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A Birthstone

2012 August 21
by Sebastian

Through my personal and professional work as a stone carver I have spent quite a lot of time working on and ruminating over the concepts of memory, memorialization, loss, death and remembrance. If these subjects seem dour to you– I agree. In anticipation of the birth of our first child I have, of course, been thinking more about the beginning of life rather than its end. Believe me, it’s less depressing. This thinking led me to question why we spent so much time and money making memorials about the cessation of life, rather than it’s beginning. Why not make memorials and artwork to our excitement about a life just beginning, as opposed to a life just ending?

The Little Lamb (larger images on the Sculpture page) is the result of my excitement about the birth of our first child and my absolute inability to think about anything else in my studio. The subject is taken from the very first and only stuffed animal that we bought during those early days of pregnancy. A time when we were equal parts excited about what we hoped was coming and trepidatious about whether or not things would all stay put and develop as expected. At this time, when we, of course, did not yet know the gender of our future child, I found myself unable to truly conceptualize our child as a human. Many parents find it more comforting to picture their “it” as a more visually and psychologically pleasing little object or animal. Via this act of reverse-anthropomorphism, these little fetuses garner nicknames(which often carry into infancy) such as Little: Moose, Lion, Sweet Pea, Bean, Peanut, Gummie Bear, Dragon– or in our case– Lamb.

Though I do find the concept and act of memorializing and paying homage to those whom we have lost an important and solemn duty, I can surely say that it is far more uplifting to carve a Birth-stone rather than a Tomb-stone.