This week I’ve been helping my friend, sculptor Reed Armstrong, make a mold for a just-under-life-sized statue of the Good Shepherd. If all goes according to plan, the final statue will end up placed atop a church in a little town in Germany.
Mold making is messy and labor-intensive and actually destroys the original statue. While we were covering the statue with coats of rubber, burlap, and later plaster, I had a sudden realization of just how seasonally appropriate the work was.
In our house we do try to cover many of our images for the Lenten Season, but here I was taking this practice a step further and actually “entombing” an image of Christ, covering the figure in a “shroud” of burlap strips and then encasing it in the plaster, which is not unlike stone. (I can’t think of a corollary for the rubber).
To spin the metaphor out just a little further, after Easter we will break open the tomb and, after further laborious steps, the earthy clay statue will be replaced by a beautiful bronze version that will last forever.