Digging for Doves Local woman shows sand dollar art

 By Kay Braddock

An artful treasure can be found in just about anything. 
Pat Schilling proved that point to be true when she began digging through an old box in her garage filled with sand dollars. 
She and husband Ervin had collected the sand dollars about 15 years ago during a vacation to Mexico. Along the coast of the Gulf of California, the couple joined others in search of sand dollars – a common pastime for those visiting the area. Their first trip out to shore at low tide proved unfruitful, but after deciding to search a neighboring area, their second trip out was a different story.
“This time they were just everywhere,” Pat recalled. The couple came home with hundreds of sand dollars – white disc shaped skeletal remains of a marine animal closely related to the sea urchin.
“They’d been sitting in the garage for years,” Pat admitted. “So now, I decided to do something with them this year.”
With a little bit of Christmas colored glue glitter and short pieces of yarn, Pat created festive Christmas ornaments. She followed the petal shaped pores on the front of the sand dollar with glue glitter and used the yarn as hooks. A handful of her collection was displayed and sold at last week’s Prairie Community Hospital bazaar with proceeds benefiting the hospital’s activities department.
A few of the ornaments were also decorated with dove shaped embellishments. These extras actually came from within the sand dollar, Pat explained. Lightly scraping at a pinpoint hole in the back of the sand dollar, Pat was able to dig out what some have come to call doves from within the sand dollar. There are typically five doves in each sand dollar. She then glued them to the front side of the disc.
     With still plenty of undecorated sand dollars left in their collection, Pat’s latest craft activity may be an undertaking that lasts through several seasons.

Published Dec. 8, 2010

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