A Lotus flower for my father's grave

The symbolism of the lotus flower

For my father's grave I made a design with wavy water and a large lotus flower. The waves represent turbulent life and the lotus flower is a well-known symbol for the spiritually grown person who is firmly rooted in earthly life, but the worries of everyday life are beading from him or her, like water drops roll off a lotus leaf. The flower is directed towards the light, just as the soul strives for unity with the Divine.

Greenstone

I had ordered a few large pieces of stone. In trade it generally called dolomite however, but the actual name is Anröchter Grünstein. It's quarried in the German village of Anröchte, about 60 km from Dortmund in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is actually an ideal stone for sculpting in a few ways: it's not all that hard, all surface treatments come into their own beautifully, from roughly worked to polished, and you can carve in it in great detail. It also turns beautifully light green outside over time.

Much too fat

At first I thought to make the waves quite deep and so I had ordered a slab of stone of 100 x 200 x 20 cm. I had already carved some of the waves but it all got very restless. So I just decided to cut the thickness back to 12 cms, so that I could carve the waves much more subtle and it would radiate much more tranquility. I then sanded these waves and not polished them too much, so that they retained a soft surface that will later oxidize nicely to light green.

Contours

Then came the lotus itself. I had found a nice image on the internet. I traced it onto the 16 cm thick standing stone and first removed the contours of it up to 8 cm thickness for the background.

Shaping the petals

Then I could start carving the remaining shape. I shaped the petals with a tooth chisel to make an effect of the veins in the petals. One of the most frequently asked questions I received was whether water will remain standing in it. That would be a beginner's mistake, of course. After so many years in restoration work, carving ornaments in all kinds of stone, that is something I really don't have to think about anymore. Although the leaves are hollowed out, the water from each petal flows neatly downwards.

Outsourced

I outsourced the installation and lettering to a befriended stonemason. Harder Natuursteen BV from Hoogkarspel who have very conscientiously taken care of this part. If I wouldn't have been up to my neck in assignments and deadlines, and if I hadn't been hopelessly out of routine in letter carving, I might have carved the text myself. But now it has been sandblasted and colored very subtly, and I'm glad it looks so nice. I'd rather have it neatly sandblasted than end up with not-quite-up-to-standard hand carved letters.

I also didn't have the equipment to install such a big stone in a cemetery myself. It can of course all be arranged, but these people do this several times a week and have a trailer with a hoist, a flat cart, a movable gantry crane and all the expertise, in short, everything you need to do this smoothly and professionally. I myself could have rented everything and probably would have taken four times as long and had a lot more headaches. You can't always do everything best yourself. I am very grateful that they have completed all this so professionally for us.

Can it be an ounce more?

When ordering the stone, I had taken into account the information provided by the cemetery. A family tomb is 100 x 200 cm and may be up to 100 cms tall. But it has now become apparent that these sizes are considerably larger than the other graves, especially because the neighboring grave has also subsided considerably. That is why this grave stands out so much now. Most graves are 80 wide and 50 high. But anyhow, it has become an attractive ensemble, I think.

Gallery

-click on a picture for an enlarged version-

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

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2 responses to “A Lotus flower for my father's grave

  1. R.C. Döderlein de Win wrote:

    Hey Koen,
    What a beautiful stylish monument to your tough strong father, who was not only an artist but also a very spiritual man.
    When I saw the photos, my thoughts immediately went back to the beautiful requiem mass before the funeral, where your whole family sang beautifully and made music.
    I am proud to have known your father, just like I'm proud to know you !
    God bless,
    Rómulo Döderlein de Win

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