I am launching my latest line of desert wood assemblages: Mindfulness Vessels, ceramic bases desert driftwood attached to their handles. The original inspiration for these pots came from Navajo wedding vases.
One evening I was looking at an internet site featuring the wedding vases. I saw Navajo wedding pots featuring two spouts, and a handle connecting them. I was intrigued by the idea. The next day at the Ranch I experimented. My first one was a pinch pot. I pulled out the sides, poked two holes into a rounded bowl, and covered the rest of the top of the bowl. Next, I decided to make taller spouts. For the following one, I used slabs. Instead of a gently rounded pot this one was angular. I worked for several hours that first day, ended up with four different vases.
I returned the next day to the ceramic studio. I had intended to make a mask. I began to mold facial features. Next thing I knew, the mask had slipped into a bowl shape. What were intended to be ears became the two spouts. I was intrigued by the innumerable possibilities with this original formula for wedding pots. Every pot I make is unique: Short spouts, longer ones, a wide handle, a straight handle across the top, another handle to winds around the pot.
I began to think more deeply about these vessels. The meaning ascribed to them in all the literature I had read referred to the two spouts becoming one body. the handle between them, represented the lives of the couple becoming one. Squat and round. Long and lean.
I looked more deeply at what I had created. Each pot had three chambers, the two spouts and the single body. Even the most elongated, angular ones looked very much like the human heart. Maybe it was this shape that drew me to the form. Beyond resembling the heart (and that, by itself I felt a presence within it. The spouts.. One for entering, one for pouring out. I went to a workshop on Kabalistic Jewish meditation, led by Reb Brian Yosef. Here was the meaning within these pots. Moving within myself. Holding my mind in this presence. Opening into awareness. These pots represented mindfulness!
I live in the Verde Valley in Arizona. I am constantly inspired by the stark beauty around me. Often I meditate outside, beneath Mingus Mountain, or by the bank of the Verde River. My art represents this beauty. I felt a need to write a poem, using this beauty, to represent the experience of meditation. As with so many of my poems, it wrote itself, as I contemplated meditation.
And, so I now offer Mindfulness Vessels. Each one will come with the poem attached. Pots will be signed and numbered, that number recorded on the attached card. I now have almost 30 Mindfulness Vessels in various stages of completion. My creative space continues to be flooded with their possibilities.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"