A delightful surprise: a blog in my inbox that has an image of one of my sculptures

Periodically, one of you readers will ask about my previous life as a sculptor.  Since I stopped sculpting in the late 80’s, long before cell phones and even digital cameras were invented, and since I had neither the finances nor the inclination to document my work (believing, as I did, that, like the guild craftsmen of the Middle Ages, I was working for the glory of God and not the recognition of Self), I have almost no photos of my work.

Several years ago a Minnesota Public Television station produced a documentary about my writing and sculpting (http://www.pbs.org/video/2365442002) that shows a few images.  Should you wish to watch, it is all in the first ten minutes.  But beyond that fine piece, there is little record of my work — certainly nothing about it in context.

But this morning a link to a blog piece showed up in my inbox that has an on-site shot of my sculpture, Joseph the Worker, that I did while living in the Westminster Benedictine Abbey in Mission, British Columbia.  I tried to do a piece in the style and in a manner that reflected the Benedictine values of the monks with whom I was living.  I think I succeeded.

It was, in effect, an extended visual meditation on the spiritual character of a simple carpenter who throughout the Gospels never utters a word, but was willing to raise a child as his own who his wife maintained had been conceived, not by involvement with another man, but by the direct intervention of God.  In short, a quiet, hardworking man of simple faith.

The church in which it stands was just being built at the time.  I wandered the shell of the construction, looking for lines and rhythms I could echo in my work.  And I became aware that the church was going to be a vast spiritual echo chamber that could benefit from the visual counterpoint of an intimate presence that would focus the attention and serve as a meditation on the man who was the patron saint of the monastery.

The result was the sculpture that shows up at the end of the blog https://divinediuum.com/2016/12/24/westminster-abbey/.  It clearly reflects my fascination with Michelangelo and the Florentine Renaissance and predates my interest in Native American values and aesthetics.  It is, as I am wont to say, more an image than a sculpture.  I have not seen it in person for at least 15 years.

For those of you who have been curious about my previous life as a sculptor, this blog and the Minnesota Public Television piece will give you some insight.  I hope you enjoy them.

10 comments

  1. Shelley says:

    Merry Christmas Kent ! Nice documentary on you !! That is one laid back dog ! LOL I have been reading VOICES in the Stones and LOVE it !!! Really enjoying it ! You should do more sculpting again 🙂

  2. knerburn says:

    Lucie is a sweet girl. Thanks for noticing. And thanks for enjoying VOICES. Sculpt again? Who knows, it could happen.

  3. Mary Ann says:

    Merry Christmas! I finished Voices in the Stones this morning and loved it. Thank you for writing it. I feel it is very timely.

  4. Robin says:

    I came across your book Small Graces, beginning to read it. It is a quiet treasure that I am grateful for – thank you.

  5. MikeBramer says:

    I have just finished reading Vices in the Stone. It took me on what must be described as a spiritual journey.. I am a Secular Buddhist and the voices of the native Americans spoke to me in much the same way as the teachings of Buddhism. I received the book as, Christmas present. (I bought it and gave itto me my wife to give to me. It is my intention to buy several more copies to gift to my friends. I have also read most of the rest of your books. Thank you so much.

  6. Mike Bramer says:

    That is Voices in the Stone. Where is spellcheck when you need it.

  7. knerburn says:

    My more jocular self loves “vices in the stones.” Perhaps that could be my next book.

  8. Terry Shaughnessy says:

    Kent,
    I just finished reading “Voices in the Stones”, and once more leave your writing with a heart touched by gratitude. The reverence and care with which you share your understanding of Native Ways is truly remarkable. The summary of your thoughts and insights in the epilogue is so helpful and timely, a place I will return to for clarity and hope. I can now listen to the wind with new ears and am grateful for your instruction and humble encouragement.

  9. Julie McGowan says:

    I discovered your wonderful books, and the quiet grace and humility contained within their pages, while visiting Montana last Summer.
    Thank you for the beauty of your writing.

    Julie McGowan
    Lincolnshire, England

  10. Dave says:

    Your words flow so well observations and listening I can hear them in the wind!
    South Korea Dave 🙂

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