Sol Existence – click any image for full size
It’s been over four years since my last visit to Sol Existence, the Full region held by Sunshine Amelia Gilmore; as such, I thought it high time Caitlyn and I returned to spend a little time exploring. (Sunshine Zhangsun). At the time of my 2013 visit, Sunshine was collaborating with Jac Mornington; the current build appears to be largely Sunshine’s own design.
“Somewhat reminiscent of another time,” Sunshine says of the design, “Created with love and happiness. A small seaside island offering solace to the wanderer.” And so it is – albeit, perhaps, a seaside island approaching its off-season given the cast of the sky.
A visit starts on the east side of the island, above the curving “c” of a sandy bay, reached via broad wooden steps which descend gently sloping rocks in a series of platformed tiers. The beach is dominated by a large warehouse with a low wooden key, and a trawler appears to be rounding the headline en route to coming alongside. However, a look inside the warehouse reveals it is not a place of work, but actually a place of recreation, housing a bar on the upper floor. It might be the first indication that some of the buildings here are not as they might first appear.
Atop the cliffs, a little row of shops point the way eastwards, sitting within a ring of cart tracks which set them aside from a chapel and the second lighthouse, both of which sit to the north of them. The lighthouse again is not all it appears, being a centre for Relay for Life, reflecting Sunshine’s long-standing involvement with, and support of, RFL.
Another chapel lies to the east of the houses, appearing to guard the south and west sides of the island. This is the home of Epilogue, described as a “special place for creation and imagination,” where Charlotte Gilmore hosts reading clubs and craft creating sessions. Beyond this chapel is a pond and farm, the latter with geese, chickens and goats within the walls of its garden, the ruins of an old fortification close by. As with the east side f the island, cart tracks circle this part of the island, including the large pond fronting the farm-house, and a couple of old vehicles, a four-wheeled truck and a Tuk Tuk style mobile library.
A second beach sits in the north-west corner of the island offers another place to relax and enjoy the Sun when it is present over the island. At the top of the slopes above this, and nestled close to the lighthouse, is a hot air balloon and a playable game of chess, available to those so minded for a game. Nor is this the only opportunity for recreation – another little game sits inside Epilogue, while seagulls scattered around the island will be happy to offer dances to those touching them. There are also a number of places where visitors can sit and relax.
Sol Existence is still and picturesque as it has always been, and photography is encouraged across the island, with Sunshine requesting those who do take pictures consider submitting them to the region’s Flickr group. Those who would like to rez props for their photographs can join the region’s Group by clicking on the seagull perched above village sign at the landing point.
All-in-all another pleasing visit whether exploring on your own or with a friend, with plenty of opportunities for photography and plenty of places to sit and relax. For me, the was a welcome return to a region which caught my eye, and which I’ve been away from for a little too long.