My sculptures are expressions of spirit/souls residing within the containers I build for them.

The containers reference human and animal forms or objects used in ceremonial practices. I build them with materials salvaged from nature and industry, encasing them in soil hardened with glue. I always embellish the surfaces of the sculptures: sanding, oiling, painting, marking. I want them to appear not as assemblages of individual parts, but as unified bodies in time and place.

Sometimes I plan the shape of the sculpture in advance, but I also work intuitively. I constantly pay attention to the spirit/soul that enters the piece as it is being built and make constructive changes to enhance that presence. Throughout the process, I refer to books on mythologies, symbols and rituals, learning how such an object was used in the past.

My experiences working as a nurse have had a profound influence of my art. In the early 1970's I volunteered as a public health nurse in the altiplano of Peru. During those two years I witnessed many sacred ceremonies, as well as learned about the symbols incorporated into weavings and pottery. It was there I started making art.

During the following forty years, I took care of newborns and their mothers, helped in the rehabilitation of patients suffering spinal cord and head injuries, and cared for the dying in hospice. Repeatedly I saw the spirit/soul revealed, flicker, glow and then depart. I no longer practice nursing but these memories permeate my being and my art.

Sharon Gilmore