Thursday, July 2, 2009

That One Piece

I love to sculpt and create little people figures and I usually fall in love with them as I am working on them. After they are completed though, I have no desire to keep them. Cold? Maybe, but I would rather send them out in the world, either by gifting or selling then to have them hanging around my house/studio.


Over the years, I have had two pieces that have 'spoken' to me, and one piece that I will never part with. That piece is my "Woman's Work Is Never Done" (shown above). I started this piece, as I always do by sculpting the head. It was to be a small child. I then received a call from Vancouver, that my 68 year old mother had passed away suddenly. This was in 1998. When I returned home from the funeral two weeks later, I didn't go into my studio for approx. a month. I also did not pick up the little head I had been working on for almost six months. I had no desire to.


One evening I picked it up, thought it needed some adjustments on the face and before I knew it, I had a kindly old woman looking at me. From there, this angel developed. I have no recollection really of working on it. It does not look like my mother, however there is such a tangible bond with this piece and my mom, that I know that I will never part with it.


I have only had this strong feeling of connection once before, when I did a piece called "Not Amused". The inspiration for the piece was my 4 year old daughter constantly teasing and annoying her 10 year old sister.




The little imp sticking out his tongue and the young lass, in no way resemble my girls, however it took me several years to let this piece leave my home. When it did, it went to a very dear friend of mine, and I can still visit it if I wish.

How do the rest of you feel about your work? Do you hold on to just a few special pieces? Do you want to keep the majority of them? I'm curious.

(I apologize for the above pics. They are old scanned images from my files)

20 comments:

Dessa Rae said...

This is such a touching story, thank you for sharing it. The Angel figure is wonderful, so full of character. I have a hard time parting with my sculpts. I guess when you work so hard on a piece, a little part of you is missing when the sculpt is sold.
I can relate to scanned pictures, most of my older pictures are scanned. Wish they would have had the digital technology way back then...
Love the Imp and the Lass, how tall are the figures?

Sue said...

Hi Dessa! The angel is 14" and the two figure piece is 15" for the girl and I think 6" for the imp (I'm guessing on this one as it has been awhile). I used to work in the 14 to
18" range.

Ingrid Mida said...

I always enjoy hearing about artist's inspiration for their work. I especially like your angel and the story behind it. There are a few pieces that I will never part with either, mostly because they represent a major milestone in my artistic development. But generally, I like whatever I just finished and have to "live" with it for a while before I'm ready to put it out in the world.

Renee said...

Sue I don't know how you let any of it go. Seriously.

These two pieces you have shown are wonderful.

I am sorry to hear that you Mom had passed suddenly. No matter what I don't think you are ever ready to lose your Mom.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Pattee said...

I'm sorry Sue no matter when your mom passed away. suddenly is always a shock. My mom was the same way... your mom was so young...

I love the angel you made not remembering how you did it... hey mom...

I am the same way... I make something keep it for a bit then think I've got to gift this or sell it i just have to!

Much love~Pattee

niknik said...

Такие замечательные работы, такие искренние истории...

3rdEyeMuse said...

I can see why both were pieces that grabbed hold of you ... the first one seems to have magic in it (and that from an old photo).

it's rare for me to want to keep anything I make, though there are a few random bits around ... mostly due to them being made for my husband. :)

Pearl said...

Sue, these two pieces speak volumes. I love the angel and hope one day when I'm in Heaven that will be me, surrounded by children laughing and smiling and me content with my cleaning for the little ones. It's so sweet and loving. What an imagination you have (me too sometimes)im so impressed with your work!! What beauty you create, to calm and soothe someone special. Something that there children can remember them by as it gets handed down from generation to generation. You have a loving light my friend.

julie campbell said...

What wonderful pieces Sue.
My mam died suddenly too aged just 63 on xmas night 2000. It is very hard to get over the shock of someone so loved and seemingly healthy dissappearing from your life. I can totally understand why you could never part with the angel. My mam never saw my dolls, it was something I started as I recovered from her passing but I know she would have loved them.
I am similar to you in that I fall in love with each doll but as I finish them need to send them out to their new homes. I have kept just two of my dolls, Alice in wonderland and Marilyn Monroe.
My Marilyn looks so vulnerable I couldnt send her away !
I adore your second piece, the expression on the gilr is just so perfect !
Your work is beautiful
julie xxx

Sea Gypsy said...

Both of these pieces are spectacular, but I love the story that goes with each one. The one you did after your mothers passing is so wonderful. I also have a piece that is a combination of life stuff and my Mom passing at age 64. I wanted to sell, but just could not, so I have decided she is mine forever. If you have the winter issue of ADQ it is Praise. Your other piece is just magical! I would have a hard time letting that one go myself. Yes, I do have a hard time letting go.

julie mitchell said...

Both pieces are wonderful...thank you for sharing such personal inspiration.
I have to Spirit Figures that have stayed with me...one I made at the Goddess Doll Workshop I attended that sent me on this doll making journey and another that is a Medicine Woman...both pieces hang in my studio across from each other. They are powerful figures and reminders that life is short...so live it!
hug, hug...

Studio At Crow Haven Farm said...

Sue, what a beautiful post...They are powerful art dolls and they will speak to you! Have a great weekend my friend.
Cheers.

Rita said...

What a wonderful post. I am sure your gran is with you always darl and she must be very proud of you and your work. love to you xxx Rita.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

It's always interesting to read about other artists' inspirations and processes. I can see why you would not want to part with the agéd angel piece - it's very intriguing and beautiful...and obviously has lots of meaning to you.

I don't have ANY of my work ... well, except the pieces that haven't sold yet LOL - but they're for sale. I really like working on my pieces, and enjoy almost every step of the process. But when they're completed, I'm through with them. Usually, I'm ready to start in on the ideas that brewed while working on the previous one.

Oh, dear. I'm hope I'm not a completely unsentimental clod!


HaPpY PiNk SaTuRdAy FoUrTh Of JuLy!

Sue said...

I really enjoyed reading all the responses regarding keeping/sending on
your artwork! It seems we are a bit of a mixed bag LOL

Lady Artisan said...

Wonderful post, Sue! I really love "Not Amused" and can see how you'd find it hard to part with it.

For me, I have yet to make a doll that I can't part with but, while I enjoy making the rather whimsical, big-headed figures that I make, I prefer to collect more realistic pieces. Not that I've started my collection yet ;) And I am still working very slowly on sculpting my more realistic pieces so keeping one hasn't been an issue yet.

My dolls always "talk" to me while I'm making them, but you'll notice when you read through the stories that they tend to be very tongue-in-cheek. I think that if I had more time to devote to making my art, that I would probably find myself working on more realistic and emotional pieces. Right now, my time is limited and I find it's easier to stick with the lighthearted stuff.

Denise said...

These are wonderful pieces Sue! I love them! I can see why you would not want to part with them. People ask me all the time how I part with my work. There have been quite a few pieces I have done that were indeed very hard to let go of. I do keep a photo album of all my pieces and I find this really helps. It is not a digital album but a real photo album. I know my work is in loving homes and that really helps. One day I will make a piece just for myself to keep. I will know it when I create it.

Joanna Thomas said...

I can relate Sue.. I go through love hate relationships with my pieces as they develop. The only pieces I have kept were some very early pieces from the mid 90's which are nothing like what I do now...
I have only really regretted selling one piece... the rest I somehow find an dis-attchment after I finish it and keep it for a week or too. In that time I start a new one and that helps to move on and let go.
xoxo

Nun of a Kind! said...

This post and story is so beautiful, as are the wonderful pieces you created. I do not know how you can possibly part with such beautiful creations, but I am sure that the people who own them now are happy that you did. Beautiful words, beautiful work!

Jo James said...

I can see why those pieces are near and dear to you. They're lovely!
I'm happy to let my stuff go after I'm done with it. For the most part. There are only 4 pieces that I'd rather have been able to keep- my Housheads and the Cheater Quilt upon which my very first pattern was based. Someday maybe I'll be able to create stuff for myself, but I can't afford myself yet ;)