Every year Muskoka Arts & Crafts challenges it's members with an exciting theme for a show in February. This year the challenge was to make a piece in the style of an artist who inspires you. I chose stone sculptress Camille Claudel who was also Rodin's assistant, lover and muse. Her own sculptures were stunning, unfortunately she destroyed much of her work in her tragic rage against Rodin who never left his wife Rose - in fact the last 30 years of Camille's life were spent in a mental institution and she never sculpted again. I was inspired by her style of smaller pieces "Sketches after life" (1895-1905) in particular "The Wave" and "The Chatterers".
My piece is called "The Ice Cave" and let me tell you about the process: First I cut out the cave using a hacksaw and chisels and mallet. I used the rifflers to shape the sculpture (Quebec Soapstone) and make the small person (Brazilian Soapstone). Once I had the desired shapes I wet sanded with a series of different grits of wet sandpaper from rough to polished. I mounted the pieces on a slate base with pins drilled in to attach the people and the cave. After that I oiled it and etched in any last details. The show "Reflecting the Surface" opens at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge on February 5th and till the 19th. I feel the people represent different facets of Camille Claudel - the stone carving goddess, being Rodin's lover and the tragic muse praying for relief from her madness while institutionalized. Of course "The Ice Cave" can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who is contemplating it. I was inspired to write a song called "The Ice Cave - A Song for Camille Claudel" on YouTube if you would like to listen to it.