K. M. Ehrenfeldt

Voices of Nature

Ascender detail

Ascender Image



36-1/2" x 20" x 5-1/2 "

Madrone, gold leaf, acrylics, antlers, onyx, moonstone, brass clock spring.

Ascender is available through the artist.

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Statement for Ascender

Inspired by prehistoric petroglyphs, The Ascender takes form as a cryptic being: part human, part symbol, part other. A madrone stick, split in half, separated, with dowels inserted between as rungs, forms the ladder-shaped body of this being. Standing as though temporarily frozen from a normally fluid state, the ladder reveals its structure of intertwined snakes.

Two golden snakes rise up the heartwood in an eternal spiral of uniqueness. And, where the snakeheads meet, the Sipa Barda’s eyes softly gaze outward. In Buddhist philosophy these are the last eyes one sees before transcending entirely beyond the physical state and all its known orientations.

A serious piece that speaks to spiritual ascension itself, The Ascender has a humor about it, a comical relief as if to say that there is humor in the awkwardness of change, joy in the overall journey, and a reason to take things lightly.

Pronghorn Antelope antlers at each side reach outward as arms to touch the polarities of existence, dimensions further expressed through what they wield. Essences associated with moonstone and onyx, trapped light and reflected light, clarity and obscurity, understanding and ignorance, help to balance the light and dark of the world.

Above soft ears that are tuned to the heavens, hovers the spirit’s original home, an ovum shaped universe housing a spiral galaxy within. And in the center of The Ascender’s body, the clock spring of time beats a measure of existence.

With only glimpses of awareness, we live our lives – pulled by a hidden momentum, divine in origin, keeping us true to our natural course, we experience life. The Ascender was to be a quickly rendered piece, for artistic fun. Choices are presented, paint the hard-edged dowels and heartwood to look like snake bodies, or carve them – 40 hours or 200 hours? Life presents choices, and this artist chose what the piece needed over what I desired.

The long journey began, interrupted with the profound irony that a piece about spiritual ascension required an experience of death along the way. In the midst of the very heart of this piece, the spiral unwound or tightened in my mother’s life. She entered frailty and death, I entered elder care, heartbreak, and transformation to my position at the leading edge of time.  When time and energy to resume a studio life returned, Ascender came into fruition, the journey of this piece complete.