On September 23 and 24 something unexpected and quite inexplicable took place.
Natalie took Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Yogi Jayanatha to the foundry to work with the team in applying the patina to Natalie's bronze Siva. This is the surface color and texture created with heat and chemistry. Under high heat, various chemicals like sulphur and cupric bond permanently to the molecules in the metal.
We performed a simple arati to bless this final and oh-so-important stage. We decided on a dark patina with subtle blue inclusions, meant to make the metal look like stone instead of steel.
It went well for couple of hours, but then the chemist working on the piece became overly enthused and began adding more and more cupric, more and more blue.
The day ended and we left.
Both Natalie and Sadasivanathaswami kept revisiting the color that had been achieved, and both were concerned it was excessively blue.
After consulting, they decided to cancel a mountain trek and return to the foundry and ask the team to redo the statue. It would require them to sandblast off the blue patina, and reapply a new one more link what we had all agreed on.
Reaching the foundry, they were greeted by Paul who said,"You must come and see what happened overnight!"
He took us back to the Sadasiva, and to our astonishment, the metal was no longer bright blue. It had changed overnight, despite the fact that it had been heavily lacquered and also given two layers of clear wax to keep out the humidity.
Paul was amazed. In his ten years of patina work he had never seen anything like this. Not only had the color changed, but it changed to exactly match what was originally asked for. Paul had never seen this happen, and called it a miracle (see his several short videos trying to explain the inexplicable!)
For Natalie, it seemed as if Siva Himself had taken charge of the patina. She hired a photographer, Robin, to capture the final murti, then set in motion the crating and shipping to Kauai.
Thank you, Jim and Natalie, for an amazing gift to the monastery, full of art and spiritual meanings to last 1,000 years. We believe this may be the first traditional Sadasiva murti every made in the West.
Natalie Reflects on the Murti
"A big challenge for me in sculpting Hindu deities in clay was to conform to a template for creating a traditionally proportioned murti which followed a precise representation of divine proportion and sacred geometry, rather than follow my own free spirited intuitive approach. Deeper understanding required increased study of Hinduism and Indian art, as expressed in the cultural gods and goddesses.
"I had to be creative within the context yet honor the traditional form rich with symbolism, inherent in this kind of imagery. And more than that, I needed to breathe life into the sculpture so that Sadasiva's essence could be felt by all.
"Surrender to the Divine" was my mantra for 2 years not only was it an incredible focus of my love and devotion, but the spiritual gifts received from being of service to Siva and the divine dimension of Love, enriched my life in innumerable ways. These are gifts of melting our ego.
"I am grateful for this experience and honored to be of service to the divine through my art."
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