• Louma E.

A ballerina keepsake to honor a magnificent ballerina.

When I received the keepsake request from Charlotte's mom, Carly, I had goosebumps reading her story...

Carly wanted to use for her keepsake a onesie that her late great aunt had gifted her for her daughter. Her great aunt had passed away only a few months prior, in August of 2019, and this past Christmas was their first Christmas without her among the family. Carly wanted this keepsake for Christmas to honor her great aunt.

The goosebumps came when Carly sent me photos of her great aunt. See, she was the great ballet dancer Brunilda Ruiz, and the photos I received for inspiration were truly glorious.

Carly decided the custom keepsake design herself: she wanted a ballerina wearing a short, stiff tutu, with her hair in a classic ballerina bun. She wanted a crown like Brunilda's crown on the illustrated ballerina's head (from the third small photo above), and the top of her tutu like the one Brunilda is wearing in the 4th small photo above, which is an autograph for Carly.

She wanted her to look like an imagined adult version of her baby daughter Charlotte, inspired from photos of her, and she also requested small gold star earrings, the first earrings her daughter got. And the ballerina would be wearing a tutu made from the onesie that the gracious Mrs. Ruiz gifted her grand-granddaughter.

I loved drawing Charlotte as I imagined her grown up, and I was so inspired by Brunilda and so happy to create a work of art to honor her life and serve as a wonderful keepsake for 4 generations of her family. Isn't this wonderful?

Here is the keepsake I've created. It was very well received by Carly and her family.

"I really don’t have words to express my appreciation for what you did. This piece means so much to me and my family, I don’t think I could really put my emotions into words. I sent pictures to my great uncle (who was also a Principal Dancer for Joffrey American Ballet Theatre) and he was floored! It arrived intact and flawless! [...] I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for all you’ve done <3

This may be just a ballerina artwork for you, but for Carly and her family, and with all the subtle custom additions Carly requested, it's such a deeply personalized keepsake that I am sure will be passed down and will last for generations.

I am grateful and honored to be part of all of your personal stories. I love doing what I do.


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#joffreyamericanballet #brunildaruiz #joffreyballet #customkeepsake