There’s Nothing Sinister About Those Faceless Willow Tree Sculptures


DJV writes: “I received two Willow Tree Sculptures as gifts and am concerned that these may be New Age items. The description on the box of these sculptures reads “Willow Tree is an intimate line of figurative sculptures that speak in quiet ways to heal, comfort, protect,…May the simplicity of these figures communicate peace and serenity to you and those you love. Susan Lordi.” These sculptures are mostly angels and are found in many stores including our Catholic Hospital. Please let me know if these are New Age items as I do do not want to own or purchase new age items.”

You are not the first person to wonder about these little faceless creations that so many of us have received as gifts on special occasions. However, I’m happy to report that there is nothing New Age about them.

These sculptures were created by Susan Lordi of Kansas City, Missouri, who has a master of fine arts from the University of Kansas and works from her studio in Kansas City. According to the website, her intent was to create pieces where expression was revealed through gesture alone.

In this video, she explains the reason why they are created without faces.

“I wanted to come up with a very pure form that had no extraneous detail, not even a face where the expression or message or emotion would be conveyed in body gesture only,” she says. “I thought maybe what was left out could speak stronger than what was visually apparent. So the viewer fills in the missing pieces. So I wanted to keep the work very open to interpretation and when the viewer fills in missing pieces the viewer…becomes more of a participant in the giving and receiving.

“And when that happens, hopefully, the gift will be much more personal so people see in the piece what they want to see in the piece. So keeping the pieces open to interpretation was a big part in what inspired me to do Willow Tree [figurines].”

Coming from a very “huggy” extended family, being a mother, daughter, granddaughter, has a lot of influence on her designs. She loves to communicate expressions of friendship, love, memories, laughter, gratitude, mourning and hope.

Naming her sculpture’s “willow tree” is not unusual for a woman who has a deep love of nature. “One of the things that fills me up with new ideas is to spend time outdoors. I love to plant things; especially experimenting with native plantings. I’m restoring a tall-grass prairie area, and with that comes the appreciation and enjoyment of all the wildlife that the prairie attracts. It’s a place to not just appreciate nature, but to feel part of the whole continuum of regeneration—and see how life renews itself over and over again. It’s my favorite place to get restored.”

As she jokingly says, “I spent a lot of time in the company of weeds, wild things, and dirt.”

Although some faceless statues have been cited as conduits for satanic activity, and it is possible that a faceless statue (or any statue, for that matter) could have been cursed, I have found no reason to believe Willow Tree Figurines in general would fall into this category.

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