JoelleShefts

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Christmas Angel     Read More...
For many years I enjoyed making paper maché Christmas ornaments. Ultimately, I needed an angel for the top of the tree. I thought, "If a Homo Sapien can be an angel, then why not an Austropithicus or Neanderthal angel?" That ran the risk of being funny.  I didn't really want funny, but I do like primates, thus I came up with the idea that my lovely Homo Sapien angel might have a monkey child. (She's an angel so earthly genetics are not an issue.)

As I got into the piece, I realized it was becoming something rather more personal to me than a tree ornament. It had become an expression of the ideas I'd been reading about in Psychoanalytic Attachment Theory, particularly in the work of  D.W. Winnicott. This writing, in a nutshell, deals with the overwhelming importance of strong attachment to a caretaker in the first years of life. (This would seem obvious and yet Freud, believeing that an infant came into the world as a sort of drive-seeking missile, had ignored the relational aspect of the very early years.)

In this sculpture,  mother and child are flying, probably miles above the earth, but the child is utterly sure of his mother's strong embrace. He's so sure, in fact, that he can afford to be interested in something beside her. He need not cling. For her part, the mother turns her head to see what interests him and takes delight in it, yet the direction of her outreached right hand indicates that her course remains steady. It is the reliability of their connection and the steadiness that permits her child the freedom of interest and play.