Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sculpting A Life.

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Tree of Life-Completed!

About 4 months ago, I met with Brenda and Lisa about doing a copper project for their school auction at Valley Catholic School. We talked through many different ideas. One thing they were sure about, the project had to use copper and it needed to include elements made by the children in the third grade class.

That's how the tree sprang to life. The idea was to have each child choose a word that inspired them. I would visit the class and work with the children to do the repousse work on the cut out copper birch leaves. After I did the patina on the leaves, they would be attached to the branches on the copper Tree of Life.

Back in my studio, I went to work making the trunk and branches of the tree. I wanted the trunk to be sturdy and beautiful. As I twisted and turned the copper, I realized that the trunk I was making for the Tree of Life was, well, a lot like life. Life spirals up and out in many different and unexpected directions. It branches out growing stronger as time goes on, yet even the oldest and strongest branches can sprout new tender shoots and leaves at any time. The three spiral roots link together, just as our bodies, hearts and souls entwine in our lives.

The Tree of Life is an age-old symbol that appears throughout history in many cultures around the world. Different cultures use different types of trees ash, yew, oak trees to magical trees made from dragons. It symbolizes birth, death and knowledge. In some cultures it represents a variety of pagan gods. In Christianity, it is used to represent Jesus Christ.

This Tree of Life has birch shaped leaves, and in some cultures, the birch tree is a symbol of rebirth and new life. I couldn't think of a better symbol for young children and even some of us who aren't so young anymore. That no matter what your age, you are always able to grow in any direction you choose.

To see more of my sculpture and writing, check out my website Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture and my other blog Susan's Art & Words.

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