“Hold on and let go”

By Jan-Carel Koster

Wall sculpture

This is the story of this wooden wall sculpture that was made for the Oranje Nassau School (ONS) in Nijkerk.

Technical Information

Material:  Cherry wood
Origins:  Grandfathers backyard
Measurements:  250 cm diameter
Weight:  80 – 100 kg

Your child OUR child

We all come into this world through birth. In Jan-Carel’s opinion, that is still something “supernatural”. From nowhere, something in the mother’s belly grows into an embryo and later into a real little person. This is all arranged by nature. Miraculously, this complex system almost always goes well. You automatically think that someone must have had a hand in this. From this thought, Jan-Carel came up with the following idea:


The idea

He associated growing with the roots of a tree. And because this also involves a natural growth process, he wanted to portray the hand of GOD from these roots, in which the origin of the tree is rooted.


Jan-Carel writes the following about this:

“From this natural origin (the stump of this wooden wall sculpture) I wanted to reach out to US. The hand that gives us all food and clothing, but also takes care of our survival. In this giving hand I have carved a child who wants to climb out of the hand, as it were, up… towards life. Because no matter how small the children are, they often can’t wait to grow up. Hence the climbing child who wants to walk his new life as if he were on the stairs of life. The hand is depicted in such a way that the child sits loosely in the hand (i.e. is not held) but is protected by the raised fingers. The idea behind this is that as a parent we receive our child from God’s hand and that we must learn to care for it. We (parents) often do this by keeping our children close to us. We prefer to hold our child all day so that nothing can happen to it. But therein lies the lesson for us parents.”

The lesson for us

First we must learn to hold them, to protect them. But as they grow, we also have to learn to let them go and that is often even more difficult to do because it often goes against our feelings. Going to school can be seen as one of the first steps in which we parents have to take a step back and pass on the trust that we received from God at the birth of the child to the teachers at school. Together we will have to teach the children how to take the right path (climb). A school where the right standards and values are applied will naturally speak of “Your child is OUR child”.


Underlying meaning

This wooden wall sculpture therefore contains a deep thought that is not only important for children to understand, but also for the elderly. Those who let their lives pass by unconsciously rather than consciously. “With this sculpture I want everyone to become aware of the fact that we only have our children to borrow for a while.” That they are their own individuals that we can only guide in the beginning, but then have to let them go so that they can climb their own path in life and thus learn their lessons here on earth. This realization is reciprocal, namely that we are also children who, without exception, will have to learn our own lessons.

The ‘Flow’ in wood or stone

Jan-Carel has been thinking about the above thought for a long time. Actually, it gave him a peaceful feeling that he could at least work with. In any case, the concentration was there. And after not working in wood for a long time, this was very pleasant for him to do again. The difference with his stone objects is not only the size, but also the way of working. You are really carving in this material and you see results quite quickly. Shaping takes place in a constant flow of thoughts, which I also experience as very pleasant. According to Jan-Carel, this flow or ‘trance’ is also present in stone, but you need more of it to achieve results. It is not the same every time, so you process different thoughts together in one image. It is not the case that this directly affects the design because it had already been conceived and sketched in advance in the thoughts of the Sculptor himself. But the difference in methods will certainly be visible, at least to him.


Are you interested in having a bespoke artwork made for you? There is a wide variety of possibilities, from type of wood used, dimensions and personalizations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Jan-Carel to find out what’s possible.



Jan-Carel Koster

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Jan-Carel Koster 

Applied Art