Home Forums Scrap Chat Layout of the Week Layout Of The Week May 13, 2011 *** Kathi Simmons***

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    The Story Of The Bird Girl
    As told by Alice Ryerson Hayes

    A recognizable figure of a girl with outstretched palms stands motionless in full view of diners at the Cliff Dwellers. It is the famed Bird Girl, whose statue has become forever associated with the John Berendt bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the subsequent movie. The full-size replica made for that film is the one that is on extended loan to the club. Here's the story:
    The statue of the Bird Girl was made by my mother, Sylvia Shaw Judson. An original edition of four bronzes was sold at the time, one of them to a family in Savannah who put it in their family plot in the Savannah cemetery. In 1994 a book about Savannah came out called Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, which has had a stunning success. On the book jacket is a marvelous picture of the Bird Girl taken in the Savannah cemetery by Jack Leigh, a superb local photographer
    The book has made its author famous, and the photograph has made its photographer famous, but the two together have made the Bird Girl very famous indeed. She has become the icon of Savannah. The original statue from the cemetery is now in the Telfair Museum, but the image has been sickeningly commercialized. Bracelets, tie pins, dish towels, key rings, candles, doormats, etc. flood the shops in Savannah.
    I am the holder of the copyright on the Bird Girl, so I was not happy about all these small souvenirs of Savannah. But my real worry was that someone would make a full-sized copy and sell it as the actual Bird Girl. By threatening a law suit, all full-sized statues were eliminated, all except one grotesque version called by its makers Rebekah. They have been sold as such. You can see why I was shocked to see the Bird Girl referred to as Rebecca in the January 2001 newsletter! And I marvel at how the name arrived at the Cliff Dwellers?
    A few years after the book came out, Waer Brothers made a rather second-rate movie of Midnight, and they wanted a Bird Girl to use in the film. So, for a price, I let them have an epoxy-fiberglass copy, to be retued to me when she had played her small part. This is the copy we have. If you look closely, you will see that her arms are on backwards (thumbs in front, not in back). The arms must have been broken off somewhere in transit and been carelessly glued back on, probably when she was on loan to a big function in New York after she came back from Hollywood.
    Sylvia was the daughter of Howard Van Doren Shaw, a charter member of The Cliff Dwellers and designer of the original Kiva at the top of Orchestra Hall. So I thought the Bird Girl would be at home here, and I gave this copy to the Club.
    There will be very few genuine bronze Bird Girls besides the original four. However, I have allowed half-size (two-foot) and thirteen-inch versions to be made in epoxy. An amazing number have been sold. They are good copies and the royalties on them help the Ragdale Foundation. Sylvia's father built his Ragdale house the year she was bo, 1897, and she lived and worked in her studio there for many years. She was extremely pleased when it became an artists' retreat several years before she died. So, although she would not want the Bird Girl to become like a flamingo on every lawn, I don't think she would mind helping Ragdale in this more protected way.

    [img:width=600&height=595]/wp-content/uploads/2014/1337006925_55_FT0_savannah_negative_space_.jpg[/img]

    Kathi takes us to places all around the world through her layouts. …Through her gorgeous layouts, we get to see what she has seen during some of her travels. In this beautiful layout she takes us to a very special place in Savanna Georgia. She has captured the Bird Girl and brought her back to life. She places her in a garden behind iron gates…Perfection!! The simplicity of the layout also lends to it's elegance. The masking and use of modeling paste for the lovely gate is striking. The beautiful blue background that seems to represent the sky helps in the blooming of flowers. And the Dusty Attic frame…well…Just perfect in framing The Bird Girl. Thank you Kathi for taking us on this awesome jouey. We look forward to many more..And just for the record Missy!!!! I dont have that Prima mask!!!! You best be assured I will be stalking the World Wide web to find one!!!!!!

    #168689
    Krissy
    Krissy
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      Congrats Kathi. Very beautiful.

      #168690
      Krissy
      Krissy
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        Oh yes! I LOVE this one. Beautiful work Kathi! Congrats!

        #168691

        craftysprinkles
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          Congratulations Kathi – very well deserved – this is one of my favourite layouts – I just love everything about it. Sooooooooo gorgeous!!!

          #168687

          craftysprinkles
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            Very gorgeous! Congrats, Kathi!

            #168688

            Snagg1
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              Congrats! Gorgeous.

              #168692
              Krissy
              Krissy
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                Great choice, I loved this pretty layout when I saw it!

                #168693

                Awesome Pick Lisa.

                Congratulations Kathi. I soooo love this BEAUTIFUL page!

                #168694

                amazing pick – congrats!!!

                #168695

                OOOHHHHH Love!!!

                Great!! ;D

                #168696

                Congrats Kathi!!!! SO beautiful is this!!!!

                #168697

                craftysprinkles
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                  Paulien said it in the Gallery: Perfection!!!!
                  Kathi, a so very well deserved congratulations!!!!!

                  #168698
                  Krissy
                  Krissy
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                    Congrats!! The layout is stunning!!

                    #168699
                    Krissy
                    Krissy
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                      Thank you all so much.

                      #168700

                      This is beautiful. I love the gate mask and the DA frame along with the flowers. Wonderful job, Kathi!

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