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.
As a child, St. Rita (1377-1457) wanted to be a nun. Her parents,
however, forced her into an unhappy marriage when she was twelve. She
bore twin sons while living with an abusive husband. The husband was
killed in a vendetta, and both her sons died before they could get
revenge. Following that, Rita became an Augustinian nun. This statue
employees three symbols associated with Rita. In one story, the superior
of Rita s convent tells her to take a dead stick, plant it, and tend it.
Every day for years, Rita waters and tends the dead stick until one day
it begins to grow into a grape vine. To this day, the grapes from that
vineyard are used to make a wine that is served to the pope, and leaves
from the vines are used for healing. It is this story that, in part,
made Rita the patron of those who pursue difficult goals. A second story
tells that when Rita was born, a swarm of bees appeared, some flying in
and out of her mouth, none hurting her. The bees and their honey are
symbols of purity and sanctity. A third story holds that as Rita was
dying in the middle of winter, she asked an attendant to get her a rose.
The attendant knew the request was absurd, but went off into the garden,
and there grew a single rose, which she gave to Rita on her deathbed.
Dimensions: 8.5 (h) x 3 (w) x 2 (d) inches