To learn more about Heidi Wastweet's Freedom Girl design I contacted the artist directly. Isn't the Internet cool that way? Below are excerpts from our email exchange.
We have a mutual friend in Roger Burdette. He first introduced me to your work, and I’ve been very impressed. I came across a web page today with an image of the Freedom Girl silver round, and I immediately thought – “This looks like a Heidi Wastweet medal!”.
According to the web page, I was right. I was wondering if you could tell me more about the piece and how you came to work on it. Could you also confirm that the plaquette pictured on the page is your work as well?
Heidi Wastweet writes:
Thank you for your kind comments! I'm impressed that you recognized Freedom Girl as my design before seeing my name.
My first sculpt for the Silver Bullet Silver Shield group was the Debt & Death and the common reverse shield. Then I did the Slave Queen. Those were designed by Chris Duane and Micheal Berman with some final detail input from myself. Freedom Girl was the brainchild of Chris Duane. He asked me to design a modern coin inspired by the Peace Dollar Liberty Head, but instead of liberty he wanted to represent freedom, symbolized by flowing hair.
I've done a few other modern Liberty Heads including my satirical "Abbreviated Liberty" art medal:
So, this was just the kind of thing I love to do. I chose a forward gesture combined with the wildly flowing hair for a sense of movement. A Trivium tattoo and simple hoop earring add to the modern feel. Her facial features also represent a more contemporary idealized beauty compared to the classic American Liberty Head.
While I'm humbled to have it compared to the Peace Dollar, I've been floored at the overwhelming positive response to the Freedom Girl. It is an instant phenomenon.
The other plaque pictured is my Pandora Defiant.
Thank you for your response. I get flashes of recognition every once in a while. Once my wife turned on the radio and it was a new song by Celine Dion that neither of us had heard before. A third of the way through it, I blurted out, “that had to be written by Jim Steinman!” I’m no audiophile, but I was familiar with his work for Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler, and the style was unmistakable.
When I saw Freedom Girl I immediately thought of the medals I’d seen on your web site – smoothly sculpted three-dimensional figures with flowing curves and a life of their own, far more defined than the nearly two-dimensional designs so often seen today. More the product of a Laura Fraser working in clay than a 21st century mouse jockey. If you use a computer it’s hard to tell.
You are correct to speculate that I am working in clay not with a mouse. I use the computer plenty, but when it comes to sculpting I'm pretty old school. I work in oil clay and plaster. I'm often asked if I think the new 3D digital sculpting programs will make hand sculpting obsolete. I believe that it is just another valuable tool for the artists, not a replacement for hand sculpting.
To read the complete article, see:
HEIDI WASTWEET'S FREEDOM GIRL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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