“Inner Child” represents the continuity of life. He is a mixture of genetic material and earth elements. Antler, the appendage that once protected its host from prey, is now a face that beams shyly back to life. Rhyolite, with its beautiful layers of patterns and colors that form as lava flows through the stone, is now an elegant podium. The ivory in its simplicity contrasts greatly with a pink and black earthen mosaic upon which it rests. In the span of three inches, a new life experience is created. May it provide quiet relief from a universe too complex for human understanding.
What started as a study now documents my attempt to form a human face. It was a process of letting go: I tried over and over to “get it right” but always ended up giving in to the will of the metal.
Each began as an empty sphere. Then, as I practiced my technique, a trace of personality appeared. Some were whimsical, some despondent, and some otherworldly. After I had exhausted all attempts to work in this miniature scale, I looked back and saw that a collective energy of these 16 faces had emerged.
To see them side by side is mesmerizing. It’s an adventure to look from one face to the next; it’s like searching for a familiar face or a lost child looking for home.
This new body of work is an exploration of the human face set on sterling silver sheet. What began as a lesson on how to make a human face from a flat sheet of metal, has turned into a passion to form an anatomically correct being on an egg shape dome.
I have been studying all kinds of interesting faces in my travels. No matter how much I intend to reproduce them, they appear very different from my own vision. I am not discouraged, yet driven to see how real I can make them. I am using a variety of tools I’ve made myself. The process is called Repousse – a very ancient form of metal work.
I attribute my success so far to many great instructors, a captive audience, and the curious child within me.
This is the second in a series of bone that were tattooed with pyrography, an ancient burning technique. The material is from a bovine vertebrae, all one piece. I see it as a symbolic mask. Hopefully it will have the same hypnotic effect on the audience.
King Neptune and Salacia are the royal couple of the sea. Equipped with his famous trident, Neptune is controlling and fierce, determined to win the hand of a reluctant Salacia. By contrast, Salacia is carefree as the calm sea she represents and resists surrendering the good life of a sea nymph to assume the role of Neptune’s queen. The chase ends in marriage and the couple reign together over the sea. Battling stormy seas or celebrating calm waters, theirs is the timeless battle over control and surrender.
While making this piece, I envisioned a king holding up a trident exerting his primal power.By his side stands a queen, whose beauty shimmers like sun on water. Surrounded by tides that shape a salty bay, I watch the mighty currents created by reversing tides, and I consider the force that created them. Tides represent the opportunity for self-renewal and also signify good timing. I am just discovering how to go with this flow. Without the magic of Neptune’s trident, I must rely on common sense, intuition, and patience. Sometimes I’m better off waiting for the opportunities brought in with the tide, and that wisdom is applied to both making art and living life.
Loki is a famous prankster in Norse mythology. He is a master manipulator and his shape shifting gets him out of trouble time and again. He is tolerated by Odin mostly because he is endearing. He maintains a pleasant nature, even while stabbing you in the back. He puts himself first, always, but when he is on a mission to save his own skin, he may just accidentally become useful.
Loki presented himself while I was carving into this horse’s sacrum. I carved in the lines, but somehow the piece was screaming for something more prominent. I chose to enhance the grooves by using a burning tool, a process known as pyrography. The end result was clownish and mythical. Looking at the sculpture, I imagine Loki shape shifting into a raven. He appears to hold a smaller package in his clutch; perhaps it’s another gift for Odin.
I have always been drawn to Native American symbols. The Y’ei mask is particularly interesting. The geometric shapes are deeply symbolic. The name Yei derives from the word Yeibicheii meaning the Holy People.
I began creating these masks as a way of teaching myself metal work. Once I discovered how the Y’ei masks complimented the etched bone sculpture, I gave it a copper face and created my first mixed media sculpture.
Ironically, my first piece was created on the day Pat Conroy died, March 4, 2016, and so I named it “Prince of Tides.” It gives a voice to these jawbones and sets them in a human posture with their arms waving as if floating mysteriously in tidal water. It all fit together so nicely that I call the sculptures the “Prince of Tides” series.
There are tensculptures in the series so far: Prince of Tides, Trumpeter, Medicine Woman, Sedna, Narwhale, Twins, Royal Couple, Walrus, Odin, and Pretty White Bird.