Update – South India

On my buying trip to India in February I made it a point to visit the people who we donated rice to during the covid lockdown. I wanted to meet them, hear their stories, and see first hand if we touched their lives in any way.

I was uncharacteristically nervous on the drive there.


Please click here to follow my journey throughout Asia on our Instagram page. I recently traveled through North and South India and Nepal.


My first stop was the young woman who was pregnant during COVID last year and did not have a place to live. Here she is with her husband and daughter, now 9 months old. Her daughter is a beautiful, happy and healthy young girl. As we were leaving she told me “thank you” in English and I could see in her eyes that she truly meant it. The “thank you” touched me deeply.


Next, we visited the family with two blind sons. Only one was there at the time. The mother was a wonderful woman who was all smiles and chatting to me in Tamil. She showed me her house and how they all slept on the floor together in one cinderblock room with a corrugated roof and a fan. She told me that when she got the rice, she immediately started a fire to start cooking it because they literally had no food to eat. She was so thankful for what we had done for her family.


We visited a village that could not have been any more marginalized by society. They lived on the outskirts of town with no water or electricity. No government aid gets to them and they are purely subsistence living. On the drive getting there I was amazed at how my friend, Balan was even able to find these people. When I was there Balan told me how some of the villagers were amazed that the rice was whole grain rice. They were used to only eating cracked rice, basically, they could only afford the low-quality rice that had some defects to it.

It was an incredibly rewarding and difficult day for me. It was rewarding to connect with the actual people we donated rice to, look into their eyes and feel how appreciative they were of our help. It was difficult because you can see how large the issues are with poverty in India and the world. As much as I would love to solve the issue, it is not something that one person can come in to correct. It would take a massive effort to change society.


Balan and I were brainstorming over things we can do in the future and hope to bring another donation opportunity to everyone again soon.

Thank you again to everyone who donated to help make this happen.

~Kyle Tortora, Founder, Lotus Sculpture


Click to watch the video of my experiences visiting the people we donated rice to during the covid lockdown.

Nepal – The Birthplace of Buddha

I met the same sadhus who I met with my mother 16 years ago when I first visited Nepal at Pashupatinath Temple

It has been 16 years since I first visited Nepal. Lotus Sculpture has never imported any statues from Nepal so this past week was like a buying trip 20 years ago, exploring Kathmandu valley and searching for new artisans with exceptional statues.
Happily, we found them!


Please click here to follow my journey throughout Asia on our Instagram page. I recently traveled through North and South India and Nepal.


Here is Mr. Shakya holding a gold-plated statue of Indra in a loving embrace with Shakti. I loved this man! he had a youthful charm to him that was infectious.

The moment that I laid my eyes on this stunning Nataraj statue I knew I would have to bring Him home with me. I have never before seen a dancing Shiva in this style. It is a perfect statue in casting, form, and painting.


From the moment I met Siddartha I knew I had met a lifelong friend. He has a calm grace and inner peace that emanates from him. And he has some amazing statues like this amazing Vajrasatva (coming to Lotus Sculpture soon)!


Going from shop to shop finding some hidden treasures like this copper double dorje brings out the inner Indiana Jones in me.

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Batsa is a young 29-year-old artist shown creating a wax mold of Vajrayogini. He uses yak bone to shape it. The saliva keeps them from sticking together which differs from how stipathis (wax modelers) of South India create their wax molds. He spends all day drawing and creating wax molds. I loved him. He is a dedicated, true artist!

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I knew I was going to find amazing statues, but when I saw some amazing prayer wheels I had to learn where and how they are made. The mantra “Om Mani Padme Om” is pounded into copper sheets and then made into a prayer wheel and filled with prayers. I know you will be as excited about them as I am!


Mahesh is a Master craftsman! All of his statues are made at another level of artistry. I can not wait to show them to you!

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We are going to have a big selection of masterpieces coming from Nepal! As big a selection as Indra’s arms are wide.

Vajrasatva is jeweled with rubies, red coral, and emeralds. Stunning carving!



“Being in Nepal was like experiencing my first buying trip as a young man 22 years ago. With every step I took on the streets of Kathmandu, I was in search of something new for Lotus Sculpture, a new artisan or a new art form. Every day was exhilarating!”

~Kyle Tortora, Founder, Lotus Sculpture


One sees colorful Prayer flags fluttering everywhere

Refreshing the temple outdoor deities with a coat of paint.

Here are the ghats or steps where bodies are cremated at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was a very heavy difficult day for me. There were children begging, old sadhus laying on the ground in awful health conditions that aren’t appropriate to share, and then seeing bodies burning on funeral pyres really affected me. The Buddha said that “all life is suffering.” It was easy to understand why he uttered those words so long ago. It was also very easy to see the impermanence of all life in those moments as both life and death were on display in front of me.


A beautiful Manjushree statue sits with a sword raised beneath a blue sky filled with prayer flags. 
What a sight!

Greetings From India!

Balan and I in front of the Meditating Shiva on the Ganga in Rishikesh

On my first night in Delhi, I was not able to sleep. I lay in bed thinking “Why am I 8,000 miles away from home, away from my wife and 2 daughters. Why am I doing this?”

I quickly remembered all of the reasons I am here, and I would like to share my experiences with you.


Please click here to follow my journey throughout Asia on our Instagram page. I will be traveling in North and South India, Nepal, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I will be sending videos daily of my travels.


Brass Artisans of Aligarh

I have never before visited where our brass statues are made in Aligarh. The experience was eye-opening and amazing! The saying, “it takes a village” truly applies to making one statue. Each statue passes through 6 separate stages with a different person responsible for each stage. It was fantastic to finally meet the artists who have been making these beautiful statues for Lotus Sculpture!

Young apprentices in Aligarh practicing their carving skills on smaller brass statues.

Watching the artists cast these pieces was incredible. Packing each mold in sand leaving an exact duplicate of the statue inside the mold, then pouring molten brass into the cavity. It truly made me appreciate how much work goes into each piece.


Jaipur!

Text block about Jaipur.

Sanjay applies gold leaf to a statue that his brother carved. Sanjay has been painting statues for 35 years.

“The freedom and sense of discovery I feel while walking the streets of India is like no other ”

~Kyle Tortora, Founder, Lotus Sculpture


Rishikesh!

My friend, Raj, standing on one of the 84 mediation caves of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. It was made famous by the Beatles and one of our clients, Mike Love of the Beach Boys who learned transcendental meditation under the guru. It was amazing to walk around the abandoned ashram and go back in time to envision what life was like there in the 60s and 70s.

I found a new Mala supplier! Stunning seven chakra malas made from precious and semi-precious stones.

Meenakshi stringing a Mala

Dharma Mountain and Forest Meditation Temple

I remember the first time Tai came into our warehouse.  I was instantly drawn to him and his bright youthful smile. He was dressed in his mustard-colored monk’s robes with a brown shawl. He radiated bliss and happiness. He walked around the warehouse like he had been there a thousand times before, laughing as my dog, Oso, came up to greet him with a sniff, and taking pictures with my employee, Mark.  He was looking for a Buddha statue for the main shrine of his new Temple in Valley Center, Dharma Mountain and Forest Meditation Temple  (Thiền Viện Pháp Thuận). He was the happiest person I had ever met.  
Since that first meeting, Tai has become a regular here at Lotus Sculpture.  Over the years we have made several deliveries of temple sculptures to Dharma Mountain including a large 7 foot meditating Buddha sculpture that is nestled under a tree in their large open front yard. More recently, we delivered a large incense urn to be placed in front of the Buddha. It has been a pleasure visiting Tai over the years and watching the temple grow.  

I have a deep sense of peace and contentment whenever I am in the open spaces of the temple with Tai. Oso is always welcome to join me. He runs freely on the grounds and has even jumped into the temple pond for a quick swim. 

I always comment on the lifelong relationships I have developed with my artisans.  The relationships that have blossomed between my customers and I have been just as valuable and have brought Tai’s blissful disposition into my life. For that, I am forever grateful. 

~Kyle Tortora, Founder, Lotus Sculpture


Buddha Head Fountain Comes to Niagra!

Our huge 50″ Buddha Head Fountain is one of our best-selling items. This fountain weighs a whopping 650lbs (head+basin). That said, the Buddha Fountain installation process takes time, careful preparation, patience, and in this case, a good friend.

Buddha made the long journey from Oceanside, California to the beautiful community of Niagra-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada.

When it came time for the Buddha Fountain installation, our customer, Greg, called his local fountain retailer who informed him that the Buddha was too heavy and too wide for them to move it. He then contacted a landscaping company that would not have been available to come out for another two weeks… That’s when Greg and his *neighbor of the year* Paul decided to install the Buddha themselves with just a couple of dollies, a crowbar, and a hammer.


Enjoy their journey…

>>>Click here to view our 50″ Buddha Head Fountain<<<

The Buddha Fountain Arrives!

Along comes Greg’s neighbor Paul to check in on the progress. Little does he know he is about to save the day.

Buddha Head in the crate
The basin
Installing the basin
“How did I get myself in this situation…. Who is going to lift this thing and put it in the Basin?”
The crowbar came in handy
Amazing what a couple of 2 x 4’s can do!
Piece of cake!

Moved and assembled in less than an hour!
Cost: 2 bottles of Mineral Water!

>>>Click here to view our 50″ Buddha Head Fountain<<<

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