Tom Hyatt

During 2009 until 2011 worked on art focused on two themes. I began using the poetry of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca as inspiration for a series of intaglio prints that I began doing early in 2009. Also, following a trip to Ecuador in the summer of 2009 where I spent two months traveling throughout the country, I brought back some ideas for wood sculpture based on the artwork, stories, and Colonial sculpture I came in contact with there. These two themes have become mixed in such a way that I no longer am able to (or want to) know what is coming from where. At the same time, the death of my mother in October of 2009 has tinged this work with ideas and elements of death and rebirth, fire and water, the loneliness of losing someone.Most of the wood sculptures are here on my Tumblr site along with some of the poems.


Lavamos La Ropa De Los Muertos

In Ecuador, while riding through the countryside on the bus, we crossed a small river where women were washing clothes along the banks of the river.After washing, the clothes were spread out all along the banks to dry in the sun. The view of the brightly dressed women and clothes laying flat and colorful in the afternoon sun was really a feast for the eyes. Someone on the bus told me about a tradition where, when a person dies, his or her clothes are taken to the river to be washed ceremonially, one last time. 

I carried this image around with me for a while and after my mother died in Ocober of 2009, I tried to make it into something useful for my grieving. So, thinking about stories that my mother told me about making her own paper dolls as a child, and thinking about that Ecuadorian landscape, I put together a scene in my mind of how her clothes might be washed in that river.

The sculpture is made of laminated and carved wood with tin leaves on the side. The shirt is made of painted tin as well. The piece is about 30 inches by 18 inches.

The Spanish translates to “We wash the Clothes of the Dead”. 

La Puerta del Bosque

The title means “The Door to the Woods”. This piece is about 22” x 22”. The very loose inspiration for this sculpture was the calendar from ” Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry”, the decorated Book of Hours begun in 1410 by the Limbourg brothers and completed over a century later. I say loose because it was the idea of peering through that arched frame into a landscape, into another world, that intrigued me. It’s almost too simple to mention but everything needs a starting place. 

La Puerta del Mar

These little fish have been making their way into my work for the past few months.This piece started off as a piece about miracles but once I made the winged heart it went in some other direction completely until finally, it became a door into the sea. It is made mostly of carved and cut wood with a little metal and some green stained glass. 

La Cascada del Banos de Agua Santa

In Banos, Ecuador, the falls brings down holy water from the mountains below the volcano Tungurahua. I have been ruminating on a number of different things while making this and had an idea for a “milagro” sculpture thinking about miracles and unexpected occurrences. Between the properties of the holy water, the recent rain of dead birds from the sky and fish kills from the ocean, thinking about Christ and the parable of the  loaves and fishes, I began working on a piece that took some impetus from these ideas. As it sometimes goes, the piece just didn’t work out as I had imagined. All the little fish, no matter where they were  placed, just looked wrong. So this is the miracle of the single fish…. I am not sure what that means but I am OK with it. 

More Fish…

So I have been working on this a bit since I did not feel quite right about the single fish. I have added another, half submerged.


In central Ecuador there is a lake situated within the cone of an extinct volcano called Quilotoa. It is isolated and cold (at least in July when we were there)and feels like both the most beautiful and the most remote place on earth. This wood sculpture is a play on a few ideas I wanted to pursue about place and out-of-place. Most of the piece is made of laminated, carved and painted wood. The sides are made of copper sheets that I ran through the intaglio press to create the relief shape. The fish is carved and painted wood.