By Margarita Hirapetian
Artist Rachel Mcdonald’s crowns will make you feel like a princess, a queen, a goddess, perhaps even all three at once! They are not only beautiful, but the sheer detail that goes into them will make you swoon. No offense to Queen Elizabeth II, but even she has probably never seen such intricately elaborate and exquisitely gorgeous creations. All kinds of interesting items go into the creation of one of Rachel’s crowns – seashells, crystals, cameos, flowers, feathers, butterflies. You name it, it’s there. But Rachel puts all of these elements together in such a seamless fashion that nothing seems out of place or like it doesn’t quite belong. One of her pieces is especially whimsical and magical – a unicorn crown complete with iridescent, sparkling horn and surrounded by pink feathers and glitter-dusted shells. It’s something fit for a fairy queen. Rachel’s creations are also great for costume parties or simply on days when you’re feeling particularly regal. Who says a crown can’t be worn on any given day? We can all be royalty, after all, even if it’s simply pretend. There’s also no way you can put on one of Rachel’s stunning pieces and not hold your head up a little higher, straighten those shoulders, and strut like you own the world. That’s the kind of power a Rachel Mcdonald crown imbues upon its wearers.
Rachel initially became interested in art in school. A creative soul through and through, Rachel would often garner the wrath of school teachers who noticed her creating art rather than paying attention in class. Sometimes teachers even went so far as to call her parents. But this love of art never quite disappeared despite all of this opposition from authority figures. Rachel continued to create, and it was suggested that she go to art school rather than a regular school to truly expand her mind and be allowed to be as creative as her heart desired. Interestingly enough, Rachel’s inspiration for her crowns came from mermaids. She explains, “Since I was a little girl I’ve always loved mermaids and so that is truly what inspired me. Mermaids were always viewed as such free and strong creatures, and that’s how I feel when I create my crowns: free and strong.” Honestly, we can totally picture Ariel from The Little Mermaid wearing one of Rachel’s crowns. Mermaids are also very mythical and mysterious creatures, and Rachel’s creations certainly carry those same characteristics because they seem absolutely magical.
Of course, creating doesn’t come without its set of challenges, as all artists can agree. For Rachel, the struggle sometimes comes in the form of a customer or patron who has a very specific type of crown in mind. Rachel admits this can stifle her creativity at times: “One of the biggest challenges for me is when I am creating something for a customer and they want it a certain way to the T. It makes it hard for me because it doesn’t really allow me to use my creativity freely while making the piece.” Rachel’s process itself is rather fascinating and perhaps deceptively simple. She explains, “When I make my crowns I start with a fabric headband and use Styrofoam as my base. I use three different glues to make sure the crown is good and sturdy. I then use jewels, shells, and maybe even flowers to finish the look.” What results is something that is far more extravagant and elaborate than you can imagine. One piece we’re particularly enamored and enchanted by is a butterfly and floral creation featuring a riot of colors, including pink, orange, red, and green all coming together in perfect harmony.
Rachel loves what she does because she gets to work with people all over the world, and it is one of her biggest sources of pride: “I’ve had customers from Africa, Australia, and even Japan! Making women feel like the queen they are is such a rewarding feeling.” She also observes that perhaps people from such diverse places are drawn to her creations because “they are all handmade and also very unique. I make crowns people have never seen before. One of the things that makes them so special is I spiritually cleanse my crowns so they are filled with good positive energy when they go to their new owners.” Rachel further hopes that the women who wear her crowns feel confident, unstoppable, and strong, and we have absolutely no doubt that they do. It’d be simply impossible not to.
As for aspirations toward the future, Rachel hopes to see her crowns featured in movies, magazines, and fashion runways. She says, “I want to run my own custom crown shop and sell different types of my artwork.” We have every confidence she will accomplish that dream.
Make sure you check out Rachel’s Instagram (@charmedcrown) to see all of her work in better detail!