Gillian Chadwick Designer Elemental Child

Photo by Kristie Krause 


Hello, and welcome! 

I'm Gillian, and I launched Elemental Child in November of 2013 to offer these magical, mythically-minded designs on the off chance anyone else besides me was interested :) The years since have been a wild and wonderful ride. I still design all of our crowns, and still make many of them myself. I added a jewelry line in 2016 as well, and it's be an excellent way to create in a different format. Our incredible production manager Leela Ehrhart came on board in 2015. With a unique eye towards meticulous craftsmanship and over 20 years of experience, she makes a great many of your orders by hand, while improving each design by being the best wire-worker I've ever met. My powerhouse of a mom, Susan Whiteman, coordinates all the packing and shipping your orders so each piece arrives in your hands in the condition it leaves our workbenches...and has heard every idea I've had since the beginning. 

My first love is music, and my band Ex Reverie has released albums that are the musical component of the particular beauty I'm always seeking. Just like when I'm making crowns, I'm forever influenced by science fiction, fantasy, magic, and heavy psych rock and roll. Think Led Zeppelin writing songs about Tolkien and you're on the right page. Elemental Child is the visual wing of this thing I've always tried to express: that there are other realms of beauty and power available to us right here, right now, and they can be as real as you want them to be. 

Crowns are a perfect embodiment of this. They have a unique place in the history of human adornment. They are traditionally ritual wear, a sign of exalted status. That they rest upon the head symbolizes a connection to the higher realms. They are used to express a mandate from an irrefutable force. I am interested in the idea that our best power in this world does not come from hereditary, political lines but rather our connection to the conduit of raw energy that is nature itself. Our crowns are real crowns: they are handmade of many precious materials and top-grade stones. They are not built as costume pieces, because I believe the roles you wish to embody do not need to be characters. They are you in your different iterations in this life. You can be crowned in the very real and untamed magic of nature. That's a birthright we all share. 


In 2000 I started and ran my first headpiece company, Elemental Dream Day. I wanted to call it Elemental Child even then - after the Tyrannasaurus Rex song, but thought "Child" might be too confusing. Nearly two decades later I'm not as interested in compromises. That company was great fun, and taught me quite a bit. I had headpieces in magazines, worked with awesome brides, and I had a chance to do acres of research and design in the realm of headpiece construction. I won a Lapidary Journal award for one of the pieces. After a few years, though, I closed shop because I felt that it was distracting me too much from music.

Over the next decade I continued to make headpieces for all of my friends when they got married, as well as fun pieces for myself for stage. Every year brought another flurry of custom crowns, and through each one I learned another angle of construction (like using live ferns in crown - you have to spritz them all the way to the ceremony! Or willow branches as base construction - buy them when they are young and green or they'll snap).

With a world tuning in more and more to magic, and the encouragement of my longtime friend and collaborator Courtney Brooke, I felt it was time to delve into a particular idea for a design that had been brewing for me for several years: a crown made of crystal points. I'd made one for myself for an Ex Reverie video back in 2010 made by Courtney and the fabulous Sarah Jacoby. The song was about the faerie tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", so I wanted a piece that called to mind ice and light. The idea came to me to make quartz points defy gravity and form a crown silhouette, and it felt like the perfect fit to the music. I delved deep into image search and confirmed that this idea hadn't been done before. The first collection was born of this idea, and the worldwide response to that original idea has fueled us into who we are today. 

Connecting with so many like-minded people has been an exhilarating experience. Thank you for your interest in what we do here. It enables us all to keep dreaming up new designs to share with you all. I hope you can wear our pieces and be reminded of your own power and illumination, and the connection to all you find most beautiful. 


All look book photos by Courtney Brooke