Sculpting a Life

I just completed a three-day workshop at the Mountain Artists Guild with artist Mary Schulte exploring papier mache and concrete sculpture. Sculpture isn’t something I’d done before; I’d never been attracted or even curious. But I met Mary and saw her exquisite papier mache giraffes in June at the “Arte Natura” artists’ reception at the Prescott Center for the Arts Gallery where my own artwork was also exhibited. And something pulled at me; I was intrigued.

Papier Mache Horse

My first attempt at papier mache: a whimsical horse with twigs for legs and straw for mane and tail.

Close-up of horse

Her gentle soul emerged.

That “something” had been running under my skin for a while urging me to move out of the status quo. I long ago learned that when I get a solid internal signal I follow it—even though all the “whys” are unclear. And if the usual excuses of “not enough” time…money…you name it…jump up especially strong then I acknowledge the excuse but set it aside; I’m then certain I’m on the right track. I just follow my initial intuition because…I also learned something else many years ago. The part of me that seeks to maintain the comfort zone gets quite vocal when familiarity is threatened.

In her introduction Mary talked about the types of sculpting. You can carve away like you would with marble or wood. Or you can hand build, adding layer by layer, as in the case of the media we would use. Over the next three days we students—none of us having done anything like it before—engaged in a joint journey of discovery with Mary as our skilled guide.

We students agreed on several things:

  • Undertaking the exploration was exhilarating and fun;
  • There’s focused attention to learning;
  • One medium was easier than the other;
  • Just because one took more learning didn’t mean we’d rule it out;
  • Having a guide who knows the territory saves a ton of angst and wasted time;
  • Even though we did similar things, we each had our own unique signature;
  • By deciding to undertake even this small journey it instilled options and a further sense of freedom.
Concrete Raven

This bird was as feisty as the concrete medium. He became more raven-like as he emerged, grew claws and perched on a wooden branch.

Ultimately, you can look at everything you do for cues as to your own growth. The important thing is to be active. Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. Otherwise, you relegate yourself to a ho-hum life.

By virtue of its definition, personal growth requires you to carve away what no longer fits or serves you; and to add what does and build upon it.

For me, I learned that my other art capabilities are transferable to an area I hadn’t even considered. And those three days were well spent. Aside from learning a new skill I could add into my body of resources, it did something even more important. It served to open a doorway and leverage evolution—giving a clear announcement to myself that I’m on the move. Permission granted.


If you’d like to know more about Mary Schulte’s artwork or when she’ll offer workshops, contact her at I recommend it!

Categories: Arts, Creativity Strategies, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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