Memorial Sculpting for Grief Recovery 2...

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

The revision that I sculpted wasn't drastic but the subtle changes conveyed the heart of this memorial. Taking the family's comments into consideration, I changed the arm positions and body language so that the boys are now tenderly embracing and sharing the bowl, which has been made larger. 

I love symbolism. It can add so much more to art and increase the meaning and depth of expression. This composition is triangular which is often employed in traditional and European sculpting, especially liturgical works, as it evokes the notion of the Trinity with its three points. The circle made by the two boys' arms encircling the bowl, combined with the repetitive circle shape of the bowl itself is symbolic of the circle that is this family and their faith in God.

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

In order to make these changes I removed the sculpture from the original back-iron and board and repositioned it onto a new back-iron and board. That allowed a larger base to work upon and then I repositioned the boys and sculpted a new, larger bowl for the composition. The repeating patterns of the circle shapes and triangle shapes makes for a strong and pleasing composition.

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

As this is a rough and loose sketch some small elements may change a bit in the final. For instance, I may move the baseball around a bit to find just the right spot and the Bible may be a bit larger or smaller, depending on how it looks in the final sculpture which will be at 24" tall.

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

On a more human note: I was preoccupied thinking about whether I will incise (cut into) or sculpt raised letters on the Bible pages. This scale is challenging in clay and I was also pondering the style and possible decoration of the pages. The result? Misspelling of "Isaiah"! That will be corrected when I do the final sculpture ;-)

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Another bit of symbolism is the subtle placement of the Eagle on the shirt of the boy. The family loves eagles and of course, in addition to being our National Symbol, eagles represent so much more: freedom, integrity, courage and messenger of God. M loved sports so I will be sculpting an eagle silhouette with the #26 (both M and his father played baseball under jersey #26). The Eagle will be subtly enhanced in tone in the patina on the bronze.

Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of two boys holding bowl ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

The bowl is going to be especially personal for the family. The mother wanted the family to be a part of this process so we have decided that I will sculpt the bowl in polymer clay and fire it in the oven so it is hard and sculpt the two boys in my regular oil-based clay. Then I will mail the bowl and some additional polymer clay to the family. They will create their own bowl in as close to the size and shape of my bowl as possible - perhaps making some decorations or marks or fingerprints in the surface. Then they will fire the bowl in their own oven and mail it back to me. 

Once I have their bowl I will place it back in the oil-based clay sculpture and refit the arms and hands to work the new bowl. Once the piece is cast in bronze, they will know that the three of them created the bowl that represents their family. Then they can place things in the bowl that are meaningful to them and change the objects whenever they please. 

Such small and intimate gestures in the planning and creation of art can be so cathartic and healing in grief. 


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