Cape Coral woman crafts chess set inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’

By Dayna Harpster • March 4, 2010

1:10 A.M. — As an artist for gifts sold through the Franklin Mint, Jacqueline Bardner Smith had to accept that her vision could be obscured by others involved in a project. A piece of art might mutate when it left her hands.

And maybe that’s why it was important to her to create the “Alice in Wonderland” characters the way writer Lewis Carroll imagined them, which in many cases looked different under the pen of original illustrator John Tenniel.

She’s not sure, though, why sculpting a chess set featuring 32 different figures – not even the pawns are the same – got under her skin. Or rather her fingers, for 20 years.

What’s more, she didn’t know the “Alice” story, published in 1865, until she was an adult, and didn’t even play chess when she started the set in her home studio in Runnemede, N.J., two decades ago.

“I like projects, and I had this desire to do something with meaning,” said the 72-year-old now full-time Cape Coral resident.

Here is the full story.

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