This is a reposting of a blog page from my website dated July 11, 2012. I thought it was important enough to add to my new blog site. I am also adding some photos of the project to date and hope to have more soon. The books are made from polymer clay and are approximately 2″ long.
Earlier in the year my 91 year-old dad asked me if he could commission a sculpture to donate to Noble Horizons, the local retirement center in my home-town where my mother spent some time recuperating from various illnesses before she died. He would like to donate the sculpture in her memory. I was really touched to be asked and have been working on a wonderful sculpture that I think she would have loved. It involves books…lots of them. Mom was an avid reader. There were always several library books around the house, I even remember our library number. She particularly liked books by authors like Edith Wharton but she wasn’t above reading the latest schlocky detective novel. Both mom and dad read the NY Times from cover to cover every day and were well-versed in current events. Their house has an entire hallway lined with bookshelves and I can picture the books that were in her bedside table when I was little (S.J. Perelman shows in my mind clearly)
Humor was evident by writers like Thurber and Ogden Nash and if you needed any information for a book report, the full Encyclopedia Britannica was a great place to start. Her desk was surrounded with books on castles, dragons, medieval fashion and countless books on patterns and motifs that showed up in her needlepoint tapestries.
The meanest illness that she contracted in her life was macular degeneration. I think in a way this was worse than her stroke and her various other illnesses because this disease took away her ability to escape from her life. An artist as well as a reader, she survived life by “disappearing” into other worlds, other stories and her thoughts about them. She was able, for a while, to enjoy the reading for the blind books and having my dad read to her, but then her hearing got bad and she was unable to really take in what was being read. This was a very sad time for all of us.
So my sculpture is about and for my mom, Virginia Burgwin Vincent…who taught me to read.
For another post about my mother, click here.