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Russian native has a fairy tale life here
Russian-born Stafford woman creates whimsical sculptures, paintings.

 Marina Sciascia sculpts witches, gnomes, trolls and other whimsical characters from her imagination. No detail is too small.
PHOTOS BY MARIE SICOLA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 10/7/2012

BY EDIE GROSS

They often appear to Marina Sciascia just before she drifts off to sleep at night.

Hairy trolls with protruding bellies and free-ranging teeth.

Willowy gnomes with kind eyes and mischievous grins.

Witches with knobby fingers, knitted brows and bulbous noses where warts bloom like mushrooms.

She keeps a pencil and sketch pad next to her bed so she can quickly commit the images to paper before they vanish from her mind's eye.

"Every day before I fall to sleep, I see pictures, colors, bright, and I'm drawing fast," said Sciascia, a Russian native who now makes her home--and her artwork--in Stafford County.

In the light of day, Sciascia pinches and molds polymer clay to bring those figments of her imagination to life.

No detail is too small: Opalescent fish scales cover the hands and left foot of a red-headed warrior troll, who leans on an ax to compensate for the right leg he lost in battle.

A kitten pokes its head out of the pocket in a witch's apron.

A gnome storyteller wears a candle atop his cap and an inkwell on a chain around his neck. Each of the buttons adorning his leathery jacket features a different face.

"I like funny, interesting details like this. I like unusual dolls with long fingers, the schnozzle, as my husband calls it," she said, referring to the dolls' exaggerated noses, "funny teeth, googly eyes. I like ugly, but funny--not ugly like scary."

ART WAS A DREAM

For as long as she can remember, Sciascia (SHAW-shaw) said art has been her passion.

She grew up in Krasnodar, in the southern part of the former Soviet Union, where her father was a doctor and her mother a teacher-turned-librarian.

Her uncle had studied English, and he shared with her his vast collection of books: stories by Charles Dickens and Jack London, fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, and folk tales from the British Isles.

She'd bring the books to school and sneak peeks at them during class, a habit that annoyed her teachers but fired up her creativity.

By the time she'd come home in the afternoon, her imagination was primed for painting whimsical creatures on paper or molding them out of clay.


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You can see some of Marina Sciascia's paintings and sculptures at blogs.mail.ru/mail/marina90_2003. Descriptions are in English and Russian.

Sciascia can be reached via email at Itali77ano@yahoo.com.