Friday, November 6, 2009


Dusty’s Fairy Woman

Beth’s custom Goddess necklace

The craft show circuit is exhausting. When I started on the circuit, I exhibited in about thirty shows a year. . As I got older, however, the constant travel was too much, and I reduced my participation to about twelve shows a year. It was at that time, about 20 years ago, that I joined the Sugarloaf Craft Shows. I exhibited at shows from as far north as Detroit Michigan to as far south as Atlanta, but most were in the D.C. area and Pennsylvania. In 1995, I met Beth Pollins at a show in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Beth purchased a few things from me and asked if I would create a special piece for her that included her late Aunt Gloria’s fur coat. She was happy with the sculpture I made for her, and I frequently saw her at succeeding shows during my years with Sugarloaf.

I retired from the shows in 2000 and had not seen Beth since. I was very surprised, then, to see her name pop up on Facebook one day asking to be my friend. Of course, I was delighted.

In August, I had a contest asking my blog readers to send ideas I could use to create a sculpture from a lifeguard chair that had been left on my front porch. Although I received many wonderful suggestions, the winning idea, the one that spoke to me most vividly, was from Beth Pollins. She envisioned not only a sculpture fashioned from the chair, but a beautiful, imaginative story to go with it (to read Beth’s story, please see my August 26, 2009 blog post). Needless to say, Beth won the contest.

While viewing my blog, Beth noticed that I had begun making custom Goddess Ceremonial Necklaces and asked me to make one for her. I’m always amazed at how much I learn about people when I begin making one of these necklaces. Even though I had known Beth for years, I gained a completely different perspective on her life from the information she gave me to guide my design. It was clear from her contest entry that she has a talent for creating magical stories. Only when we began talking about the necklace, however, did I find that her fondness for these tales originated with her grandfather, apparently a superb storyteller. He also seems to have been a bit of a transcendentalist in the mold of Thoreau or Emerson as you can see from one of his essay at the end of this blog post. Even though he died when she was very young, she clearly remembers being captivated by his tales. Apparently, her fascination with these stories was obvious to everyone around her as well, and the neighbors nicknamed her “Dusty’s Fairy Child.” She has carried his memory and the love he gave her for the spiritual, the mystical and the magical with her throughout her life.

I also found that she and I share a fondness for labyrinths as both art forms and as spiritual tools. And, I also learned that she has undertaken some serious spiritual quests. She sent me some special tokens from one of her spiritual retreats, The Spiritual Midwife Project, and I used several of these in her necklace. I also found two eleven-circuit labyrinths that seemed just right for her necklace. But still, I just didn’t feel that I had the one key item I needed to tie everything together. And then, one day, I found that I had had it all along: a pewter fairy that had lain forlorn and unused in my jewelry box for years. It was an item that was given to me several years before I even met Beth. What better icon for Dusty’s Fairy Child than a beautiful fairy. (This became even more obviously appropriate when I later learned that Beth had taught classes on fairies at a new age bookstore and at a farm in Lancaster county, PA.)

Fairy found in my jewelry box.

Below are the items Beth sent me to use in her necklace.

Medicine bag earring created for Beth by a shaman friend

Holy stone Beth found on the beach

Replica of a “priestess” bead from a community talking stick

The remaining spiral from a pair of Beth’s favorite earrings

To these items I added two pewter labyrinths and spiraled purple/blue stones.

Pewter labyrinth

Purple/blue stone

It was a pleasure working with Beth and learning so much more about her. I hope she gets as much pleasure from her necklace as I got from making it.

Dusty’s Fairy Woman

For centuries, spiritual seekers have regarded labyrinths as symbols of spiritual pilgrimage as well as tools to encourage meditation and contemplation. On your necklace, Beth, the labyrinths represent two of your most meaningful spiritual quests, the Harner shamanic training course and the Spiritual Midwife Project.

Stories of the magical and the mystical have been among the most important influences in your life. These first took root when you heard the tales of your grandfather, C. Richard Rhoads. A lover of nature as well as a teller of magical, spiritual stories, he once wrote that “No temple in the world can excel the beauties of the forest; and there is nothing that will bring you closer to God than a prayer beneath the solemn pines or the sturdy oaks.” The spiral at the bottom of the pendant represents your spiritual journey as influenced by your grandfather. This form has been an important symbol to cultures from prehistory to the present. For some, it has represented the journey of life for an individual or for the entire culture. For others, it has represented the evolution of consciousness or of spiritual understanding. The spiral is also the shape of a wide variety of entities in nature, from tiny sea creatures to galaxies.

Echoing your spiral, the swirled violet discs between the labyrinths represent the dual aspects of your grandfather’s consciousness – his magical, spiritual stories and his love of nature – that have played such an important role in the formation of your own consciousness. The fairy represents you, “Dusty’s Fairy Child”, laying a bouquet over one of these to honor his memory and his gift to you.

The tiara forming the base of the figure’s headpiece is your aquamarine baby ring. This stone was credited with healing powers by many ancient cultures. The medicine bag amulet and the holey stone suspended from the bottom of the figure represent items that have long been reputed to bring the owner protection and prosperity. I have included these talismans with my sincere wish that the powers ascribed to them may always be present in your life, Beth.

The key reflects your ongoing quest for knowledge through spiritual training and your more conventional academic pursuits. May you continue to gain understanding through both.

~Cheryl Dolby~

Here is the article written by Beth's grandfather, C.Richard Rhoads. (Click on each image to enlarge the page for reading.)

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  1. congrats on your new blogsite, cheryl. nice story about your friend, gary. keep up the good works.

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