How it Began

The Axis Mundi Project began as a gift in 2008. Heidi Sparkes Guber gifted Jean MacFarland Altshuler the commission to create a piece that would represent their long-term friendship. The two women, born in 1948, have known each other since 1975, and have shared many layers of their rich lives together as single and married women. Together and apart, both have been compelled by wholeness, spiritual wisdom and truth through ancient knowledge, myth and metaphor, symbol and ceremony.

In the summer of 2008, Heidi visited Santa Fe. She and Jean spoke to the many connections in their relationship that were especially meaningful. They considered the defining images or points of power in their personal growth, symbols and myths that prove to be strong anchors to Truth for each of them. In October, Jean went on a retreat to begin the process of crafting a form for these ideas.

Early on, Jean felt that if such an art form were to represent their relationship, it should be two separate pieces that would interconnect, but also could stand alone. By the end of the retreat, the basis of a sculptural form had been built, with the second piece being a bowl.

The basis of the design would be two trees intertwining out of a ball of roots. The two trunks would form a double helix. Jean found the two arms/trunks began to form her favorite symbol, the Vesica Piscis, which swung out horizontally, then swept into two wing-shaped arms to hold the bowl.