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Rocking for sweet chair-ity

Raffle of a custom-painted chair will benefit flood victims.

Stacey Sherman arrived on Bainbridge a day after the big rains, and she dived right in.

“I kept seeing the news on the flood victims,” she said. “I’m an extremely grateful individual, and I’ve had a nice life. When I did this chair, I wanted it to have some purpose.”

With her kids long grown and gone, Sherman, an animal rescue enthusiast and furniture artist who describes herself as “an old hippie and a Mae West and an Ally McBeal and a Diane Keaton kind of blend,” gave in to wanderlust, pulled up her south Florida roots and headed to the upper-left.

She started in Oregon this fall ostensibly to take care of a farm while acquaintances were away. But having “done the farm thing already,” she elected to head to the island instead, to be close to her brother.

As with every new town she’s arrived in, Sherman looked up the local children’s shop to ask whether she could display a sample of her hand-painted furniture.

Heirloom furniture and boutique kids’ duds go hand in hand, and Sherman has found that when shopping parents catch sight of her work, the commissions follow.

When two weeks ago the artist walked into Lollipops Children’s Boutique in Winslow Mall, she had her pitch prepared.

But as she spoke with owner Karin Lehotsky about crafting a piece to display in the store, she realized the prospective treasure could have a wider-reaching impact than just future business.

“Her store was precious, and little girls’ fabrics and colors motivate me to no end. And Karin was so nice,” Sherman said. “It all just kind of culminated from there.”

Days later, she had transformed an unfinished children’s rocker into a pristine pink and pastel green confection, and made arrangements with Lollipops to raffle it off.

A $5 ticket would give some lucky kid a chance to own a chair that Sherman would typically sell for $300, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross to benefit flood victims.

In Florida cities like Talla­hassee and Gainesville, Sherman specialized in creating high-end rooms based around her furniture, with a particular passion for matching her paint designs to clients’ chosen fabrics.

While she’s always loved the pastels of little girls’ furniture, she’s been equally happy creating sophisticated grownup designs in deeper colors and black-and-white.

In Sherman’s heyday, a whole bedroom design could run a customer $20,000. Thus, she characterizes her business as having had a New York mentality with a Ralph Lauren/Shabby Chic vibe.

Here on the island, Sherman is keen to build community connections; she’s keeping a casual eye out for studio space, has established a relationship with National Furniture in Silverdale, where she plans to put a painted adult rocker on display, and wants to begin offering lessons and workshops around town, perhaps to seniors and moms.

“What I like to teach is preparation and technique, so that they don’t waste time and money,” she said.

Sherman has no immediate plans to create more $20,000 rooms and will likely scale back from big-city pricing.

She’ll continue taking commissions, using her website and display pieces as samples, and focus on her love for the process and the product.

“I think a painted piece is such a visual pleasure,” she said. “You can walk into a room five years later, and it can still make you smile.”

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Chair apparent

Stacey Sherman’s girl’s rocker is on display at Lollipops Children’s Boutique, 278 Madison Avenue. Raffle tickets are $5 each, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross to benefit Northwest flood victims. The winner will be announced the afternoon of Dec. 22 at the store. Find Sherman at www.shepaintsfurniture.com, staceyfurniture@aol.com and at (954) 604-9680.

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