The Cross for The Road to Emmaus First Installment

The road that leads us to this particular cross begins with Bob, Ryan and Dan  traveling the backroads for Texas Country Reporter.  One day they pay a visit to Marika’s studio in Seguin.  From this interview they create and broadcast to a viewership of 1.4 million an Emmy award winning segment, “Carousel of Life.”   On a Sunday morning in Lubbock, as Terri and Carlos prepare for church they see and hear a sculptor from Haiti describing her passion for creating wood sculptures.  Marika’s sculptures and her words resonate with the couple.

Terri tells her husband that if she receives the call to lead a “Walk to Emmaus” retreat, she will ask Marika to sculpt a cross for the event.  Before receiving the call, Terri visits Marika in Seguin.  She asks her to make a cross for the “Walk to Emmaus”  explaining it is a retreat to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians.  The cross plays an integral part in retreat ceremonies and rituals.  As a lay leader, she is responsible for providing a cross.

Not long after, Marika hears the good news from Terri; she is Lay Director for the Women’s Emmaus Walk.

With ideas from Terri, Marika prepares two concept drawings.  One is a hand holding the cross; the other is a hooded figure holding the cross.  In both cases, the cross is removable from the figure holding it.

Terri decides on the hooded figure.

Emmaus Cross Drawing 1 Hand

Emmaus Cross Drawing 2 Hooded Figure

The second installment will include photos of the first cuts to make the hooded figure.

Plenitude: A Photo Journal

November 5, 2009: In the beginning there was ..



December 16, 2009: “Plénitude” was born


November 5, 2009: Planning the first cut with the chainsaw



Sketching the outline

The initial cuts with the grinder


Taking shape

Two weeks later

Cardboard prototype of the base

First Sanding

After sanding,


sanding …

“Plénitude” is ready for the next step

First oil bath

“Plénitude” is waxed and polished

Testing the base

First coat of primer

Final coat of paint

Polishing the marble base


December 18, 2009: Day of departure for Europe

Packing for the journey

“Plénitude” in Belgium


Tell me mother

That ultimate moment

We are experiencing together

what is it?

Would it be already a piece of paradise? …


My sweet daughter

You and I, because of our bonding

We are living in a state of grace.

Let’s wish it lasts forever

Because it is so called “Plénitude”

Marika Bordes

Plenitude Finds a Home In Belgium

Seguin artist selected for Belgian workNEW LIFE: Marika Bordes commissioned for wood sculpture honoring birth

By Katie Collins

The Gazette-Enterprise

Published December 25, 2009

SEGUIN — One local artist is helping grandparents across the globe celebrate the birth of their new granddaughter.

A birth is certainly something to be celebrated, and Ben Griepink and Trietsje Bangma of Belgium are doing it in style with the help of Seguin sculptor Marika Bordes. Bordes said it all started with a visit in September.

“Ben and Trientsje came in September to visit a friend, and stopped by the gallery,” Bordes said. “They really liked the work and asked me if I would make them a sculpture to commemorate the birth of their first grandchild. I submitted them two drawings, and they chose this one called Plenitude.

After deciding on a design, Marika began the long process of carving the wood. She started with the stump of a mesquite tree, she said.

“I use a chainsaw at first to get a reasonable block of wood that I can work with,” Bordes said. “Then I do everything by hand using a chisel and mallet. I wanted to use the heart of the wood because of its complex grain structure, strength, and durability. Mesquite is a challenge to work with because the grain of the wood is not uniform, but its beautiful.”

Over the course of six weeks, Bordes carved away at the wood, and sent weekly e-mails to the couple to show them the progress. Finally, Plenitude came into shape.

The work is a sculpture of a child in a mother’s lap, hugging her with outreached arms. The sculpture rests on a piece of metal work shaped like a crescent moon.

“I did the crescent moon because the little girl’s name is Luna,” Bordes said. “It will be painted silver, which will compliment the mesquite wood statue and the marble base very beautifully.”

The sculpture was sent to Europe on Dec. 17. Bordes said she hoped to get it to the happy new grandparents by Christmas.

What began as a piece of what most people consider firewood, became a family’s expression of joy for the gift of a new life, Bordes said.

Bordes work has celebrated new births before, such as the sculpture called Maternitree, which is in the new maternity ward at the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center.

Maternitree: Sculpture for the New Maternity Wing



Marika Bordes


Detail of Woman 3

Detail of Sculpture

Wood Sculpture

Medium: Bois d’Arc



The Patient Tower

The Guadalupe Regional Medical Center

Seguin, TX

July 2009


Detail: Central Woman

Ode to Maternitree

And you woman,

With your fragile appearance

You are not the least of creatures….

You are to the human race,

As the tree is to the earth.

In reincarnating lives,

You perpetuate the sacred,

Balancing creation and tying together

The generations to come.

Authentically, you are

The Genealogical tree

Of the human family, and

The Interlocutor of the Eternal.

Marika Bordes



Detail of Baby

















About “Bois d’Arc”

This amazing wood is hard, durable, elastic and resistant to termites and other insects.  French explorers described the tree, Maclura pomifera, as “bois d’arc” (bow wood) and the settlers called it “bodark.”  Other common names are: Osage orange and horse apple.

Over the centuries, humans have found many uses for this tree:

  • The Osage Indians made powerful bows.
  • The settlers used the wood for fence posts, dye, and house foundations.  In fact, there was a time in Texas, one could not get a loan on a house if the foundation was not made of “bois d’arc”.
  • Osage-orange made life on the prairies possible because Its dense growth provided  living fences and windbreaks.

The wood for Maternitree comes from the ranch land of Dr. John Schwartz of Seguin, Texas.


Maternitree and the sculptor

Maternitree and the sculptor


To contact Marika





Photographer: Bil Sullivan