Thursday, October 6, 2011



Woman Within the Web Layers Grandmother Tree
She Who Whispers

Grandmother Tree Sculpture

I love to read. Until just recently, I, like so many others, preferred to read real paper books. I wanted books that were tangible. I wanted books in which I could indulge in wonderful tactile pages. I was very leary when my children bought me an electronic book for my birthday last January. It was foreign to me-all rigid and lifeless. I tried to be appreciative and ordered a book to be downloaded to my lime colored Kindle from Amazon e-books

While reading it one day, my daughter, Kirsten, looked over at it and exclaimed, “Mom, why are you reading it in such a small font? Can you see that!” She showed me her Kindle and I was shocked to see huge font-the kind you can see from over an arm’s length away! I said, “You mean you can enlarge the font?” She laughed. Ever since that day, I was a believer. I have now ordered literally dozens of books from Amazon in every genre except cookbooks and art books. How I love this new and wonderful technology! I will always cherish my home library and still do buy regular bound books but I now prefer to read from my Kindle.

My Lime Kindle

This post is all about books so I thought maybe some of you, who read my posts on a regular basis, have wondered where the stories that I attach to my work originated. Here is a summary of each book.


In a distant place and another time, life was okay. Then, tragedy hit and I knew the meaning of deep sorrow. I started sculpting faces. The sculpting kept me from being overwhelmed by despair as I focused, instead, on creation. As my first sculpture emerged from the clay, so did its tale – the story of the "Timekeeper." As my second sculpture emerged, so, too did its story; and "Soaring Spirit" was born. It seemed that the sculptures told me their names and their stories as they emerged from the clay. And I knew them well, because in reality, the lives of these women were mine. All of these women are me in various times and seasons of my tenure on this earth.
Soaring Spirit

A voice first it seemed to be a
Murmur. Quietly it expressed the thought..
"Take your power now."
As the days passed, it became increasingly
Louder until it became as a roar, vibrating her
Entire being.. "Take your power now.!" She
Began to reexamine her life. So much time
Had passed, and in all that time she had
Remained spiritually deaf and blind. She had
Not heard..She had not seen...and the voice
Continued speaking to her..resonating
Throughout every cell in her body..electrifying
To the inner core of her soul until she had no
choice but to listen.."Take your power now."
It continued. "For you have given your life
To others and in that giving, you have emptied
Yourself. It is only when you are empty that you
Can truly be full and free to live".....

~Cheryl Dolby~


There were three doors opening in her
life, the doors of yesterday, today
and tomorrow. Yesterday appeared
to be only an illusion, tomorrow a vision.
both were vague and nebulas. Today was a
place she could not bear to be. The choice
was at hand. The voice of intuition
began to speak to her and somehow,
she knew in her heart that all time
Is simultaneous…the first
cry also being the last..for there
Is only now. By dealing with life
in the present, she could begin to remove
some of the scars of the past
and thus change her future. With a
renewed sense of the importance of now..
and a recharged inner essence..she entered
the door of today, where a new world
awaited her.

~Cheryl Dolby~

When I traveled on the art show circuit, many of my customers would stand for long periods of time reading the stories I had attached to each sculpture. Some of the stories brought tears to their eyes; others, smiles of knowing to their faces. At the prompting of those customers – "We can't afford to buy all your sculpture to get the stories" – I decided to self-publish She Who Whispers. But I needed the expertise to pull it all together. A book called "How to Publish Your Own Book," by Dan Poyntner, showed me the way. I highly recommend it. This book removed any reservations I had about self-publishing: I was so excited. That was in 1990 and She Who Whispers is still selling extremely well.


Yet another sculpture inspired me to write Grandmother Tree. She haunted me for a long time before she came to life. Finally she emerged from the clay much like her predecessors. But this time, roots began to twist themselves around her base and in and around her hair. She begged for moss and tree lichen, for walnut halves, for raindrops. Her story came to me piece by piece as each bit of nature was added to her.

“Grandmother Tree”

The trees are alive! She wandered
into the garden early one morning
and she heard them speak to one another..
It was a language spoken on another another vibrational time
frame. They spoke of healing with power
and energy and of the relationship between
energy and matter.

She was drawn to an ancient Chinese
Elm and as she leaned her body next to the
base, somehow she felt immersed
in the tree and felt herself slip into the
tree..was one with the
tree and knew that she was the tree.....

~Cheryl Dolby~

The story of my first grandmother tree is the story of each and every one of my grandmother trees. But they all seem to want to be different sizes. The first one was a tall standing figure. Next came the ones who wanted to cling to the walls, making the area around them come alive with nature. I sell a lot of the smaller ones now. It could be the economy, but I think it is more the fact that they are adaptable to smaller spaces.

Grandmother Tree Sculpture

I have discontinued this book because it is outdated. By that I mean, I had references throughout the book of several artists friends who are no longer producing the products I recommended, or they are simply out of the art business.

Another Grandmother Tree Sculpture


A trip to Europe set the stage for this story. After separating from my husband of many years, I had traveled to the picturesque Loire Valley of France. The nominal reason for my journey was to take a month-long class in anatomical sculpture presented by a master of the art. But, after the breakdown of my marriage, I was also ready for romance. What woman doesn't dream of meeting her prince charming in a romantic setting like that of rural France? I had a premonition that I would meet someone, and I did. He was a sculptor, not from France, but from California. We hit it off and spent 30 days immersed in sculpture, restaurants, wine cellars, medieval castles, and each other. But even as I drank in the wonders of France, I was driven by a second and darker motivation – my son’s mental illness. He had developed paranoid schizophrenia, and I had heard that there was a French clinic that offered a cure for the fractured personalities of this illness. The claims proved to be untrue. But I stumbled across a shaman in the area who was renowned for making his patients whole. And therein the story begins. My search for shamanic healing led me into a surreal world of haunted castles and a village laboring under a curse placed on it by the Mergovinian dynasty. My customers have told me that Woman Within the Web is a must read for all those who are at a crossroads in their lives.

My work on this book reminded once again of an amazing phenomenon I have often experienced when writing. As my writing gains momentum, it as if the book is writing itself! In Woman, the characters took on lives of their own. Sometimes I was excited to just sit at my keyboard and find out what was going to happen. Even though the story was coming to life through my very own fingers, I couldn’t be sure what my characters were going to do until they did it! And I couldn’t anticipate where the day’s writing was going to end up until the end of the session. And when I finally saw that my characters had done all they were going to do for the day – well, then, I sighed.

Picture of castle featured in book


This is my second-favorite book by any author. Interesting that it happens to be written by me! My favorite is Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. In June of 1953 he wrote of “medicines of another time, the balm of sun and idle afternoons, the faintly heard sounds of ice wagons passing on brick avenues, the rush of silver skyrockets, all these in a glass.” I can't say enough about Ray Bradbury. Not too many people realize that his earlier works included over 500 publications on topics ranging from life in middle America to life on other planets and in formats ranging from plays to poems to novels. He was a master of science fiction. Among my favorite works of his from this genre are The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man and Fahrenheit 451, which deals with a society who denies it’s citizens books. I hope that it never comes to fruition.

In Layers, I have written a story that starts out slowly. It is about a girl around 12 years of age. She and her friend find a mysterious book. It is a book that changes both of their lives forever. The story at first makes you think it is about each girl becoming a woman. Later you find that what is happening is not what you thought. This book is a celebration of women. I will probably never be able to achieve in another book what I have in Layers. It comes from my heart and aims to reach the hearts of women in all walks of life. If I could choose only one book to have while stranded on a desert island – other than Dandelion Wine – I'd choose Layers.

I used Mexican bark paper for the covers, one of my unique clay faces for the front, an ancient grapevine branch for the spine and an old key for the bookmark.

Now, last but not least, I must tell you of some real excitement that is brewing. Four of my friends, some are bloggers, are collaborating on a new book. It may be one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. The story is intense and humorous at the same time. I will keep you abreast of our book as we make progress.

In the meantime, If you are interested in purchasing one or both of the two books available now, please e-mail me and we can go from there.

Layers is priced at $32. and Woman Within the Web is $12. I accept all the major charge cards, checks and Paypal.

Thanks again for enduring my very long post on books. Good thing I’m not adding my reading list to this!!

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  1. Cheryl, I finally did it...I published my book, Fractured Facade -- here's the Amazon link.
    It's also available at Smashwords for any other eformat. If you check out the Smashwords site you can see the book trailer. Let me know what you think.

    I was totally against eReaders myself until I bought one. With my RA it's so much easier to hold the Kindle and I love love love that I could make the print larger too!

    BTW, to Cheryl's readers -- I read and loved Woman Within the Web!

  2. Cheryl;
    I was skeptical of an e-reader at first too, but now I love it. It is also lighter to hold for me because I have trouble lifting my arms at times. I just learned I could change the font size too, amazingly, it's awesome.
    Your poems are very thought provoking and inspiring. THanks for sharing your heart.
    Hugs and blessings

  3. Hmmmm . . . I'm such a slave to tradition and aesthetics!!! I love the touch and feel of a real page and the fact that I can draw and doodle in the sidebars. I love that I can smudge it with chocolate fingers or tea stain the pages . . . . . I've been thinking of a Kindle, but haven't fallen in love with it yet. ((Sigh!!))

    Good for YOU for publishing your own books! Your beautiful poetry and lovely stories will touch many spirits with light and love. Hugs, Terri xoxo

  4. I love books as well, and to me books like yours, (I have 2 of them btw) would not be the same on an elec. device, because of just how beautiful they are and how they feel when you hold them in your hands. Maybe it would be okay for some books, but not all. The books of yours that I have are some of my favorite of all in my collection.

  5. Cheryl! Wow I didn't know that you have written so many books. This made me admire you more. You are really gifted and I'm so honored to know you.

  6. Oh my Cheryl, this is all too wonderful !
    I love the sculpture as I do all of your work and the books look like something I could really enjoy.
    Hugs and congratulations to you on all of this !

  7. I love your grandmother tree sculpture! It's incredibly moving to me. Oh; and the Kindle! My husband cannot put his down and I think I've created a monster by purchasing it for him :) But; he loves it and the larger print he can get - just incredible! Enjoy! xxoo

  8. I love coming for visits here! Your work is so beautiful and the grandmother sculpture is stunning. Glad you're enjoying a new way of reading too.
    Take care,

  9. I've been gone for most of this week and have spent a lot of time catching up on your posts. I love the light switch. It is gorgeous, as is all your art.

    Your faces are always so much fun to read about. You put so much attention to detail in each, both in words and art. The words bring the art to life, too.

    I knew you were published, but didn't realize you had so many books on the market. And although I like the Kindle, I simply don't LOVE it. I'm still a real book person and probably always will be, at least until they quit publishing their last book. That may be why every room in my house, with the exception of the laundry room, has a bookcase. You would think I would be tired of them, but I'll never be. I'm just a bit more selective, now.

  10. I love your stunning grandmother tree sculpture! Every time visiting your blog you shows inspiring art works.
    Wish you a nice sunday,
    hugs Anja

  11. Once again you blog is awe inspiring to me. Your beautiful faces and your books are amazing. I am not an avid reading as you or your other followers are but when I start reading your works I can not put them down. I am in love with all the faces that you have created especially now after taking your faces class. lol Trish

  12. Wonderful post! That sculpture is amazing!

  13. Cheryl, you are an incredible spiritual woman, your stories are beautiful and I am happy you are enjoying your passion for art and writing, bravo to you!
    This summer my DH won two ipads, yep that's right. One we gave to my daughter for her birthday and the other he gave to me. I LOVE it and have the Kindle Cloud app so I have been enjoying the books. I too love how you can change the font on the ipad.

  14. I 'drank' those stories and I can recommand the woman within the web. It s a great story and especially when you want to read about the pain of having someone in your family with that severe mental illness.

  15. WARDRUNA (She who whispers). I am a Slavic Whisperer, a tradition of Polish Elder Women who can whisper and I am also a Wind Whisperer (meaning I am a shaman, dream walker, collective slayer and exorcist).


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