As I sit and write this blog about the praying man and see the stages of the creative and bronze process I wonder if there are comparisons.Vision- action-perseverance-tenacity
I have a vision, it comes together only through a considerable amount of work. There may even be creative obstacles in the way. I have skill, to create this vision. This is something that has taken years to develop, but the other things that are necessary are the tenacity, and perseverance to get to the end. Anyone who has had a vision, or a direction they felt God had told them to go and has followed that, knows that this sometimes takes years and years. Modifications and perseverance are a must.
Approval- My perfection is not so- unless I am severed first. I spend so much time making the final sculpted clay “perfect” for my clients to see. The perfection serves a purpose, so that the clients will give their approval to go forward, but in reality it is more work. I know there are things I can do when the sculpture is cut apart that I could not do with it as an entire “perfect” vision. Maybe that is how God works with us. We try to be perfect, and feel our direction is certain, but then our experiences our lives are severed and we wonder why? It is because there is so much more God can do with the pieces than he could ever do with what appeared to be the whole.
Those first seeing the process and watching me cut apart the praying mans sculpted piece might think this is severe. I, as the sculptor, see the importance of this. I cannot make this a solid object. I cannot get it to where it is supposed to be without this part of the process. I try to reassure those reading the blog, or new artists, don’t worry- trust the process. I can also trust the process because I trust the hands that will be shaping this sculpture long after I have let go. My foundry man Miguel is incredible and I trust him with all of my artwork. I have followed him wherever he has gone, as I know that the end will be incredible. I also trust God with the pieces of my life. I guess you could say, he is my foundry man. Though I’m not sure how all of my own pieces in my life go together. I know he will make me a work of art.
Mold- Here I have the time to clean each severed piece. Though this is still a process and I know that even though I work diligently at mold making I will still be working once again in this next stage in wax. I’ll work to try and make everything perfect or as close to it as possible. Sometimes in my life I have stopped and actually said, “Just what is you plan Lord? I know you have one, but with all that is going on it is difficult to see.” I guess I was just in the middle of God’s process of solidifying who I am. Wax-
Isn’t it strange that we go from a solid sculpture to this very fragile wax. It holds the details, it is still in pieces and much closer to perfection that it once was, but it is even more fragile. Again, I have encountered times in my life when I felt like I had the impression of what God was trying to do, however, still felt fragile. The important thing is to stick with the process. Trusting and continuing in what is set out before you.
Gating up. Without the gates added to the wax when the sculpture goes through the bronze, the metal pouring it would blow apart. Connections- The foundry man knows where to make those connections from one area to the other. God knows how to connect the parts of our life. There are things that happened 30 years ago, that I am now just seeing the importance of, the connections. Even the painful things have a different meaning when looked at from a distance.
The creating of this shell is so important. The details are transferred to it. It needs to be strong and not have any holes in it or the bronze will not pour correctly. Do we sometimes feel that our lives are still, almost smothered? What is God doing to the details that we don’t know about? The PourI find so many comparisons between sculpting and my spiritual life. This pour means we need to heat the shell in an oven and pour molten bronze. I have a bible study I have created about clay and our walk with the lord. Even with a water based clay that is fired in a kiln the clay is useless unless it goes through this heating process. It can hold nothing. But fire it and it becomes strong. The interesting thing with the water based clay that is fired in a kiln is that the white clay before firing is actually grey, but the firing process turns it to pure white. I don’t need to compare more than that. Our trials our tribulations strengthen us and sometimes they make us feel like we are going through fire.
Bridgette Mongeon created this sculpture for Dallas Baptist University. If you would like to read the entire process on the artists project blog for this project visit http://prayingmansculpture.blogspot.com/ .