This is the process the artist and his wife use to make the pieces: He carves the original of each image in clay, using dental tools. Before making each piece he reads extensively about the saint, but once he begins carving he doesn't look at any other depictions. As to the statues, when the original carving seems to be finished, he makes a latex mold. Once the mold has cured, he begins to cast the pieces himself. He uses cast stone (gypsum with some metal powders and other materials), painstakingly working a slurry of the substance into each mold by hand in order to get all the details. Once the piece sets, he demolds it, trims it, and hands it over to his wife, who paints and glazes each piece by hand. All the statues can go outside. The process for the medals is roughly the same, though they are cast in lead-free pewter. Nicely gift packaged.
The story of
Catherine of Alexandria (ca 4th century) has a long and rich history.
The essentials are that at 18 she had a vision so powerful that she
converted to Christianity. During the persecution of Maximus, Catherine,
still a young woman, offered to debate the leading pagan philosophers.
The story holds that Catherine s ability to teach and explain was so
compelling that she converted many of the opposing philosophers.
Enraged, Maximus tried to have Catherine broken on the wheel; it was,
however, the wheel, not Catherine, that broke, though she was later
martyred by other means. Catherine became one of the most popular saints
in the Middle Ages. (Later, Joan of Arc claimed that one of the voices
of inspiration she heard was that of Catherine.) Catherine s skill in
explaining new ideas to a diverse audience is what made her one of the
patrons of teachers and all those (like librarians) associated with
learning and wisdom. This small depiction of Catherine,
incorporates two key symbols associated with Catherine. As in William
Morris s famous stained glass window of Catherine, she is here depicted
with a book in hand. The wheel above her head echoes that in
Caravaggio s painting of her. Catherine is now widely considered to be
legendary, but that matters little: what matters is her example and
inspiration to those who teach and those who emphasize the importance of
Dimensions: 4.25 (h) x 2.5 (w) x .75