Lycanestra – Goddess of Wolves

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Lycanestra was completed in 1998. The medium is extreme paper mache, a term I coined to define a process of paper mache using brown paper bags soaked in a proprietary glue mixture and applied over a steel armature. The work is 5 x 4 feet.

Designing Lycanestra brought up an interesting question. How does one describe the goddess? Throughout history the goddess has been portrayed as a female human figure, many of these figures are rotund to symbolize fecundity and plenty.  But I decided that this did not fully describe her vastness and power. Instead I incorporated the element of negative space. First, I sculpted a woman’s body in bas relief. Next, I flipped the form over and pulled out the interior stuffing used to support the woman shape.  What remained was the inside of the bas relief – an empty space. In this sculpture her empty form is all women. She is every woman’s face and she is faceless. Her outline is tangible because we both feel and know the effects of her power.  But her center is both nothingness and all things. She is the vast empty space of creation among the stars and in our DNA.

In this avatar of the goddess, her entourage is a pack of wild wolves following her in the moonlight. The wolves symbolize both family and ferocity. Wolves are known for the complex relationship of members within the wolf pack and the need to savagely bring down prey in order to survive.

She dances with one foot striding forward into the freedom of the next moment, and one foot standing within the crucible of unending rebirth from stardust to the molecules of life.  And we, reflected in her nakedness, dance with her under the unfolding embrace of her wings.

 

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To Dream of Griffins Rising to the Sun

This four-foot, hanging sculpture was completed in 1991. The medium is extreme paper mache over a steel armature. It is painted with both acrylic and enamel paints.

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Opposite View

Paper mache is a very old technique. Paper strips are soaked in an adhesive. They are formed into a shape and allowed it to dry.  Paper mache objects have been found in Egyptian tombs. Chinese war helmets have been discovered dating back before E.B.C. The American colonies had a thriving  industry using paper mache to create such furniture pieces as chest and tables.

This piece was designed to prove that the paper mache could be viable sculpture medium and that forms and shapes could extend beyond the strength the paper. This could be accomplished by constructing a steel armature. I also developed a proprietary  adhesive which I taught in my paper mache classes. A small renaissance evolved as many of my former students began showing their work in galleries around Santa   Monica, California.

Why the image of the griffins?

 It is said that only poets, mad men and children can see griffins during times of great change and cataclysm.  The griffin is an interesting combination of the body of lion, which symbolizes strength and the head and wings of an eagle, which symbolizes wisdom.

The symbol of the griffin is significant today as we enter into a time of great change, both global and within ourselves, as we witness and react to what is happening in the world.

The message of the griffin is simple: We need both strength and wisdom to survive times of apocalyptic change.

Note: These are the only two images which have survived. Somewhere this sculpture is hanging in the back of the carpentry shop on my farm.