The Huffington Post broke the story the day before Thanksgiving; Gail Be, Minnesota bead artisan, spent three years creating a one-of-a-kind crystalline wedding gown, made entirely by hand of glass beads.
The gown weighs over 400 pounds and was constructed with seven miles of beading wire (that’s almost 37,000 feet of wire!), more than 500,000 glass pearls, and 400,000 crystals. Be and her team of bead artists created incredibly intricate designs, including spiral beaded lace, heirloomed oval inserts, and scalloped lace edging—all with beads.
One would think that spending over three years of one’s life on such an artistically challenging piece would be for a commission or a special bride. However, according to the 57 year-old Be, it simply, happened. “I kept going and going,” she said. She told UK’s Daily Mail, “I thought, I'm going to build the biggest wedding dress in the world. Didn't know what the stats were, didn't know how to do it, but knew that I was going to be doing the big one.”
Her team included 23 other artists and craftspeople. “When I got to the back, I stopped and said ‘it’s done,’ and everyone got up and clapped.”
The back of the gown is more transparent than most of the rest of the quite revealing dress, and is a gorgeous starburst pattern. The front features a bare midriff and the entire gown has a decidedly Eastern Indian feel. 400 lbs. may seem impossible for such a scanty bodice, and a size 4 gown, but the train is 20.5 feet long and the skirt and train are where most of the weight is concentrated.
The model who posed in the gown reported that it hurt and she could not move or walk, but that she “felt like a princess.” What a fantastic inspiration for your next beading project!