This past winter it was my pleasure to revisit “Three Stages of Woman”, a sculpture among the earliest of my public creations. A commission by Drs. Howard Sandin and Edward Vernier, the piece coincided with the birth of my son Eric in 1982. The good doctors commissioned the piece for their office at the Memorial Medical Center in Ashland, Wisconsin. It was an honor to design the piece as a tribute to the good doctors many years of service to women’s health. Even more of an honor was revisiting the sculpture well over thirty years later.
Inspired by my first childbearing adventure, “Three Stages of Woman” featured a younger standing female image and a kneeling grandmother figure that holds an infant, representing new life, between the two adult figures. This innovative sculpture featured stained glass inserts as part of the steel figurative components. I had designed a hand formed copper channel to hold the brightly colored floral and geometric glass designs firmly in the sculpture bodies. I placed a colorful stained glass butterfly over the up reaching child’s hand to represent new life.
The original sculpture had a wooden base designed for display inside Drs. Sandin & Vernier’s office. When the hospital expanded and the doctors moved their office and the sculpture was set outside the new clinic entrance to greet the visitors. Exposed to the elements, over time the wooden base deteriorated. Because the base was no longer functional, the sculpture was stored away from public view for many years.
What a pleasant surprise when the sculpture components resurfaced in my studio again. Last fall the good doctors set an appointment and brought the steel figures to my Dragonfly Studio for refurbishing. I welcomed the opportunity to redesign permanent metal bases for the adult figure images and to renovate and clean the original sculpture. The cleaning involved removing crayon marks that were drawn on the metal surface by creative younger visitors to the doctor’s office. Another part of the repair included fabrication of a new baby’s bottom for the child figure. The baby was mounted in a copper pot that served as a planter. Having sat in moist soil for many years, the baby’s bottom had completely rusted through. Consequently the repair included fabrication of a new baby’s bottom for the child figure. Upon completing the renovation, I applied a wire-welded signature to each adult figure base.
I look forward to seeing the rejuvenated sculpture on display again. With much gratitude, I thank Drs. Sandin and Vernier for nurturing the “Three Stages of Woman”.