contacted Shelly to learn more about her work and asked to share her story.
Q: Why do you think that parents are commissioning these wedding dress sculptures? A: The wedding day goes by so quickly and, other than photographs, very little is left after the event to 'show for it'. The cake gets eaten, the music gets played, the flowers die, and presumably the wedding dress is worn only once. The tile mosaic wedding dress sculptures are a way to enjoy that dress over and over again every day. It is a lasting piece for many generations to enjoy. And it is something very different.
Q: How did you get started as a mosaic artist? A: Interestingly, I was a wedding planner for 15 years, but I started in the 'art world' by coordinating art events. I founded a free summer program for kids involving arts, crafts, music, and dance. Through this work, I realized I needed to be the one creating the art. I started with photography but wasn't satisfied with the single image, so I would cut them up and put them back together to create a new image, which eventually led me into mosaics. I love the challenge of working with materials that are hard and rigid to recreate something that appears fluid.
Q: What other types of mosaics do you create? A: Mostly I create mosaic dress sculptures, but I also make mosaic portraits out of Italian Smalti glass. These portraits are far more detailed. Currently, I'm working on a winery crest, also of Italian Smalti glass, for large winery in Italy that has commissioned the crest to hang in their New York offices.
Q: Is there a wedding dress sculpture you're currently working on that you would like share with us? A: Yes, I'm really excited about a wedding dress commission I'm working on right now. The dress has organza flowers with tulle overlay on the skirt. I'm using the same china the bride included on her wedding registry and will be incorporating real organza flowers and the tulle overlay. It will be quite the unique and special piece, presented to the bride on her wedding day as a gift from her mother.
Q: How do you want people feel when they see your art? A: As a child, I hated that you couldn't touch artwork. I love that people can touch my sculptures. I want people to touch them, to experience the rigidity of them. Seeing these materials, which are most commonly used in industrial settings, in a way that is feminine and flirty, makes people think differently and see differently. Hopefully the sculptures will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them every day.
A unique work of art that commemorates what is arguably the most special dress a woman will ever wear -- what an extraordinary wedding gift!
In addition to creating sculptures, Shelly enjoys teaching mosaics to both adults and children. She lives in Aspen, Colorado, with her husband and three children. Her mosaic dress sculptures have been shown in museums and galleries across the United States, Bermuda, and Mexico. To view more of Shelly's work, you can visit www.shellyhamill.com.
Do you have questions or comments about wedding or gift giving etiquette? Please email me at AskCheryl@RegistryFinder.com.
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