October 2, 2013

All Seeing Eye Vessel

In my second attempt to make a ceramic urn for holding ashes, I opted for a more elongated shape than that of my previous urn-turned-into-a-soup-tureen. This time, after I added a hollow knob on the top, I realized after inspecting the lid that the hole from the lid to the knob was closed off. So I carefully carved from the base of the lid through the neck and into the knob to allow air to exit in the firing. Unfortunately the clay in the neck was too thin and was punctured. This left a hole in the neck just under the knob. I patched this immediately. But some time later the hole came back to haunt me. Once again, during the burnishing process it burst through the neck. Well, I had put a lot of work into the vessel so I fired it anyway, then smoke fired it in the kiln.

After that I had a decision to make. To fill in the hole with an inlay or leave it blank? I left it blank for a while then asked my husband for a second opinion as to whether or not the hole was disconcerting, distracting, or otherwise evoked a feeling of a wounded or incomplete vessel. The consensus between the two of us was that the hole must be filled. I tried out several kinds of fillings; stones, glass, smalti, gold. Nothing seemed to do quite the trick. Then I found a small eye that I had made earlier from fused glass. It fit the space perfectly so without much more deliberation I sealed the eye into place. Now the vessel became rather disconcerting. The eye seemed to animate the piece in a rather unsettling way. This would be a very weird vessel to use as a container for storing the remains of a loved one, I thought. It would look like the dearly departed were still there, keeping a watchful eye upon the living. Not an attractive idea.

It occurred to me that the vessel was just too weird to be commercially viable but I posted it in my online shop anyway. It also occurred to me that I could always enter it in an art exhibition as a curiosity piece but thus far has not made it into either the state or county fair. Perhaps next year.

No comments: