As 11 a.m. approached on a sunny Tuesday, members of the Home League, a women’s ministry program at the Salvation Army, entered the back of the small church on Fourth Street. And as they entered, the women were met by all things 1950s, courtesy of Teresa Scott, a Danville member of the group.
A Pandora music station played songs from the decade, as the women sat at round tables decorated with props, including a 1950s car model and a cake layered with ‘50s foods. But the props weren’t store-bought; they were paper mache props made by Scott herself.
Scott has been creating paper mache sculptures for at least 15 years — mainly using paper, tissue paper, popsicle sticks and Mod Podge, a glue-like material for crafts.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time,” she said. “I do stuff, you know, as I want to do it.”
Along with designing a ‘50s diner menu, Scott began working on her paper mache pieces for the event at least a week in advance. She said some of the crafts took only an hour to make. She made a banana split and hot dog entirely of paper mache and Mod Podge. She also made a 1950s-style model car based on a small photograph.
The group talked and laughed as Scott and Lt. Bethany Burns, an officer of the Salvation Army, prepared root beer floats and chili dogs. Scott’s 1950s skirt made by her mother, Billie Scott, swished as she moved to the music.
“This is an awesome experience for these ladies,” Burns said. “Not everybody would really get to experience something like this, you know, all the time.”
Burns said the women try to do a themed activity once a month, with the group meeting every week for multiple activities and a devotional. She said Scott did a great job setting up for the meeting. “She’s very talented,” said Burns. “I mean, she did all this on her own without anybody really helping her.”
Before the women enjoyed their food, Scott shared information on the history of the 1950s, including Mahalia Jackson, the original singer of “This Little Light of Mine.”
Scott plans to do paper mache objects for her next monthly theme on Africa and Haiti, including a destroyed schoolhouse with small children. She enjoys creating and adding features to dolls.
Some of her favorite dolls she altered or created include Madea, a “Coming to America” set with a bride and groom, and a doll she made as a replica of her father and gave to him as a gift. She laughed as she described how her dad says no one is allowed to touch the doll, but they can look. She reflected for a moment.
“I’m a paper person,” she said. “Just give me paper and I’m happy.”