Sculpture Forest welcomes pieced-together work

Visitors can see Anillos and the other sculptures everyday, surrounded by the sounds of nature.

After the Lake Oswego Police Department returned the fragments of her award-winning sculpture, “Anillos,” Maria Wickwire couldn’t bear to look inside the box for a while.

In 2019, the ceramic little girl who peacefully sat in downtown Lake Oswego in Oregon for 12 years was pushed to the ground by a man who suffered from mental illness.

Suddenly, the sculpture that her husband saw get voted People’s Choice shortly before he passed away from cancer was no more than evidence that could have been used to press charges against the man.

Had it been any other work of hers, Wickwire said, she would have moved on to other projects. But Anillos was different from her other works depicting archetypal experiences of women. And from the box that sat in her studio for three years, she could hear the call of a little girl who wasn’t done telling her story.

In 2023, Wickwire finally decided to bring her creation back to life, patiently piecing together the remains and reconstructing the missing pieces with oil-based clay. With the help of Classic Foundry, a foundry based in Seattle, she used the sculpture to create a mold for a new, stronger Anillos made of bronze.

Inspired by the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold, Wickwire chose to highlight the girl’s cracks with gold to embrace her struggles.

The reborn Anillos, which is in the final stages of development, will be installed at the Price Sculpture Forest in Coupeville on April 24, just in time for the Price Sculpture Forest guided tour, which will be hosted by founder Scott Price from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 27.

Those who can’t make it to the event can visit Anillos and the other sculptures from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. — or sunset — everyday, surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Anillos’ story began in the early 2000s, when Wickwire saw the Cirque du Soleil perform live.

Oddly, what struck her that day wasn’t the acrobatic acts or the colorful costumes. Instead, what would forever reside in Wickwire’s mind was the image of a 4-year-old girl, who, after her performance, sat on the side of the stage as her parents wowed the audience.

Amid the over-the-top performances, the bright lights, the loud reactions and the blasting music, the little girl looked “calm and centered.” Even as a grown woman, Wickwire found herself aspiring to be as steady and unbothered as that child.

In her studio, Wickwire created her first ceramic figure inspired by the little acrobat, a one-foot white sculpture she named “Rings.” The name derived from the lines carved on the girl’s body that mimicked the rings of a tree.

To the Skagit Valley resident, humans are similar to trees in the way their bodies remember their life experiences, just like rings can tell “the years of drought, fire and flourishing” a tree has gone through in its life.

“If we can wear our experiences on our outsides, maybe we would be compassionate with each other,” Wickwire said.

The City of Lake Oswego asked the artist to create a larger replica of Rings for the city’s Gallery Without Walls exhibit. The piece was named after the Spanish word for “rings,” and was so successful that it won the People’s Choice award in 2007, becoming what should have been a permanent sight in the city’s downtown.

But as it often goes, life happened.

Before the incident, Wickwire had come to realize that that second piece, which depicted a slightly more mature girl and was larger than life-size, had “more life experience” than the previous one.

The damage was only another chapter in Anillos’s story of growth and resilience. In a way, the girl was going through her own life experiences.

“When things look like they are really broken, maybe they’re not,” Wickwire said.

After witnessing a period of social and political division brought on by the pandemic, she hoped that, if she could put her sculpture back together, people could be brought back together as well.

At 72, Wickwire does not know how much time she has left to live, but she does know one thing: with Anillos, she would be happy to die knowing she left behind a message of hope for individuals and humanity.

For more information about Wickwire and her exhibitions, visit or search “Maria Wickwire Studio” on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo provided
Anillos will join the Price Sculpture Forest on April 24.

Photo provided Anillos will join the Price Sculpture Forest on April 24.