Ascension

by Erica Lyn Schmidt

I’ve long been fascinated by the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which lovingly mends broken pottery with golden seams. The history of a damaged piece is celebrated and makes it more beautiful than it was originally.

Here I’ve brought this concept within the realm of self-perception. Many of us view our own imperfections with judgement, while regarding the faults of our loved ones with more love and patience. If we turn this gaze upon ourselves we can see that the emotional scars we carry are not weak or ugly, but a mark of our resilience.

In this interpretation of Kintsugi, emotional trauma has been mended with golden threads and patches. The phases of the moon represent the shifting stages of life that test and strengthen us. The rabbit was inspired by two of my favorite stories since childhood: Watership Down and the Velveteen Rabbit. Their themes of resourcefulness, tenacity and transformation have guided me from an early age on my own journey of self-acceptance.

* * * * *

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

Medium: Acrylics over Polymer Clay
Panel Width: 6 inches
Panel Height: 8 inches
Rabbit Length: 8 inches
Depth: 2.5 inches

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I am a painter and sculptor who specializes in traditional mixed media. My artistic journey began in the field of scientific illustration, but it gradually made its way into the realm of imaginative realism (my true love at last). I love exploring the charm and whimsy of animals and characters who delight in their own little worlds, and aim to bring that joy to those who experience my work.

I share my love of art and birds as the Creative Director of the BirdWhisperer Project online art community, and my work can also be found in scientific museums, children’s books, and private collections.

In addition to creating fine art, I collaborate on many forms of illustration work with my husband Anthony J. Schmidt. We call Wisconsin our home, which we share with our mini-artist daughter Penny.