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    Artist Melissa Gondek with her hug sculpture

    Teach only love, for that's what you are

    Every moment, we can choose to give love and beauty to the world. We can offer comfort and compassion. Give a stranger a smile. Offer a friend an arm. Hug a spouse, a child, a sister. Say “I love you.”

    But despite our intentions, we fall into other stories. Work stress, traffic, that driver who cut you off. Misunderstandings and curt words. World conflict, disasters, illness, loss.

    So we surround ourselves with objects that bring us back to our intentions. Artwork, gifts, or a pine cone from the yard – we imbue our surroundings with our hopes and invest them with our purpose. When we see these reminders, we come back to what we value most.

    I choose to create sculpture to remind us of our beautiful moments. Like a kiss that changed your life. Holding a pet who rescued you. Resting inside a hug when your heart is breaking. Or taking a silent breath that centers your soul.

    I choose to create sculpture that invites us to be beautiful. Every time you look at my artwork, or touch it, or carry it from room to room, you’re reminding yourself of the bonds that bring you joy. You’re centered. You’re connected. You remember your intentions for giving love and beauty to the world.

    And remembering, you see your own beauty reflected back at you.

    I choose to create sculpture to remind you that the world is more beautiful because of you. Keep being the beauty.

    You may know me as Melissa,

    who started sculpting clay animals and mud pies in a sultry backyard full of hickory nuts, June bugs, and unicorns (my unicorn was named Petunia). Or maybe as an English major with sensible hair, who forgot about unicorns to hunt big-city corporate dreams that didn’t look a lot like dreams when I caught them.

    Or perhaps you just know me as a mildly eccentric sculptor who finally decided to find and embrace splendid things. I remembered unicorns, and how to add a little more beauty to the world. I returned to the elation (and gut-churning anxiety) of casting my art into public. And then delighting in the uncontained smile of recipients, the smile that radiates joy like a hug full of puppies.

    I sculpt to inspire that smile.

    Handmade cast-stone sculpture in progress

    My sculpture portrays connections

    that make our lives shine, whether it's within couples, between friends, or with our furry companions. I find brilliance in the little gestures – the tilt of a head or the position of a hand – that whisper unmistakably of love. My greatest delight comes when collectors laugh in recognition and wonder, “That’s just like us! And we’re beautiful.

    If we’ve met, you know I revel in touching my surroundings to sense texture. I’ve been known to shop for sweaters with my hands, hunting blindly for the perfect nubbiness, weight, and drape. This fondness has resulted in some very ugly sweaters in my life, but they make me quite pleasant to hug.

    Artist Melissa Gondek in her art studio

    In my artwork,

    HydroStone's satin surface and solid weight satisfy my urge for a deliciously touchable sculpture. Light plays across its velvety surface, and your hands cradle its delectable weight (don't just take my word for it - see what others say).

    I also relish the smooth suppleness of polymer clay and the gritty pleasure of ceramics. Creating artwork to be held also quiets my inner child, who complains that too much art comes with “Don’t Touch!” warnings.

    Artist completing a handmade cast-stone sculpture

    I’m humbled to say

    that my sculpture now lives in more than 13 countries across 4 continents. Wherever you live, I want my artwork to bring you comfort, connection, and reminders that you - and the world you're building - are beautiful and full of love.

    Also, to bring you smiles.

    (Want to know more? Take a peek at my Frequently Asked Questions or Contact Me.)

    Sculptor Melissa Gondek getting dirty in her art studio

    Would you like sneak peeks and exclusives?

    Join my email friends to learn about new, limited-release sculpture before I share it with the world.

    Five Fun Facts About Me

    I enjoy trying to foxtrot and railing against historically inaccurate fiction, although rarely at the same time

    I married my junior-high sweetheart, but only after making him wait 29 years (worth the wait)

    I get entirely too sentimental about weddings, TV shows about lost pets, and the wild bunnies living in my backyard

    I'm sometimes driven to fits of hiking, but am more often found contemplating the middle distance with a glass of something shaken or stirred

    I can make a perfect pound cake, sing an aria mostly in key, and calculate the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, but I can never fold a fitted sheet

    Sculptor Melissa Gondek not in her art studio

    What collectors are saying

    Not my usual blog post.

    I created this short story (allegory?) while grieving. Writing it and sketching the images helped my feelings sort themselves rather than my letting them overwhelm me. I share it now in hopes of giving a little light to someone else who's huddled at the bottom at the well. You're not alone.

    Please share with someone else who may need some comfort, if you like.

    This week saw us enjoying a pleasant book about hiking, some cake made for picnics, and a cocktail we scribbled "perfect beach drink" next to in the margins.

    I don't often give peeks inside my sculpture studio, mostly because I forget to have the camera handy when I'm doing something interesting with my artwork. But I remembered to grab some photos when I was creating my abstract Solitude thinking figure

    We can't wander the aisles of the bookstore or the library anymore, and online book lists feel kind of overwhelming. I find myself wasting my reading time in perusing lists or "you may also like" to decide... what to read. 

    I was chatting with my friend Emily from The Favor Stylist about just this conundrum. She reeled off several superb ways to narrow down all the choices and spend more time, you know, reading. I was inspired to throw in a couple of ideas of my own, too.