Bronze Sculptures

A family can have many pets over the years, but every once in awhile (if one is very lucky) comes a rare bond with a special animal—and it’s unlike any relationship with any other pet. It’s almost a soulmate thing. And when that animal passes, it leaves a hole that no one else can quite fill.

 Ideally, with time, that empty spot gradually becomes imbued with a golden glow from memories of having known that special animal, if only for a brief while. But the alchemical process of turning deep loss into softly burnished gold—well, it takes as long as it will take. There is no rushing it.

Siobhan and her husband Neil are very lucky. They had the privilege of sharing their lives with one such animal, a wise and beautiful flat coat retriever named Drogo. From the first day they met him as a 9-week-old pup, the bond was deep and immediate. There was no mistaking just how special he was.

Drogo as a puppy
Adult Drogo

At the top of their lovely garden perches a Kyokusen swing seat, and that garden bench quickly became Drogo’s favourite spot from which to survey his domain. Other benches are dotted around the property, but this one was indisputably his. Countless happy hours were spent sharing that bench with him, quietly enjoying the garden together.

After Drogo passed in June of 2017, Siobhan and Neil couldn’t bring themselves to sit in that swing seat. And so the Kyokusen has remained empty, offering glorious views of lush pond, riotous floral displays and gently rolling landscape…to no one.

 A few months ago, Love Made This was commissioned to create a bronze memorial portrait plaque of Drogo, with the intention of fitting it to the Kyokusen swing seat. Although we’ve created other bronze portraits, this was an unusual project for us, because it was the first time we’ve been asked to add a portrait sculpture to an already existing garden bench.

 We’ve collaborated with Sitting Spiritually many times over the years, to create bespoke artworks carved in wood, such as the two images below which were part of a wildlife series a customer requested,  which were always custom fitted into the seat back during the bench construction process. (For structural reasons, wood carvings are quite thick, and must be inset deeply into the seat back for comfort and durability.)

Carved Eagle in Oak
Carved Moose in Oak

Bronze, however, is much sturdier than wood. We did a little testing and found that a bronze sculpture panel could be quite slender, yet still perfectly strong. And so we were able to create the portrait of Drogo, which was then easily affixed to the existing bench, without any modification to the seat back.

 When we all stood back to admire our handiwork, we gasped in unison. The effect was magical—as if the bench had always been designed precisely for this purpose: Drogo’s melting gaze pointed straight at the heart, his graceful neck curving gently in line with the inscription below. Heaven in Devon, indeed.

Bronze Drogo
Close up of Bronze Drogo

Is it crazy to feel like a swing seat can emanate love? Maybe. But others seem to feel it too. As one observer later commented, “Whenever you sit on that bench, you’ll have an angel on your shoulder.”

Summer is here. Now that amazing garden is in full bloom. Who knows, maybe now, in this new season of fresh beginnings, Drogo’s swing seat might be sat in once again. And maybe, imperceptibly, the soft alchemy that patiently weaves loss into burnished golden memories, can begin, it seems to have done so already, with Drogo's successor Malachi deciding the swing seat is now his favourite spot too....see video below

To  discuss your own bronze scultpure for your commission, do talk to us and we'll all help make it into something very special, visit our carvings page for more examples of oak & bronze carvings

 With very many thanks to Steve Wood & Carrie Triffet of Love Made This

Posted by Siobhan on July 20th 2018

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