Sylvia on the Beach

Happenstance: coincidence, chance, fluke

Sylvia On The Beach (20″ tall) was a beautiful fluke.

First – At least two years prior to making Sylvia I found a unique vase at a garage sale for $2. It was a hollowed out limb of some sort. It had a velvet bottom and contained dried stems with shells glued to the ends.

I am a gatherer and have a lot of stuff. Stuff no one else would look at twice. In an attempt to thin out my stuff I put this vase aside to give it away – once it actually went in the trash. I always brought it back in to the fold of my “other” stuff.

I took an opportunity to learn a new craft – soft doll sculpting. I spent a week at the Shakerag School in Tennessee learning soft sculpture from Akira Blount.

I live in Atlanta (2 hours away from the school) and was able to pack my car with all sorts of “stuff”. I packed my vase and the metal insert to a vintage steering wheel hoping to be able to incorporate them somewhere.

We learned so much! We had a room full of talented women each creating a unique doll. I sculpted two doll heads – Sylvia On the Beach and Lucy In The Sky (Lucy has the steering wheel – still in progress).

When it finally came to putting the body together I made a cloth upper torso and arms out of a silk remnant and chose the vase for the body. I wound a length of fiber around the neck, where the arms joined the body and around the wrists. Then the bodice was covered with Abalone melee and a pearl necklace. The vase wasn?t tall enough so I marked the vase off in sections and asked the school?s maintenance person to cut it for me. Naturally I had brought my dremel with me? I drilled holes around each section, cut the copper craft wire I brought and joined all pieces of the vase together. Small shells picked up on Miami Beach during a beach restoration fills the bottom layer of the vase.

Whew! She’s cool – I’m happy with her uniqueness and I’m keeping her.