rit’.u.al 
>A prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service: the ritual of the dead
>Any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner
>A prescribed code of behavior regulating social conduct (eg: shaking hands).

ves·sel
>A hollow utensil, such as a cup, vase, or pitcher, used as a container.

I am making these containers for water and medicine, blessings, visions and light. Some of them are intended for everyday use, some are to hold memories of a person or event. While they may vary widely in material and design, they are united in spirit.

IMG_0016

This was the largest ritual vessel I ever made, like a baptismal font or something, but not.

While I don’t think of myself as a potter, my partner qualifies, and I happen to have a lot of ideas about what makes a good vessel. Ritual containers constitute some of the oldest archaeological finds ever discovered, they include mysterious decorations, surely in posession of a magic all their own. They have contained seeds, medicine, hearts, ashes, libations, scrolls and let’s not forget Hope. The houses we live in are vessels, an architectural record of our lives. We live inside of boxes and are buried in them too, they relate to every kind of ritual.

Water clock; two vessels that measure time, passing it back and forth via water.

Taking sustenance from a dish is a thrice a day ritual performed morning, noon and night. We keep our most prized possessions safe within secret containers, hidden from view. In the realm of ideas, the Victorian era put us on a tear of intellectual compartmentalization, dissecting and extracting meaning in order to synthesize a rational world, collapsing it into a very limited set of thought-boxes. If what those boxes contain is what is sacred and allowable, what happens to everything that doesn’t fit? There are endless ways to shape the usefulness of a jar, box or bowl. I am interested in investigating the more metaphorical of them, in the interest of getting outside of them.

From Lao Tzo;

“Thirty spokes will converge In the hub of a wheel; But the use of the cart Will depend on the part Of the hub that is void. With a wall all around A clay bowl is moulded; But the use of the bowl Will depend on the part Of the bowl that is void. Cut out windows and doors In the house as you build; But the use of the house Will depend on the space In the walls that is void. So advantage is had From whatever is there; But usefulness rises From whatever is not.”    –The Tao Te Ching, Ch. 11

 

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