Catherine and John were married this past weekend! She looked absolutely beautiful in her dress and John was very handsome in his tux!
Most of my “art time” for the three weeks before the wedding was spent on tweaking her dress – completing the beading, trimming seams, tacking down the lining and hemming the underlining, lining and dress. On Catherine’s last visit up north before the wedding, I took the bodice in about 1″ on each side seam creating a perfect fit, showcasing her figure. I cut the hem line for the lining and underlining and proceeded to hem both. As I worked on covering the remaining stains with beads, new design challenges emerged. Working with the original bead designs from my mother’s dress, I tweaked and adjusted the final composition, while keeping in mind what went on the left front skirt panel would also go on the right front skirt panel (and the same with the back) to follow the symmetry of the dress. One side held quite a few stains, while the other only had 2-3 small spots but both sides received equal beaded treatment. When it was all said and done, it looked beautiful and no stains were seen!
Back in March, I opened a cupboard door looking for something and out fell an old tattered white cardboard jewelry box. I bent over to pick it up and realized it held an old necklace and clip earrings that had belonged to my Grandmother Alma. As I held it in my hands, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The strands of beads matched so closely to the beads from my mom’s dress! What a synchronicity! I showed it to Catherine on our next visit downstate and she decided to wear it with a little bit of tweaking. Instead of two twisted strands of beads, she wanted only one and we shortened the length of it by about 2 1/2 inches. Removing the old dark cording that was twisted with the strands, lightened the weight of the necklace and I added a string of the very tiny seed beads from my mother’s dress. The clasp on back was broken, but I went to our local bead shop, Twisted Sisters, and purchased a lobster claw. With the one strand removed, a hole was now available for the claw!
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, the necklace wasn’t quite finished when we arrived at the Kettunen Center, but I thought I would have plenty of time to complete it. After all, we arrived on Thursday evening, a day and a half before the wedding would begin, at 3 p.m. that Saturday. On Friday, many hands pitched to wrap small white lights around grapevine which suspended from the dropped ceiling, transforming a basement into an enchanting dance hall. Saturday morning rolled around and we all were very busy, perhaps extremely busy, finishing decorating the reception room, setting up tents, hanging fabric on the outdoor arbor, putting centerpieces on the dining tables, etc. Hugs and introductions were made as guests arrived! The joy and excitement built as many important people in Catherine and John’s lives, met the others for the first time.
The time was zooming by too quickly! At 2:30 (wedding to begin at 3!) I arrived to our room where Catherine and her attendants were getting dressed. As I moved around to get my dress, I realized, “Oh my god!!! I didn’t get Catherine’s necklace finished!” I scrambled over the bed, only to realize I couldn’t find my little magnifying glasses to attach the lobster claw. I looked about and saw Laura, a friend of Catherine’s who also happens to have a terrific art background. “Laura!” I squeaked, “I can’t see to put the hook on, could you do it?!” With unending calm, Laura said, “Sure!” and with deft assurance, she completed the necklace!
As the necklace was placed around Catherine’s neck (and of course I could not see clear enough to fasten the tiny clasp – helped once again by Laura), she turned and I saw my beautiful confident daughter physically surrounded by some of her closest friends with many “threads” encircling her from her maternal line: part of a necklace once owned by her maternal Great-grandmother Alma she wore around her neck and her dress made from one once worn by her maternal GrandMary and sewn by her mother. In her hair she wore a beautiful hair ornament created by Catherine the week before. Four generations of women were represented!
Our son Brian escorted me to my seat, I thought how quickly time appears to move and how important these traditions are in bringing family together.
As Catherine walked down the aisle, escorted by her father, she beamed and her dress shimmered in the afternoon sun, with light bouncing off of each curve and drape of fabric. In a quantum world, where we are so connected in ways we don’t fully comprehend, isn’t it fun when the universe presents us with gifts and opportunities that create so much enjoyment!
PS – Thank you, Megan Ziegler for the use of your photos!