Monday, November 24, 2008


Sculpting a Life:
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest.
(Raven copper mask)
Life is like sculpting in so many ways. Some obvious and some not. What’s obvious to me right now relates to the process called subtractive sculpting.

What is subtractive sculpting? It’s starting with a block of stone, chunk of clay, piece of wood then chipping, pinching or carving bits of it away.

This is very different from additive sculpting. Additive sculpting is adding material or elements to form the sculpture.


My life seems to be mirroring the process of subtractive sculpture. Now, I realize that sounds bad. It isn’t.

Let’s say that I’m doing relief sculpture of a bird in clay. In this process, I’d start with a slab of clay. I would then carve away the parts of the clay that are not needed to form the bird. By taking away, subtracting the clay that is not part of the bird, I am leaving the clay that forms the bird. Get it?

I’m taking away, subtracting what I don’t need, I’m leaving what I do need and want. Hmm. Sounds like a good idea, don’t you think? Especially, considering the strained economic times we are riding through right now, this just might be a solution.

What I see is very simple. I am the sculptor of my life. All I have to do is see that life is good.

Carve away what I don’t need. Pinch out what is in my way. Chip out and around my life to sculpt the picture I want.
Then I keep what works. What’s good. What creates the life that I picture.

I am sculpting a life. Mine.

You can do it, too. You don’t have to be a sculptor to do it. All you have to do is take a good look at your life. See what’s good in your life. Decide you want to keep it. Then, start carving away those things, people, places and activities that you don’t want, need or that get in the way of the life you envision.

You can sculpt your life, too.

1 comment:

gara gillentine said...

I just came across Eric's blog and your wonderful piece here . . . all because this morning I was in search of some self-help books . . . which came about via an insert booklet in a book ("haiku mind") that my daughter gave to me for my recent birthday.

Your comments make so much sense to me at this particular time in my life because as I read what you had to say, I could see that I seem to be in the process of "sculpting away." I just didn't have the words to describe it. You painted the picture I needed.

I am going to print this out and keep it in a visible place – a confirmation – when in doubt. Thank you!