The genesis of Life’s Echo was a portrait of her father. In Ellie’s words:
After 67 years of marriage, my mother missed my father terribly. They had enjoyed a wonderful, rich life together, but he had died a few years earlier and left her alone with her memories.
I decided to sculpt a portrait of him from a photo at his 50th birthday, and presented her with the wrapped gift. Before revealing the contents of the package – and not knowing how she would react – I told her I wanted her to have it but would not be offended if she did not want to keep it.
She removed the wrapping to uncover his face and spontaneously burst into tears. She placed her forehead to his and gently ran his cheek along hers for a long caress. It felt like I was intruding on an intimate moment between my parents.
“Do you like it?” I asked.
A small, tearful “yes.”
“Do you want to keep it?” I asked.
A quiet nod.
“Hang him where I can see him.”
Before long she asked me to sculpt one of her. I chose a picture from her mid-forties and the portrait hangs beside his on the dining room wall where she sees them at every meal.
The artistic echo of my parents’ life together meant so much to my mom. I knew it would be meaningful to other families.