The inspiration for my metal designs flows from my love of the southwest and the prehistoric images I have encountered while exploring ancient canyon corridors.
Finding treasures in piles of junk is true for me, especially regarding discarded rusty metal that has been tossed aside seemingly forgotten as no longer useful. Resurrecting ‘trash’ to new life also speaks to my soul. I have collected pieces twisted by floods, thrown on the roadside or left abandoned in an arroyo. This scrap becomes sculpture with unique beauty and new stories to tell.
Worn shapes and surfaces of the ‘rescued’ pieces of scrap metal lend themselves to telling tales of times past. My designs are primitive in nature as I leave ‘drips’ of metal on cut edges, or rough surfaces of rust or past distress as a feature. I feel the ‘story’ of the metal speaks best when part of its past life are left intact.
I use a mixture of metals and other elements to design pieces that emerge from my soul and in my studio I am surrounded by black mesas and red cliffs, where the echoes of ancient rhythms continue to provide me with limitless inspiration.
~ Connie B Burkhart
~ Who is 'She Who Walks With Me' ~
Design by Connie B Burkhart
She Who Walks With Me is a guardian figure representing those seen and unseen ‘guides’ that surround us as we journey through life. Our guardians are present, whether dancing in our souls, walking beside us in our exploration of life, or lovingly watching over us from heaven. Every figure is unique, created by inspiration moving through that river that feeds the soul. ‘She Who Walks With Me’ comes with a trail marker at her feet as a reminder to know you are not alone on your journey. Angels, friends, family and those who have passed on are surrounding you in a circle that transcends time and space.
~ The Full Story of ‘She Who Walks With Me’ ~
by Connie B Burkhart
Ever since I can remember, I had a guardian angel.
I always knew to stop and ask or listen to the direction and feeling that protected me from known and unknown outcomes. I had known this ‘voice’ forever, and I also knew that if I heeded the intuitions given to me by this guardian that my life would be better and I could actually avoid harm. This presence was with me one night in a very real way when I was in college camping alone near the edge of a canyon in the Escalante area in southern Utah.
It was about 2am and I was tucked in snugly on this cold spring night when I was awakened with the intense desire to move camp. The prodding did not stop and I gave up sleep to pack up, move across the highway to a secluded spot where sleep returned easily until morning. Upon leaving my new location to drive on to my destination, I entered the highway to see flashing lights, a barricade and a detour around the exact spot where I had moved from the night before. Unexpectedly, the edge of the rim rock had given way and was sent cascading to the deep canyon floor below. I would have been sent along with the rocks and trees down the cliff face and I shuddered to think that I had been at that spot only hours before. I thanked heaven for the prompting and voice that woke me and warned me to move.
That is the most vibrant cause and effect moment of my guardian inspiration and one I think of often when I am prompted to go a certain direction or do a certain thing. I have learned not to ask why or question that inspiration; I just respond and go on as my guardian leads me in a firm, but loving way.
Several years ago I named this guardian angel presence that had been with me all my Life. Her name was revealed to me one fall night while walking in silence through a canyon at Bandelier in Northern New Mexico. I had been camping for almost a week in the beauty of the ponderosa pines near the ruins of the ancient ones who built their homes in the canyon cliffs and farmed on the mesa tops near where I slept. The rhythms of imagined drums sang to me as the wind blew in the trees and thunder rolled in the distance. My dreams carried peace and contentment like I had rarely known. I felt protected, though I was alone.
Quite unlike my idea of 'fun things to do', I decided to go on a ranger lead night walk in Frijoles canyon. I usually fled from group led events in this land this I loved so much. When I arrived for the event I learned that the evening walk would be done in complete silence, except for an occasional reading by our ranger guide and we were not to use flashlights or take any photos. Our eyes would need to adjust to the darkness and our senses had to tune to what our space 'felt' like.
We entered the canyon after a short reading with ancient words and what we saw caught our breath. Staged in the cliff ruins high above the canyon floor where several rooms lit by small fires. As we walked, you could see figures in the shadows, moving from cliff to ledge. Soon the drums started and low, muffled voices drifted from the cliff houses, resting on our ears. I walked in another time, another space. I could feel someone next to me as I moved, but I held the space between us in respect to the moment. I stopped to take in the scene playing out ahead of me and felt a surge of emotion as I thought of the people that had gone ahead of me in this life and on the trail as well.
Suddenly I realized the group was not around me anymore and for one moment I felt unsure of where to go. Then I felt someone near me, and in relief I turned to direction of the approaching soul, but no one was there - no one. I reached out to what I 'felt' beside me, and there was not anything tangible except this odd urging to walk on in the dark and be led. So I took a step in the darkness and then I took another step until I rounded a bend and found the group sitting listening to the ranger recite another reading.
My heart calmed and I knew 'She' was there - my angel, my guardian, my guide. Walking along that trail that followed a gentle river, I listened to the dance of the water echoing off the cliffs and I understood how 'she' had been beside me all my life and I gave her a name, 'She Who Walks With Me'.
That night at Bandelier helped me understand that this angel presence was from God. I have felt and known ‘She Who Walks With Me’ in my soul, but have recently realized that ‘she’ has appeared in my life not only as angels from above, but also in the form of those entering my journey sometimes as strangers and often as friends.