Artist carves out Christmas joy

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

At Kim Edwards home, many of her favorite seasonal decorations are fashioned from porcelain clay and of her own creation.

On the sideboard is displayed a fluffy snowy landscape, twinkling with tiny white lights, which nestles polar bears and star-topped trees and an occasional snowman.

And nearby on the walnut hutch are other small sculptures, many the first prototypes of her figural experiments. A bride and groom, two young girlfriends standing back to back and angels of varying heights and personalities. There is a grouping of seven angels with six of the angels on their best heavenly behavior, holding their halos reverently, but at the end of the line, the littlest angel is showing out –– tossing his halo like a tambourine!

“I am on an incredible journey which began when Phyllis Thomas Gibson became my mentor,” Kim says.

Kim, who is married to Gibson’s son, Tom Edwards, took an interest in the hand-building techniques that have become Gibson’s signature style over the years.

Her illustrative depictions of the Nativity scene are small tableaux, some 6 by 8 inches, featuring timeless narrative elements from the Gospels of Mathew and Luke.

Traditionally, the Nativity, a major subject of Christian art since the 4th century, has been depicted sculpturally in ivory miniatures, carved stone sarcophagi, architectural features such as capitals and door lintels, and free standing sculptures.

“Clay speaks its own voice,” Kim acknowledges “and even after you get the feel of the clay-whether it’s too wet or too dry-sometimes you still don’t know what is going to be the final result.”

As she listens and works the clay, Kim seeks to let her own individuality and style come forth and has incorporated variations into the Nativity scenes such as one where the Little Drummer Boy pays a visit to the Baby Jesus.

Another of her interpretations shows even the trees in the background bending toward one another in an embracing and loving presence celebrating the Christ child. “Using only white draws the viewers attention and makes them pause and look more closely at the textures and details and expressions,” explains Kim.

During the holiday season Kim also produces several ornament designs-crosses, trees, wreaths, stars and Santas –– which are available at Artists Inc. and White Flower Gallery in Homewood.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at