New sculpting studio
Last month I moved into a new sculpture studio. This new 2200 square foot studio space is being used entirely for clay sculpting. The other two studios (located 3 miles away) are used for the labor intensive steps of turning clay into bronze.
Although it has been many years since I’ve had my own sculpture studio that wasn’t a shared space (17 years to be exact) I immediately felt at home in this new space. Of course, it helps that the area is still used for artists studios and that my new space is right next door to a now closed bronze foundry. Although the Loveland Sculpture Works Foundry has been closed since 2003, the area still has labeled awnings and signs designating this area as an arts community. And this, of course, helps me connect with my creative side.
Portrait bust of Mother Teresa
In this new creative space I decided to take a rare day off from commissioned work to start a sculpture bust. Sculpture busts give me great, great joy! They are relatively quick to create and include all of the techniques I use on a full figure condensed into a small area. Since I can usually get a bust sculpted in one or two 5-6 hour sessions, they are a great way to break up the time consuming full figure sculptures which take much longer.
On Friday morning over warm tea, I decided on making this portrait bust of Mother Teresa. After gathering all of the reference material and composing the bust I began work. With ear buds in I listened to podcasts of her life story, which often times had me in tears. I worked on the bust for seven hours and called it done when I felt it could be overworked.
Mother Teresa’s devotion to the Catholic Church and reaching into the hearts of the slums of India (Calcutta) is astonishing. But what captured my attention more than this are stories of how she felt abandoned by God for 50 years. I think most of us can, at some point, connect with this feeling of silence. I have certainly felt this. But feeling disconnected from God doing the exhaustive work she did must have been incredibly difficult.
In the bust, Mother Teresa’s head is turned to her left side and her eyes glance slightly upwards to God. With her mouth parted only slightly she speaks; Why have you distanced yourself from me? Is my life’s work and love for humanity not worthy of your LOVE?
It’s hard to imagine a life like hers whose devotion and care was so public. Yet she stayed the course and persevered for decades which earned her being canonized in 2016. For all she did and went through I hope my portrait bust does her justice.