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.