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Shearer Hills/Ridgeview
San Antonio, TX, 78216
United States

(210) 896-1317

A therapeutic bodywork studio in San Antonio, Texas, Gabi Marcus Bodyworks combines massage, movement, and a little bit of magic to help you feel your best. We are located just off Jones-Maltsberger and 281, between the Alamo Quarry and North Star Mall.




Paige Holland and the Case of the Dolly Mama

Gabrielle Marcus

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Paige Holland is the local artist known both for her own pieces and her many commissions, including murals for homes, offices and restaurants, faux finishes, custom painted floors, pet portraits and more. Explore her wonderful world here I bought this print of hers for my office last year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of my practice. The original painting, called "the Dolly Llama", is four by four feet! When I went to pick up my print, Paige, in the casually perceptive way she has, said "You can change the name if you want."

I had already been calling it the Dolly Mama. When I was traveling in India the year before my mom passed away, I often saw in homes and offices a giant, very prominently placed portrait of a deceased ancestor. At holidays, the portrait was often draped with fresh garlands, which would dry and continue to decorate it until the next holiday. Because my mom's practice was the inspiration for mine, I had always loved the idea of having an image of my mom like this in my office, periodically festooned with fresh garlands, but I knew it might be a little daunting out of context. So then I considered having such a portrait in a closet or cabinet, but I didn't want to keep opening and closing doors on my mom. A simple framed photo seemed less than sufficient…

So, thank goodness for the Dolly Mama. 

In truth she is probably equal parts Mama and me. The cactus is extremely Mama---I have pictures of her standing next to a very similar cactus at one of my childhood homes in Marion, Texas, as if the cactus is a person and they're getting a pic together.

The kind, confident look from the llama---that feels like Mama, too, simultaneously saying something like, "I got this, and so do you."

There are things about the colors and composition that might be more "me"---I'm not sure. But Paige's rendering of the llama's effortless posture and the equally effortless cactus---how often nature will find its way if you get out of its way---that was something Mama celebrated daily, in people and in other kinds of nature.

The hope that you may be inspired to find this effortlessness through beauty and playfulness, your scarf flying in the breeze---oh so Mama.

And Paige saying that I could change the name is oh so Paige. Casually perceptive, for one, and also intent on making sure the piece felt like mine. Making the print a collaboration, and inviting me to partake. This added another meaning to the painting for me.

I often think about how, during a massage, the massage doesn't just need to feel good for your arm or leg or back--the painting doesn't just need to look good over the sofa---it needs to feel right for your whole self. Even though it might feel like I am the one "doing the doing", it is always a collaboration. So, Paige seemed to say, it is with her art.

Thank you, Paige, for my joyful Dolly Mama. She is just what I've been looking for.