I started out with the idea that I wanted to make a honeycomb vessel. (You can see how I was inspired by honeycomb forms in this previous post of the Honeycomb Vessel in progress.) It was an intuitive and largely subconscious process, which is how I work best! Here some of the many elements of inspiration that went into the making of this ceramic sculpture:
Honeycombs, Eggs and Pinecones
I like that this ceramic honeycomb ended up being egg shaped because bees use honeycomb to protect their babies as they grow, just the way an egg does. And it also reminds me of pinecones which are another vessel for protecting the possibility of new life. Apparently this is a strong theme in my subconscious because last year I made a small egg-shaped honeycomb that is completely different and amazingly similar to this sculpture. You can buy this small honeycomb pine cone sculpture here in my online shop!
The poetry of repeated forms.
I think about the poetry of repetition a lot. It’s why we make music and why we’re attracted to patterns. And I suspect we’re drawn to repetition because we evolved out in nature where we were surrounded by repeated shapes at all times. Stones on a beach, leaves in the forest, ripples on water. And I also suspect that’s why we crave to bring the poetry of repetition into our living spaces at every opportunity. It makes our constructed homes feel like our ancestral home in nature. Bringing pattern into our home in the form of music, honeycomb vessels and bathroom wall tile makes us feel more at home in the most ancient, primal sense of the word.
The contrast of wobbly walls and smooth finished rims.
As I was building this piece, smoothing together coil after coil and then pinching them ever thinner and ever higher, I was waging an inner battle. I loved the rough and natural quality of the wobbly clay walls, but the piece kept feeling like it could spin out of control at any moment. That’s why the smooth, finished rims on the finished piece felt so important to me. They help highlight the wabi sabi quality of the wobbly walls through contrast, but keep this sculpture from feeling messy and unfinished.
The possibility that lies in every container.
Finally, something I love about every vessel that I make is the ocean of possibility that the concept of vessel implies. What could it be filled with? What will come out of it? Vessels are natural symbols of fertility, abundance, safety, home, order, containment. Vessels are simple forms with endless possibility. (There’s that poetry of repetition again!) These are some of the concepts I was holding in my mind while I made this piece.
And now, after 30 hours of building, it’s finished!
Well, finished being built. Now, I’ll let it slowly dry and then fire it in the kiln. Then I’ll brush on oxides and glazes and fire it 2 or 3 more times in the kiln. It’s a good thing our electricity comes from renewable sources!!
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