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Guardian of Jewels

Theresa Felice


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Guardian of Jewels

Guardian of Jewels, a gentle and ferocious protector, a hardened beast that compassionately cares for the childhood self it always carries. The portrait is of my childhood dog who passed away recently. The sculpted creature is her guardian, and also the guardian of the symbol of my childhood. It is a reflection of myself and my attempt to protect my child self.

6"H × 8"W × 5"D
Raku-fired ceramic and acrylic paint
Keep in a climate-controlled, dry space.


With the adorable beasts I create, I explore feelings of love, attachment, and identity. My work grows out of traditions of sculpture, embellishment, and veneration, and has been shaped by animal symbolism in mythological and fairytale literature. I create contemporary “reliquaries” that protect and attempt to preserve what is precious to me, depicting animals nestled in adornment that guard “relics” embedded in their bodies, whether it be imagery of innocence or a physical object. They act as protective guardians and reflections of myself. I am specifically drawn to the historical visual language of veneration that is seen in religious, Catholic art and architecture. The baroque, gilded, and exquisite aesthetically designate the sacred, and the feelings that are felt towards it. I enjoy using adorning patterns because they embody my interest in the ornate, culturally specific to my Sicilian heritage and found throughout the Mediterranean. I am interested in the way reflective surfaces and metallic embellishments operate as surfaces because they have changing qualities that play with light and create a physical embodiment of “magic” as it glistens. Animal characters inspire an intrinsic empathy and nostalgia for audiences. With these characters, I create a place where I can materialize my feelings and package them into whimsical creatures that help bear the burden of my anxieties and guard my attachments, while also seeing myself reflected in their expressive faces.

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