Leah Wingfield & Steve Clements
Leah Wingfield & Steve Clements are married collaborators who have been creating glass & mixed-media figurative sculptures for over 30 years. Their one-of-a-kind sculptures are made from cast glass combined with steel and wood. Their work is exhibited Internationally as well as in the United States. Figurative sculptures that consider the nature of relationships are what they are best known for. Each work is sculpted in wax and then cast in glass using a lost wax method. Wood and metal are used to further the narrative and provide a beautiful base to showcase the glass. A variety of glasses are used and sometimes challenge the conventional expectation for the material. Its qualities are chosen to enhance the figures and to create a more compelling story. The collaboration enriches the sculptures with the input of our combined strengths, visions, and skills. Our process starts with a conversation, progresses to drawings, continues to technical problem solving and finally making. This process can take several months to complete and realize a finished sculpture. Photography & shipping to an exhibition are the final steps for sharing the story we are sharing with the viewers.
The inspiration for these sculptures may not be as obvious as it might seem. There was a day in the summer of 2021 when I was working in our field. Going back and forth mowing the field with a very painful foot, I began to get frustrated with feelings of being trapped and unable to move freely. It was during COVID so travel was not possible. More importantly, we were caring for my 94-year-old mother daily and so I was tethered to her. As I’m thinking about that, I look over and there is my dog, Blue, following each step and I think “I can’t even walk in a straight line because Blue is always next to me blocking my path!” Completely frustrated I began to think about the fact that these were all tethers of love - caring for the property we love (even with a painful foot), caring for my Mom, the dog-obsessed by love for me, and caring for each other by avoiding COVID. We started exploring ideas to express these tethers of love and eventually, after many experiments, we landed in the most simple and focused moment we share with dogs. These sculptures are meant to capture those moments that are completely focused on love and all else falls away. We do this so naturally and without hesitation when we embrace our dogs. The focus is so deep that our hearts are free from burdens and there is only love. After we had put Mom to rest and began to repossess our life, we finally exhaled the extreme stresses of the last 3 years. Starting to work again and thinking about the tethers of love, we found that we are able to exhale when we simply embrace and lean into our dog. They just receive us. We start to breathe again. These sculptures are meant to focus our attention on the emotions of that moment. Because no matter how worried, serious, compassionate, politically concerned, pained, responsible and utterly overwhelmed we are by knowing every damn thing going on in the world...we will find relief with our dear beasts who don’t care about any of that stuff. And because my dog Blue does that for me...I forgive him for standing on my feet.