Sleek shaped feather form (like body– armour of perfection) of Hawk in contrast to soft limp lifeless package of mouse prey. (Photo from ‘Inspired by’ 1,2)

The enticing challenge of essence of forms contrasting in carved stone.

A memory of a Hawk rescued from a forest fire as a chick with burnt feet given to me to raise when I was a child. Having to provide fresh dead prey and soaking up the feel of the lifeless victim to feed the vibrantly alive adult bird getting ready for release. Finally that wrenching moment when as a parent you let go what you raised and feel the loss in your success. Creating Art has for me been about processing intense feelings in life. To be able to redress the balance by working that energy through you into a form and letting it go so you are free to receive new thoughts and fresh feelings. I have engaged in my art all my life so that I can physically understand the process in myself that needs expressing.

Born 1960 London. My mothers house stood on the edge of Hampstead Heath were my first ramblings in nature were with my father. We moved my mother and I (aged five) to Edinburgh New Town then out on to a farm on the Lanark Moors around my seventh birthday. Getting stifly out of the car and stretching after a long drive over the moors to the beautifully desolate empty farm that was to be our home, the farmer handing my mother the keys saying I looked like an animal released from a cage and so it was the beginning of a life long love affair with truly wild places and the sense of freedom to be.

Nomadic Eskimo carvings, prehistoric Cave Art, Egyptian and Chinese Tomb Animals have inspired Belinda Isabel Rushjansen since her Art College days in Edinburgh when she was 19. (3)

Attaining then her degrees n 1983, having married and had her first child while a student she exhibited and won prizes in sculpture in the Royal Scottish Academy and was invited to and became a member of ,the Scottish Women Artists Society

Working in Cornish Soapstone, Scottish Sandstone and English Alabaster her carvings are exploring essence of animal and human spirit in primal, symbolic and heart felt ways. Her need to create her sense of self through her work has always been with her since a small child. With her mothers assorted dog pack she explored wild places or spent her days at home on farms, crofts and cottages of her childhood collecting found objects like feathers  from her mothers many half wild exotic poultry. With these she made collages using wall paper paste found from many home moves and rolls of lining paper to make friezes upon.

Moving homes often and with an eclectic family of animals to ever more remote wild places living with her eccentric hard working ,psychiatrist mother. Early morning ferry s and rough tracks had to be negotiated by her mother to get to her hospital work leaving her child with the animals learning to be self sufficient in ways of making and mending caring and tending and being inspired to create with whatever was to hand.

Loss of a much loved Father by the age of six and following in the wake of a constantly moving and upset powerful mother, encouraged a need for spiritual self sufficiency was found by wandering extensively in wild lone places and the company and teachings of many animals to relate with.

Formal education was sporadic but embraced with interest when old enough and more settled on The Black Isle to go to school on her Irish pony Shamrock. This unusual Childhood enhanced a sense of isolation and need for connection in self contained ways through appreciation for natures beautiful and inspiring messages. A need to experience this beauty through creation gave solace and constancy to a life that felt unpredictable. These unusual patterns set in childhood established an equally creative and sustaining life later raising three children in the heart of the community of Chettle Village Dorset.

In 2003 she moved away when Inheriting a small thatched cottage between the Wiltshire plains and ridgeways by Avebury. These past and present experiences of place and history formed and informs the essence of her work drawn consciously together now in the current title of THE SEVEN SELVES OF FEMALE.

This carving came about in response to an invitation from The Gerber Gallery in Glasgow to take part with The Compass Gallery in a traveling Exhibition titled Memories. In Aid of Alzheimer research.

My thoughts on this are that we know our conscious selves and our world through our memories but there is also the world of essence within. Essence which we can access through unconscious memories and feelings. By contemplating and creating.

We respond or react to our lives according to our feelings.

Feelings are induced by what we ‘choose’ to remember.

Our memories are as cats whiskers there to guide us as we go. We make our lives based on memories made between hope and fear, to which we react or respond, hence making us how we are. Or think we are!

My Seven Selves Alabaster carving is of this concept. Carved symbolic creature with the seven stages of female as I experienced it.
1 Baby with Butterfly (transformation)
2 Girl with Mouse (scrutiny)
3 Teen girl with Heron (self obsession)
4 Young Mum (Deer, gentleness)
5 Child Raising Years, Frog (Cleansing) tears of sorrow and of joy
6 Post Family (Bear introspection)
7 Who am I-beyond role of daughter, wife, mother, (Spider Weaving) creating beauty with purpose

I am inspired by this idea to share the journey I  experienced and the tangible rewards. To give a sense of oneness in self and as part of humankind.

The form in a sculpted shape coming from the great morphic cauldron of possibility as all creation does. For myself it is how we connect through our Arts to our senses. Our sense of Self. Looking for our better selves. Our centred Being.

Current carved work continues the concepts of symbolic women and animals together and separately and is seen as a meditative connection to meaning and purpose and joy in life and acceptance of process in death.

Wire Crows, Rooks and Ravens were created from strong old farm wire and thatch wire netting which already has an inherent character and history from time and weather. This ‘wild’ material enhances the portrayal of these vigorous intelligent Corvid creatures that endure and inhabits the landscapes that for me symbolise a sense of timeless-ness and freedom of spirit.

Crow is the symbol of my work.

Rook has great humour and humanity in its collective rookery ways.

Raven is the great Mystery of life and death.

Freedom of spirit is also within the idea of my Twig and Branch Stags. Inspired by cave drawings. Cave art shows us the timeless nature of our human prehistoric existence that once recognised that our life is essentially interwoven with animals and wildness as depicted and honoured in the life and line that is the essence of cave drawing.

I work with Native stone quarried from the lands that I love also wires pulled from collapsed fences in hedgerows shaped by nature and its elemental ways.

The materials I sculpt with have the hand of nature in their source and in their character. The bud of Ash twigs being natures mimic of deer Hooves; the twisted branches like lines of drawn shapes of stag throwing shadows that give other ways of seeing.

Bronzes are very limited editions. Recent casting at Pangolin Foundry and each stage carefully considered. The Bronze Casts and patinations are also mindful of natural integrity and process.

Staines Mare by Heathrow stands outside number one London Road near Heathrow Airport is as a Bronze neolithic standing stone with the power and gentleness of the mare emerging. It is a commissioned sculpture and a memory of the ancient lost heathland and native ponies that were once here. A memorial to all our native land and wildlife that is now sealed beneath the City.