One of the elements that this commission lacks is personal contact. Because the process of sculpting Dick consists of raising money for casting and my donating the sculpting, it is of a different nature than most of my other work. There are no loved ones that I can contact on a regular basis and talk with. I am beginning to see how much this is an important element of the process of sculpting the deceased. Those that are left behind are my inspiration. I draw on their love and energy to bring the work of art to life. They are mixed within the clay.
I loved e mailing Jeanine’s mom on a regular basis. Sometimes she would just send me stories, or writings and when the packages would come with video or tape recordings I was elated. I was able to celebrate her child with her. That is a tremendous part of the process. As I learned last semester, as I studied this process, it is also quite healing for my clients. Where else can they go where they can continually talk about their loved one? Many times in our Western culture we are encouraged to “move on”. There is a wonderful book called Continuing Bonds by Phyllis R Silverman, that states that continuing bonds with the deceased is not only healthy but should be encouraged. That is what I do, I help my clients to continue bonds. Together through their love we create, and there is really no better way to express love than to create. The sculpture is not an idol to hold up on a pedestal but an actual and physical manifestation of the continuing bonds, the love. I am so blessed to be able to do this.
I do wish others who knew Dick would write, or send pictures. Maybe I’ll watch the video again, but this creativity it is not from just within me, it is somehow attached to those who knew and loved the person. I need more of that right now. It is truly my inspiration.