This is one of the most visited ancient Native American ruins in the Americas- Mesa Verde National Park. A restored ceremonial kiva can be entered by the public. As an artist, I appreciated the opportunity to have it to myself for even a few minutes - I could feel the presence of those who lived here almost 800 years ago. They cared for the land & each other using their resources wisely for centuries. This sculpture was inspired by Ancient Ones - the Ones Who Came before- The Anasazi...
I then began combining photographs and sketches, adjusting perspectives to create a unique "cliff dweller's view" from across the canyon. The artist sketches were utilized to create a pattern which were then transferred to the surface of my "blank wood canvas".
The "canvas" was a massive piece of rare Honduran mahogany that involved laminating three 2" x 48" x 20" planks together and planing the edges. I chose Mahogany because the tight grain allowed me to get fine detail that may not have been possible with a softer wood, and the hardness of the wood allowed me to shave realistic rock effects into the surface.
I began sculpting with just a mallet and chisel removing as little as 1/16" to 1/8" at a time from the surface carefully planning each cut so that the buildings and walls emerged in correct order. One miscalculation such as taking the wood back too far in the wrong place would have ruined the entire sculpture. I therefore studied each level change thoroughly before taking mallet to wood.
After three physical months of careful meticulous carving I was finished! There is no place in the world quite like Mesa Verde and it was only fitting that I create a unique tribute to a special culture that thrived centuries before the Renaissance began in Europe!
I first visited Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde National Park beginning in 1994. I studied the dwelling in the Spring and Fall to get the visual information necessary to create a wood carving that reflected the angle of the sun at different times of the year.Over the course of three years, I photographed it every 50 feet from left to right.
After more than twelve years living with the challenges of Parkinson' Disease , I was determined to regain control of my creative life and jumped into the largest carving I've done in over twenty years! I started out by "getting my feet wet" with two smaller carvings one of which was "ANTELOPE HOUSE, CANYON DE CHELLY " . I was so encouraged by how that sculpture turned out , I took the plunge and after more than a month of carving , I finished " My Canyon Dream". And then I thought, WHY NOT... Let.s see what My Canyon Dream would look like in hand made paper... I'm so pleased at the concept that I'm releasing a VERY LIMITED EDITION OF 50 hand cast Paper sculptures ( # 1 / 50 has already been collected !)
This unique sculpture was born out of a dream I had of being inside a wood carving I did in 1994 of Spruce Tree House, an ancient Native American cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park. During the course of the three months I spent carving the sculpture, I had a recurring dream that I was inside the carving itself! Talk about being "into my work" !... a few moths ago I was contemplating what I could do with a large slab of Honduran mahogany I had been saving for the "right inspiration". Wouldn't you know it- I had another dream -this time of being in Monument Valley, Utah, studying the Kayenta Anasazi- ancient neighbors of the Mesa Verde Anasazi- the Native Americans living in the Mesa Verde Plateau of Southwestern Colorado. Looking up at the dramatic spires I couldn't help but be humbled and , as an artist, inspired by the awesome beauty and timeless vistas of this magic land!
13" x 36" x 3" Original Hand-carved Mahogany Sculpture