Little Fox Doll

from Between, Georgia

Between, Georgia looks at identity and nature vs. nurture. My main character, Nonny, is the biological child of the Crabtree family, but is stolen and raised by the Frett family. Naturally she is at the center of a war that breaks out between the two. Nonny's mother, Stacia Frett, is an artist, a doll-maker. Stacia has Ushers syndrome, a genetic condition that causes profound deafness from birth and an eventual loss of sight. Folks with type one Ushers are often completely blind before they turn fifty, if not earlier. Here's Nonny, talking about the last series of animal-headed dolls in Victorian dress that Stacia makes before her eyesight deteriorates too much to allow her to work in porcelain:

...the animal dolls had all been modeled on the people in my mother's life. People from Between. Mama had done herself as a brown bear, and I could see Crabtrees in the thin-faced red foxes. One little fox girl stood beside the carousel, and from beneath her cherry red skirts, brown bear paws peeped out, a quiet love letter from my mother to me.

Much like Stacia, my brother Bobby Jackson makes his living as an artist, sculpting the greens for toys and figurines, and he sculpted Nonny's totem for me. He caught Nonny's bravery, her desire to be loved, her good, good heart, and the way she hesitates, hopeful but cautious, as if she is standing on the brink of something. He sculpted her exactly as I believe her mother sees her, and I love the MASSIVE bear paws peeking out from under.... Here is the original sculpture, called a green, because of the color of the compound he works with:


Here's a more distant shot, mostly so you can see all the scattered skeletons of my brother's other minatures in progress sprinkled all over his disgustingly messy offfice, which is, sadly, better organized than MINE:


I was so taken with the figure that I hired a mold maker and a casting company and had a small lot of them made up. The pewter finish had been brushed so she is nicely highlighted, but she doesn't take good pictures. The light glares off her and you can see the detail in photographs better in the green. But she's darling in metal, trust me. I sent them out to booksellers and suchlike folks who were so good to me when gods in Alabama came out, as a thank you.

Just for fun, here is a picture of one of the foxes that I had painted by an artist named Shubert. No, not my cat. A different one. It was a present for my amazingly cool editor, and I think it's worth looking at...