Recently I was invited by the Don Reitz Ranch to join them in a field trip to Mission Clay. We would tour the factory, then each get a sewer pipe or two to glaze for an installation along the road leading out to the ranch. What to do with a four-foot sewer pipe?
I went back into my long-time love of Hebrew letters and the words they form. What would be appropriate to put on such a pipe? There had to be a word, or words which spoke to the occasion.
Immediately the words “Bayit Adamah” came to mind. Bayit means house, or sometimes place. Adamah in Hebrew is the word for dirt or clay. I got my pipes and immediately began to carve the Hebrew letters into the soft clay of the pipes. I gathered up all the clay I had cut away, balled it up, and stuck it back onto my pipes. The words came out of the dirt they were made of.
Although my fun project made all of us giggle, I found a spiritual side to both the words Bayit and Adamah. The “bet”, the Hebrew letter beginning Bayit served as the foundation for this house. The “yud” in the middle can be seen as evoking the name of God, since God’s name begins with a yud. ”Tav”, the final letter in the word is also the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet, signaling a full circle. And on a circular pipe, the bet and tav came together!
And then there is the word Adamah. “Adam” is the name of the first person created, and means “from the soil.” “To dust you are and to dust you will become.” And, again there are meanings behind each of the Hebrew letters in this word as well.
I have spent much time over the years studying Hebrew letters, and the words which they form. I have found a poem in every word I meet. The peace of Shalom, the expectations of truth and trust in the Hebrew word, “Emet,” the joy of the dancing “Lameds” in Halleiujah. Now I am creating wall hangings to display the poem I find in each of these words.
As this project is merely in its beginning phase, I expect to have only three or four of these hangings to display for Open Studios. It takes almost a month between the inception of any piece and the time it comes out of the glaze firing, ready to display. Each wall hanging will come with its own original poem explaining its conception.
I have scheduled a demonstration each afternoon at 2:00 during the Open Studios Weekend. I plan to talk about these words, and to demonstrate how I conceive of my method for telling the story of the letters, the words and placing them into the clay. Come, participate in my process!
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"