Handcut original collage on stretched gallery canvas with brass accents, handmade paper and vintage text.
Sarah and her Steam Snail
In a very large family, fading into the wallpaper is a real possibility, especially if one hovers somewhere in the middle of the sibling line-up. And in a family of 12? You’re lucky if anyone remembers your name. Obscurity was never even a remote possibility for Sarah McFinnegan, however. Her birth order (6th) was the first and last ordinary thing about her. As a small child, her first utterance was a complete sentence – in German, no less, that she had apparently picked up from the groundskeeper. That was actually less remarkable than one might think given that she was often found crawling around in the rich, fragrant dirt of the azalea beds, carefully examining all the creatures she found there. While her siblings dreamed of dolls, games, sporting equipment and sweets, Sarah’s desires were a bit more cryptic: “I’d like a protractor, a slide rule and a really good crescent wrench, please.” The same circumstances which could have relegated Sarah to obscurity, in actuality, helped preserve her vivid uniqueness – ironing out the individual personality peculiarities of a brood as large as the McFinnegan’s was a luxury her parents could ill-afford. So if Sarah favored sleeping in the carriage house, or standing up to do that which most little girls sit down to accomplish (“Rethink the tights” was her father’s only remark), or somehow nurturing a garden snail to heretofore unseen proportions, who had the time or inclination to intervene? At least that’s one explanation of how Sarah’s peculiar hobbies went relatively unnoticed for so long. Besides, nothing could prepare most families for looking out the window during Sunday dinner only to see one of their own motoring down the street astride a steam-powered 130 pound garden snail with wheels. “Mein Gott!” shouted the groundskeeper “So that’s what’s become of all my cabbages!”
Sarah is shown here riding her wheeled gastropod, Sprocket, who has been thoughtfully fitted with his own goggles. She is wearing mechanized moth wings of her own invention, as well as a Retractable Umbrella Hat. Another companion, a mechanized dragonfly, darts about nearby.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2008. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!