I listen, and I forget
I see, and I remember
I do, and I understand

- Chinese Proverb

Sculpture: The Miracle of Christmas

 

The Miracle of Christmas, Scraps and discarded materials such as bottles, cans, fan covers, and cutlery, 18' x 8' x8'

A collaboration with Wolf, an appellation for a family of artists on their farm outside of Jaipur, India.

This was my first time working with scraps and discarded materials, (other than glass,) repurposing thoughts and ideas, as well as learning to think of art in general and sculpture in particular as storytelling.

The Christmas tree was commissioned by a restaurant in Mumbai featuring recipes for food from Goa, called O Pedro. Goa has the largest Christian population in India. When I arrived on the farm I was shown hundreds of pieces of discarded cutlery, consisting of spoons, knives, forks, as well as serving and cooking utensils. beer bottles, and aluminum cans to symbolize a restaurant. We talked about the shape of the tree, the materials best suited to tell the story of Christmas in India, at a restaurant, both physically and philosophically. We had to consider ornaments and elements that would ship easily from the farm for an 18’ tree, in a 7' truck, and be reconstructed in Mumbai. We worked together to come up with design concepts such as "roping or swags" made from spoons, that were painted red with gold design elements. My first inspiration was that these swags were flexible enough to be made into a wreath. We cut aluminum cans into holly leaves for trim. Then we cut cans into thin strips and stacked them together to make oversized tinsel decorations.

The artists' son asked about the Morse Code in the midst of creating the tree. This was an unusual idea to incorporate into the project, but we did. Using the hammered ends of the cans as "dots" and the knives for "dashes" we wrote out "We wish you a Merry Christmas" along the metal supports of the framework. The sides are composed of crushed aluminum cans, the bottles arranged in a tree pattern, the manger or nativity scene provided a story within the story. The star inside the manger was made from spatulas and serving pieces, painted gold. The halos were made from old metal fan covers. Before I left the farm I saw my first drawing in my pocket sketch book, a tiny, visual thought of a tree, emerge from an idea into a reality. When people of all cultures and countries work together the potential is limitless.