The box of persona effects is set out on a black piece of velvet. My chair is pulled up to the table as I ponder the photographs. The chair is my own daughter Fisher Price wooden high chair, something that she used as a child and I continue to use in my studio. It is my gauge for weight gain and width of my own hips. “I wonder what Jenna’s high chair was like?” I wonder a lot about Jenna. The moment I sit down at the table and pick up the items, the emotions begin.
I put in the CD sent by Jenna’s mom, songs that she played to, and songs that will be played at her service. ” An now the time is near…” My Way is playing on the CD and as I look at the pictures of the family their happiness. Then the gateway is open between the connections I have with Jenna’s mom and the tears and sadness begin to flow. My heart aches to hold a child I have never known.
I have gone through this process long enough to know this is a very strange occurrence, picking up the feelings of my client that are opened up because of our emotional bonds (see former posts).
It has taken me years to learn how to control the emotions, during the process of sculpting posthumous sculpture, as they feel they are mine, they could quickly overwhelm me. “Not mine.” I hear myself whispering deep inside, but just enough.
I feel as if I am testing the waters, allowing myself to touch and be touched, but only enough. Learning to say ” not mine” has given me sanity in this process. First I must recognize the feelings as not my own. Some people term this “Psychic empathy”. I don’t know what to call it, I just know it is there, and I now know how to work through it. I have written a lot about this in the book. I really do need to find a publisher for that book.
29.9 inches long. This is a measurement that has been given to me by Jenna’s mom. How tall is she while she is sitting? I look for pictures of her standing up, or being held standing up and then for her sitting down. My husband, also an artist comes down as I show him my sewing tape with 29.9″ marked off. We examine the dress, my brain switches gears and I am in another part, no emotion, just proportion, compare, compare, compare. We have decided 19 inches while seated. With this number the foam armature and structure can be built. I expect to be sculpting Jenna by Monday or Tuesday. The armature will be here and the Richard Hathaway waxes will be at the foundry. I can’t wait to play with Jenna.