ORLANDO, Fla — Sophie Branham represents Gallia County, River Valley High School, and her family by winning best in show and first place for her category at the National Beta Convention held at Disney on the first of the month.
Branham, who will be a senior at River Valley in the fall, competed in the fiber arts category with her dryer lint portrait of Malala Yousafzai: who was made famous after her attempted murder by terrorists. She then became an advocate for education.
When Branham was asked why she chose to portray Yousafzai, she said, “It was a good way for people to ask me about her and I could tell them about her work and what she does.”
Branham shares in Yousafzai’s ideals and used the project share those ideals with others.
In the art show portion of the Beta Convention, hundreds of pieces were entered in various categories. To be able to compete, betas (as Beta members are called among themselves) must have placed with that art piece in their state in order to advance. Branham not only won her category at the Ohio convention, she always won best in show there as well.
The portrait took four weeks of work to complete, from sketching the portrait, then transferring it onto the actual surface through a grid technique. Branham used large quantities of dryer lint of various shades and colors, brought in by fellow betas and classmates and applied it to the surface using mod podge, a kind of adhesive.
“My art teacher inspired me to use dryer lint as a unique way to do a portrait,” said Branham.
Branham is already saving dryer lint for next year.
“One day I walked into the library (at RVHS) and there is lint everywhere and Sophie was covered in the stuff,” said Aaron Walker, Beta advisor. “Mrs. Stanley and I are both incredibly proud of her and her hard work this year.”
Walker also spoke highly of Branham, explaining “This picture is a reflection of who Sophie is, a remarkable young lady.”
Not only did Branham have success in her field, the River Valley Beta Club fared well as a whole. The group efforts in living literature and character skits did reportedly well, Ethan Browning delivered his state winning speech, Katie Baker placed top ten in original poetry and the club also placed top ten for pin design.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.