I recently heard the sad news that one of the artisans, with whom I have been working with for over 20 years, had passed away. Elumalai was a master of his craft. He specialized in carving with a grey marble stone that was softer than typical colored marbles. This allowed him to give all his statues intricate details that are often missing from marble statues.
“Looking into the eyes of one of his Parvati murtis is like peering into the eyes of the actual Goddess. She was alive in the statue and looking back into your soul.”
The facial expressions in his carvings had a softness and inner beauty in them that was unique to his sculptures. Looking into the eyes of one of his Parvati murtis is like peering into the eyes of the actual Goddess. She was alive in the statue and looking back into your soul.
Over the years I have unfortunately gotten news of artists passing and it shakes me to my core. It is truly sad to lose someone who has been a part of my yearly trips to India, someone I have spent so much time with discussing their statues. It is doubly sad to know that they will no longer carve statues for the world to see. When a master passes, himself and the promise of his future masterpieces passes with him.
The loss is more apparent when one realizes that there are few new novices to take his place. India is modernizing and there are many other possibilities for earning a living than there were previously, thus there are much fewer younger apprentices learning from the older masters. This is true all over Asia and it worries me for the future of this art form for generations to come.
From the day I came up with the idea to start Lotus Sculpture it was always my goal to keep the industry of statue making alive and thriving in Asia. Every statue bought puts life back into the family who made each statue and gives incentive for future artisans to carry on with the tradition of statue making. Just know that by buying from Lotus Sculpture you are doing your part to keep the industry alive. For this I thank you on behalf of all of our artisans and from Elumalai, whom you supported all these years.
I often get asked about bases or stands for our Buddha and Hindu statues. You may be looking to add an extra few inches or so to the height of your statue to make it ideal for your home or space.
One of our customers, Michael, recently built a beautiful custom statue base for his Thai Brass Buddha Statue. I wanted to share his process with all of you, so here it is!
It’s an asymmetrically shaped base, so an outline diagram was made first to figure out the positioning of the segments. The base was built out of 1″x7″ red oak boards.
A single coat of ebony stain was then applied (to tone down the red), and the base was finished off with two coats of satin polyurethane (didn’t want it to be too glossy).
Two lengths of different boards were needed to do the job, and one was a bit lighter (much less red). The boards were alternated throughout, which gave an effect that’s not entirely objectionable.
The side grain of the wood was then matched in a mirror pattern which resulted in an interesting “narrow lotus petal” effect.
By design, the base is hollow inside to save on wood, weight and expenses. Numerous clamps and glue were involved in attaching first the doubled segments, then the growing sections, until it was all attached.
The final product is stunning and perfectly complements the statue itself. I sincerely hope that this brief DIY helps you to get started building your very own custom statue base.
Every time I visit my friend, Jew, I come away with more respect and admiration for him and what he does. He and I share a passion for the statues he creates, he with a firm love of making Buddha statues and I with a firm love for sharing them with the world.
Jew is a 40-year-old producer of Buddha sculptures in the small village of Nakom Pathom, Thailand, about an hour and a half north of Bangkok. Having known him for 12 years now I always knew that he took over the business from his father who started it 40 years ago. What I learned on this trip was that Jew had taken over a struggling business at the young age of 20. I was always under the assumption that his father had a thriving business that he took over and made better, but this was not the case at all. Jew’s father had only one artist working for him while Jew has created a prosperous business employing all the families in his surrounding village of almost 40 people. Click here to view his Buddha artists handcrafting Buddha statues. Every day he spends hours going over each of the statues to make sure they are being executed correctly. He is very concerned with the well being of his workers. He pays them well and wants them to succeed.
I first fell in love with his work because he had the best patinas on his sculptures that initially made me mistake them for antiques. He had beautiful antique patinas that no other producer was able to create. This is still the case today. He recently developed two new patinas of a stunning antique green and a deep red mixed with gold leaf. I went out to dinner with him last night and in his broken English he summed up his worldview…
“When I die, I cannot take money with me. Money paper…I make Buddha, I pray Buddha so I can be born next time.”
When I asked him about his customers he told me the majority of his business, besides Lotus Sculpture, comes from temples within Thailand. I asked him if he sold to the antique dealers of the Riverside mall in Bangkok who are known to sell fake antique Buddha statues. He leaned over to me and said, “No, I do not lie.”
This is who he is, he is the salt of the earth with a good heart. I love his family; his crotchety old mom who yells at me every time I see her in Thai I do not fully understand, his beautiful wife and 3 children. And most of all I love him!
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