Sylva Fae

Tilly, Tank and the Prince…

…A Dungball Fairytale


IMG_20150328_114121-1Once upon a time in a land of sunshine and smiles, there lived a handsome Prince in a castle by the sea. The Prince, whose name was Alan, had a special kind of magic, he could turn bits of junk into wonderful woodland creatures, birds and minibeasts. Old spoons and forks, bits and bobs of copper, brass and unwanted scrap could be transformed into things of beauty. The Prince made many treasures but one day he created a tortoise called Tank. Tank was just perfect. The Prince sent him off on a journey to spread the word of his creations.

11429916_1591508481099766_1511653343_nFar, far away a forest fairy was flying around Twitterland looking for something to make her smile, when the friendly face of Tank popped up. Tank took her to meet his friends and she fell in love with a gorgeous creature. Tank sent word to the Prince and he promised to make the forest fairy her very own… dung beetle (yes that’s right, a lovely cute and cuddly dung beetle!) With some spoons, nimble fingers and a sprinkling of magic, Tilly Tumble was born. Tank and the Prince waved Tilly off on her long journey to the forest in the North, where the fairy eagerly awaited her new friend…


Back in the real world…

I was looking for an unusual birthday present for my mum and I immediately thought of Alan Prince. As an artist herself I knew mum would appreciate a handmade original. I browsed through Alan’s pieces and kept coming back to look at his dung beetles. Now I realise that may sound peculiar but they are quite exquisite and certainly qualify as an unusual present. I commissioned Alan to make one just for mum.

My dung beetle started her life as a set of army spoons, carefully chosen for their shape and metal. Alan knew just how excited I was and took photos of her creation.

First the dung ball…

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11324165_1590501871200427_59640091_nAnd then the dung beetle…

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Isn’t she beautiful?

After much hard work my dung beetle was finished and united with her dungball. Alan named her Tilly Tumble and she was just as lovely as her dung beetle cousins.

11428570_1591893111061303_571472115_nTilly set off, pushing her dung ball on the long journey north.

11422706_1591893137727967_1121189430_nHer arrival was very exciting. Tilly explored my garden and met the locals.

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11657355_1612337219017303_208315028_nYou really wouldn’t expect a metal sculpture to be so pleasing to touch, but I spent the evening with a dung beetle sat in my lap, stroking her cool, smooth back – now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!

20150622_155828I originally ordered Tilly as a birthday present for my mum but was very tempted to keep her. Then there was the problem of keeping her secret until December. I couldn’t bear to pack her back in her box, so Tilly made the final bit of her journey to her new home in Lancashire. My mum was surprised to get an early birthday present and loved little Tilly Tumble as much as I did. Tilly has rolled her dung ball to its final resting place.

20150830_200431hr_tree_ArdyAlan Prince, described by Mayflower Arts as ‘probably the best metal artist in Britain’, has work exhibited in galleries around Devon, England. Alan is an original member of DevonArtPop a group of artists that met on twitter a couple of years ago. They organise pop-up galleries at different venues around Devon, England and were featured in a previous guest post.

All of the Made by a Prince sculptures and jewellery are available to buy direct from the Prince himself.

Connect with Alan Prince on Twitter @madebyaprince

Thank you Alan!


11 thoughts on “Tilly, Tank and the Prince…

  1. AvatarLeigh

    I ADORE this! Well, I adore everything you write…
    Anyway, who in the world would transform flatware into dung…er, a beetle…um, a dungbeetle? And make said dungbeetle beautiful! Maybe the same type of wonderful human who would write a lovely piece on it!!
    Well done, all round!!!

  2. AvatarJames Milson

    A wonderful story and creation by Alan! Really like the step-by-step process to see how Tilly Tumble came into being. Beautiful work and blog post, and a delightfully thought out gift!

  3. AvatarMysteryves

    So glad Tilly found a permanent home and has finished her wandering. After bringing so much pleasure to all she met.
    Such a beautiful creation!

  4. Sylva FaeSylva Fae Post author

    Thank you all for your lovely comments. Tilly waves a foot at her fans. She says if you’re ever in Lancashire England she’ll share a dung ball with you. Alan Prince is a very talented sculptor and a lovely friend, if you haven’t already, check out the rest of his work on his website – links at the end of the post.

  5. Pingback: Tilly, Tank and the Prince… | Sylva Fae | madebyaprince

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