EDMOND, OKLAHOMA -- She obtained her first piece of Oklahoma Alabaster as an art student at UCO.
"My professor bought the tools," recalls Shahla Reynolds.
She remembers driving around with a farmer near Freedom, OK and picking up big blocks of it to bring home.
"He would drive and I would say, 'I want this. I want that.' And he would throw them in his pickup."
The stone proved difficult to work with.
"It's really soft," observes Reynolds as she files down a rough edge.
Her pieces of Oklahoma Alabaster are porous. They soak up moisture. It also contains hidden cracks that often force revisions to her ideas.
Shahla says, "A lot of times, if it's been exposed, it cracks and breaks. It just falls apart."
Shahla learned to work with all kinds of substances in her career as sculptor and artist, including other types of alabaster.
But she kept coming back to her old supply.
This temperamental, white stone seemed to bring the most from her efforts.
"What was your reward then," asks an observer? "Why bother?"
"Well, I don't know," she laughs. "I love working with the stone. It's the creations of something that's in there. You never know what's going to come out."
She learned over time that getting what she wanted from this rough stone was the wrong idea.
Accepting what it gave her proved a better method in working through the hidden fractures and imperfections.
Reynolds, says, "You learn how to use those lines and veins to create your design, and a lot of times a lucky accident happens."
She came from Iran to be a doctor.
The hidden fault lines of revolution and politics forced a change in plans for Shahla Rahimi.
She stayed in Oklahoma and learned to take what life gave her, which, in the end, like Oklahoma Alabaster, revealed something beautiful anyway.
Shahla Reynolds is a widely recognized sculptor in Oklahoma. If you'd like to see more of her Alabaster pieces log onto http://www.sonarta.com.