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BUDDHAS. NAGAS. BYSTANDERS & 24 BOWLS
4 Ceramic projects, 2014-2021, May 2021

24 Bowls Fired in a galvanized barrel with organic materials: sawdust, grass clippings, scrap wood, banana peels, corn husks, tea leaves, coffee grounds, kosher salt, copper carbonate, red iron oxide (2020-’21)

Nagas In Hindu and Buddhist iconography, these are sacred protectors of watery regions and are often fearsome. After visiting Naga sites in Nepal beginning in 1995, I’ve been imagining Nagas in sculptural forms for the past 10 years.

Buddhas and Bystanders Most of these began in the Earth to Buddha installation (2016, Chrch Project Space). Small figures were some of the first pieces I made when I was an apprentice at Greenwich House Pottery in 1974-‘5 and studying with Anna Siok.

I started making pots in 1970 and after a 20 year hiatus, began again at Women’s Studio Workshop in 2003. Hand-building is what I’m drawn to. I’ve had several inspiring teachers along the way and many sculptor/potters I’ve looked to for ideas and possibilities.

The artifacts of the potters of ancient civilizations attracted me from childhood museum trips. Later in life, as a performer, teacher and persistent traveler I took the opportunity everywhere I landed to look at and buy ceramics: from highly decorated East Indian and Mexican tiles and containers to Swiss and German mid-century art pottery to classic Native American bowls. Most likely it’s the bowls from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico which I saw in 1975 that sent me into an ongoing pursuit of ‘pinch pots.’ It’s a lowly name for these pueblo traditions.

Over the past two years making these bowls has been a passion, when for the first time, I could fire them with local materials on my own land. It’s a process that relies on many elements: wind, smoke, the right wood and sawdust, placement of the bowls in the kiln (galvanized barrel), the heat of the fire, and ultimately serendipity. The bowls are given over to the fire (Agni, the fire god) and the following morning they are delivered sunk in ash and warm embers.