‘Origami Migration’ by Martha Pettigrewby Martha Pettigrew
sponsored by Morris Press
photography courtesy of Diana Dake

It all starts with an idea. My ideas could stem from something I’ve read about, seen in my travels or experienced myself. Maybe it’s a figure seated or standing, in motion or at rest. It matters little because the idea is simply a small seed from which the sculpture grows.

I often do a thumbnail sketch as a starting point or maybe to remind myself later of a particular mood or pose. Sketches also help me form my composition. As I work with the clay I will begin to see things evolve which suggest changes in the composition for increased expression. This is where the art “happens.” the piece will almost speak to me telling me what changes are needed to express a particular mood, a particular feeling. Subject matter becomes secondary at this point. The form, usually simple, carries the feeling and involves the viewer with the mood of the sculpture and thus becomes the vehicle for communication.

If my subject happens to be Native American as often it is, it won’t be a recognizable historical figure. This has all been done (and in many cases overdone). Therefore I choose to do ordinary people, usually women, the culture bearers of any society. I find the everyday tasks these people do to be an endless source of inspiration.

Often my subject will be southwestern people whose way of life seems to have remained more in touch with their heritage. One can still observe many of their traditions and ways of times past. Their history is reflected in their faces. I try to portray the feelings one senses in the faces, whether an elder or youngster. Perhaps this is my greatest strength as a sculptor.

The solid simplicity of my forms stems from study of the works of Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, and the Greek sculptors of the Archaic period.

If I have achieved my goal as a sculptor the viewer will feel an emotional attachment and sense the pride, dignity and serenity of my subjects. The sculpture will become a source of inspiration in their lives.

About Martha:

* Date of Birth: 1950, Lincoln Nebraska
* Education: BFA Univ. Of Nebraska 1972
* Recipient of the Thomas B. Coleman Memorial Award in Print Making.
* Employment: Scientific Illustrator University of Nebraska State Museum, Collections and Research Division
* 1974-1980 Bred, trained and raced Thoroughbred horses, 1980-1991.
* Owner/partner, Pettigrew Fur Co. 1980-1991.
* Professional Sculptor since 1991.
* Married: 1978 to Delmar Pettigrew
* Agent/Mgr.: Husband Delmar.

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