Shona Lyon, Sculptor

A passion for sacred geometry and its magic is behind the stunning, powerful and sometimes shocking pieces created by new sculptor Shona Lyon, exhibiting for the first time this month.

Lyon’s work features bronze nudes created using the principles of sacred geometry and the classical French sculpture technique introduced to her by Martine Vaugel, an internationally acclaimed sculptor and winner of two awards in the Rodin Grand Prize Monumental Figure Competition.

Lyon was privately trained by Vaugel in France in 2008 following an earlier visit to Chartres Cathedral. According to legend, since 876 the cathedral's site has housed a tunic said to have belonged to the Blessed Virgin Mary so for centuries Chartres has been an important Marian pilgrimage centre and destination. It was here 46 year old Lyon was introduced to sacred geometry and developed a deep love for Mary.

“I continue to be in awe and inspired by the many faces of Mother Mary,” says Lyon. “Her enormous capacity for compassion, acceptance, serenity, love, wisdom and finally, surrender. Mary embraces us all and although she may have many different faces for millions of people she is our archetypal mother. I know she continues to bring hope, comfort and love to all of us who seek her.”


While Lyon doesn’t consider herself a religious person she is spiritual and says that spirituality is reflected in her creativity.

“To create something I must first become nothing,” she says. “My art is seeded in my soul, held in my heart and then birthed through my hands.”

As well as the bronzes, Lyon is exhibiting several clay composite pieces which require a very different process as no armature can be used to provide any rigidity to the pieces. While the same detail cannot be achieved for figures, larger busts and torsos look, weigh and feel like marble or stone and make wonderful indoor entrance pieces.

Lyon, the daughter of former Watties managing director Cliff Lyon, has one son, Nicholas. Following her visit to Chartres she decided to sell her import / export business and take an art sabbatical.

She now sculpts full time in her studio at home and focuses on sculptures that aim to capture the “fullness” of a moment of life.

The exhibition features 16 pieces including A New Earth inspired by Eckhart Tolle and his book A New Earth.

“This sculpture signifies that it is time for another birth. The mother is ageing and her ability to birth a New Earth is coming to an end, just like our planet,” says Lyon. “The dangerous stage of labour has begun.”

The Burmese Monk was created by Lyon when the monks in Burma took to the streets and were beaten and killed during their peaceful protest calling for the release of their democratically elected leader Aung San Sui Kyi.

“I continue to be deeply moved by the courage and spirit of these people in the most horrendous conditions,” says Lyon. “People’s inner strength to withstand is far more powerful to our world soul than the strength of any army.”

The bloodied rag around the monk’s mouth signifies the military banning of communication with the outside world while in his face you still see a resolute inner strength and peace.

“The outer world and our responses to it are a reflection of our inner world. The journey inward takes a lifetime and the closed eyes signify the importance of that inner journey. “

In the future Lyon wants to study and sculpt planetary archetypes along with Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. While these gods and goddesses are Lyon’s inspiration for most of her bronzes she adds a modern bent.

“Myths tell us the stories of the past. Archetypes act as mirrors in which we can see a reflection of various parts of ourselves, both the light and the shadow. They depersonalise roles and situations in order that we can personalise them.”

Lyon’s exhibition - very much a hands on experience because Lyon is adamant sculpture should be touched to be fully understood - is being held at her studio in her Mt Eden home on June 9. Following this private exhibition, Lyon's work can be viewed by appointment.

Richard Clague