One of the flakes fell on the edge of the wooden box and stayed there; other snowflakes followed and they grew until they took the shape of a woman. Her clothes looked like the whitest gauze... made of millions of little star-shaped snowflakes. She was beautiful but all made of ice: cold, blindingly glittering ice; and yet she was alive, for her eyes stared at Kai like two stars, but neither rest nor peace was to be found in her gaze.
I love the theme of The Snow Queen, and I have made a piece previously that heavily influenced me in the making of this corset. The Snow Queen is a beautiful but malicious character, and I have always been drawn to villainesses. I also thoroughly enjoy making things in white, relying on very subtle colour changes and textures to communicate themes. Knowing that this story has been adapted into a ballet meant that I chose the category of En Pointe immediately.
Snowflakes crystallize in the hips, growing and fusing into each other, partially melting in silver drizzles, while across the ribs and chest a blizzard swarms and swirls, scattering ice crystals. On the abdomen frost tessellates, threatening to encase everything in its freezing grasp.
I am a lover of beads, and this piece is covered in bead embroidery and bead-weaving, a technique that is more commonly associated with jewellery than with garments. There are countless beads in this piece, possibly going into the hundreds of thousands. I started this in November, and although at the time I had to schedule around other jobs I have been working in it constantly since January, there is perhaps 100+ hours involved in the beading. For example, the 37 stones that are encased in beads took between 15 and 30 minutes to bezel each, while the four snowflakes beaded on the bust took around an hour each.
The surface is made from ivory silk scraps, which, although it is not the exact colour of snow, is much more forgiving on the eye and helps to enhance the pearly whiteness of the beads.
The beads used are all assorted size glass or Swarovski: seed beads, hex beads, bugle beads, bubble beads, drop beads, dagger beads, flat-back rhinestones, bicones, and assorted size Swarovski stones in silver, white, and translucent aurora borealis (a rainbow sheen). In addition there are some fantastic quartz points on the hips.
Unfortunately, despite this corset being made to fit me in November, I was unable to wear it for the photographs as I discovered in December that I am pregnant, and by now I am slightly too round and firm to squish myself into the 19” waist! Ooops! This time next year I’m sure I will manage to wear it.
I hope you enjoy the description and the pictures – more pictures and some insight into the making process can be found on my Facebook page.