Written in Stone

Virginia Beach-based sculptor reimagines wedding dresses as custom miniature works of art
©Fresh Look Photography

After a series of personal tragedies, Virginia Beach-based artist and educator turned entrepreneur Erika Hitchcock found new purpose in creativity. The phoenix that arose from the ashes was a powerful symbol: the wedding dress. Hitchock began making replicas of wedding gowns in clay as she remade her own life. And her fledgling business, StoneWear, took flight.

Each intensely handmade custom dress—sometimes commissioned by brides, but often by husbands as anniversary gifts—is sculpted from buff-colored, high fire stoneware clay. Working from photo sources, Hitchcock lovingly and laboriously fashions every detail of every dress for 25 hours and more. 

What began as more purist clay-and-glaze creations have become mixed-media works of art featuring hand painting, beading and other intricate embellishments. “I am constantly testing,” she explains, figuring out how to recreate draped fabric, intricate lace patterns and barely-there translucency.

Hitchcock enthuses without hesitation that her favorite aspect is hearing “the inspiring love stories” that emerge. And some stories are so touching that they led to Stronger than Stone, a program through which the artist donates one of her sculpted gowns to very grateful and surprised recipients. 

A portion of her proceeds is also donated to local organizations that bring “social opportunities to adults struggling to find normalcy and companionship while living with mental illness.”

A wedding dress symbolizes many things. To Hitchock it symbolizes “change—in its purest and most powerful form. It celebrates a promise that, in this world, you will never be alone.”

Learn more at StonewearCeramics.com. 

Betsy DiJulio
+ posts and articles

Betsy DiJulio is a full-time art teacher, artist and curator with side hustles as a freelance writer, including for Coastal Virginia Magazine, and a vegan recipe developer and food stylist and photographer for Tofutti Brands.

Share This Article:


Related Articles

Coast Guard retiree turned musician, Bobby BlackHat, after experiencing “Richneck,” is now singing about his “Broke Knees”...

Beloved Norfolk video store’s massive and historic collection of films on DVD, Blu-ray and VHS now available to the public...

Half-Shell Education: The Hatchery waterside eatery on Gwynn’s Island marries dining and aquaculture tours By Mary Scott Hardaway A two-lane...

Get Lost VB brings island flavors and a unique treat to the Oceanfront As the weather across Coastal Virginia heats...

If you’re looking to stock up your freezer, here are five local, family-owned butcher shops in Coastal Virginia to check...

At Eastern Shore Decoy Show in Cape Charles, collectors and enthusiasts bring their passion for the region’s rich carving heritage...

Special Deal!
Events Calendar

Temporary Maintenance scheduled

Hey Coastal Virginia!
Just a heads up: we’re giving our servers a little TLC this Thursday, May 2, starting at 4:00 PM. While you’re avoiding the 44% chance of rain out there, our website might take a quick siesta. We’ll make sure it’s awake as soon as possible!