Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay ... Let's try it again

If the first time you don't succeed, try again.

I'm sure we all do that in our ceramics, so here I am with this familiar form again. My new bowl is the one on the right side. The left one suffered collateral damage in the kiln when someone else's piece blew up and their shards fell inside my bowl (see earlier post).

This hand-pinched bowl shape has come to mean a lot to me. It is a very simple form, albeit a BIG one, made from one big ball of Black Mountain sculpture clay. It's 9" across at the rim, 11" across at its widest point and 7" high. This is still greenware, drying in my studio. This second bowl is even larger than my first one.

This is the story and inspiration behind this bowl.

In many South East Asian countries (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia) where there is a strong Buddhist influence, saffron-robed Buddhist monks would come out of their monastery everyday at sunrise with their begging bowls to receive alms from the public. In Thailand especially, you see people line up by the road side waiting for the monk's arrival. The monks accept whatever is given in total silence and with gratitude. In Buddhism, giving such alms (consisting of food, fruits, biscuits, or whatever one can offer) brings you good karma. For these monks, this is their only food collection of the day. Whatever is collected is taken back to the monastery and shared with everyone for their only meal of the day before noon.

This pinch bowl is my interpretation of the monk's begging bowl. Theirs is usually made of brass for durability. I want this form to be simple, yet convey a sense of quiet beauty and strength. It is big and has some heft to it. I want this to represent the heavy responsibility these monks have taken upon themselves in the service of others. I've chosen the Black Mountain sculpture clay to complement this feeling. No glaze is needed on the outside.


Amanda said...

While I have found your site to be extremely inspirational these bowls and their story truly touched me. Thank you for sharing and having such a beautiful and educational blog. Love it!!!

Anthony Foo said...

Hello Amanda,

Thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad these bowls and my source of inspiration have captured your heart. When we create art with our passion and innermost feelings, it comes through in our work and others can share in it.

Best regards.