Especially created for a celebration of the Winter Solstice at the Ängsbacka community in Sweden the Sun Child carving was commissioned by Rowan Jacqueline of Tattered Butterfly Arts.
Rowan’s work with the seasonal cycles of Life is profoundly beautiful and honouring such an important point in time as this called for careful contemplation of its meaning and significance, especially the symbolic power of transition between the old and the new.
In bringing the Sun Child into life I was led to a piece of burr oak from the ancient forests of northern England – in its rich warm grain and swirling burr patterns the oak spoke of these qualities and themes with exquisite beauty and natural balance.
As I dreamt on the nature of the Sun Child and how the carving would become a communal focus for the gathering it became clear that this was the perfect piece – large enough to carry both symbolic and actual weight and detail, small enough to be cradled in our hands and convey a feeling of life, I spent many hours in contemplation of the land, the tree and the life force that had given it substance and vitality and waited for its inner form to appear, a process very much in keeping with the nature of the Solstice time.
Once the form became clear the carving began. It required patient work as the burr grain has a life of its own, but, within this, the simple swaddled form of a new-born with the hint of an ancient face materialised with natural grace.
To complete the Sun Child and bring in the light of the returning Sun a disk of pure gold-leaf was carefully applied in the Sun Child’s lap, burnished and sealed to bring out its deeper tones – the golden tears on the Sun Child’s cheek are a touch that was specifically requested by Rowan in keeping with her vision for the carving and its symbolism.
I was delighted to find that, although the form of the carving had been largely entrusted to me to find, on presenting the Sun Child to Rowan she exclaimed that it was beautiful and matched her vision perfectly.
The community came together with great warmth and promise for the coming year, thanks to Rowan, the Sun Child and the good people of Ängsbacka – and, not forgetting, the returning Sun.
The following short film made at Ängsbacka captures some of the magic, deep feeling and meaning that the Sun Child carries…..
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