I received 19 in September, and I think I finally know who I’d like to pass it to.
Some thoughts: I’ve been pretty busy since the opening ceremony at the Museum of Glass. I travel back and forth from WA to OR as regularly as I can for work and family and since it’s now holiday season, the back and forth is intensified. My mom and stepdad just left yesterday from their visit for thanksgiving; we all started in WA and went down to OR for a few days and then back to WA. Work has also been busy for me and it seems that I finally have a little time to breathe, although I know I have a lot of stuff to do before Christmas.
It’s been sort of difficult for me to interact with my patra. I guess I’m not sure what to do with it: I wish I could eat or drink from it. I can’t think of anything meaningful to fill it with. Maybe it’s filled with my thoughts. I’ve moved it around my house trying to find the perfect spot for it-one where the dogs can’t get to it, one where I can see it, one where I can think about it. It has been on the shelves above my bed for a few weeks now, next to some other objects I’ve collected or art I’ve been given or books and notebooks.
I’m anxious to pass it along and I hope the person I have in mind will accept the vessel and the project.
I was stoked at the opening that my patra was one of the ones in the slide show on the video screen, and, I noticed that the etchings in the vessel have my initials. Seems it was meant to be?
Finally, I have passed number 19 on to the next participant. I have both a sense of relief, as well as the feeling of an absence. The vessel has been living on my kitchen table, next to my ‘workspace’ (computer, paperwork, music, receipts, notebooks) and amongst some rather large orchids and various herb starts. Now that the vessel has left me, there seems to be a void in my space.
I waited in line at the post office for an hour trying to send it. (It was the third P.O. I tried to go since it was Saturday, and not all offices are open…) Since I sent it internationally, I had to fill out a customs form, declare a value, and then try to explain to the clerk that no, I wasn’t selling it, that it is part of an artist’s project and that it would come back around in due time.
When I got back home, after doing a lot of other running around, I immediately felt the void where the vessel once sat on my table. I began, maybe a little unconsciously, to clean my house, fold laundry, started organizing papers, putting things away. I stopped in the middle of all this and realized that it was very possible that the absence of 19 was causing my actions.
Several things from the last days of my having the vessel: I saw John’s post about the Artist’s Patra where he spoke about having a glass float he’d found on the beach that fit perfectly into the vessel. I, too, had found a small glass float on the beach, actually in a similar spot as John’s, and put it into my Patra.
I have also included a photo of my hand holding the Patra, with the spot that has my own initials etched into the surface.
And a photo of the packing materials out and ready on the table.
Holding the Patra
Getting ready to move on
sea water baptism
The beautiful piece made its passage safely to our shores. I received it yesterday, along with your message. It was my 51st birthday and I feel honoured to have it. I first heard about your project through Derek Klein, whom I have worked with at the Museum and where I also met Lynette. I am delighted to have been selected by her to have this piece because we only just met in November and had a special time in putting together our show at the museum. It is wonderful to have another layer to that experience and enrich our lives through it.
As I collected the parcel from the post office I got a call from my mother (80) who need collecting from the hospital and dropping home. She lives in a beautiful place on the coast, and I brought the box with me. I subsequently opened the box in her kitchen, both of us charmed and intrigued as to what the piece looked like. I was familiar with it from the website but I wanted to hold it and feel it and examine it! Mum used to make ceramic work and so was also very interested, delighted, inspired. The opening reminded me of the special experience of omiage.. japanese gift giving.. and the further into I got the more it felt so.
In my mother’s kitchen I have learnt so many things which have fuelled my art, mothering and teaching. It was fitting that this gift was opened there, as the gifts both parents have given me have been the most valuable things in my life. So I am attaching a picture of my mothers kitchen. Its not the one I grew up in but it is still one of creativity and much shared. We shared a coffee and cake and so have also included that in my photo. The piece will live with me and will be part of my everyday, so that everyone in my busy household will know about the story and it will continue to be imbued with ours.
In my accepting of Lynette’s gift, I felt I had to bring it to the sea. It is of course what separates us from America.. that big ocean.. the shape reminded me of the craft that St Brendan took to make his voyage to America and so I set it on the shore and let the waves baptise it, fill with sea water and float into shore.. so it has arrived.
Now it is sitting on my table here in my home. Thank you for making this project. Already it has brought with it, its own gifts.
It’s a bright Saturday morning, 6am, I am preparing to drive to the other side of the country to present the final set of drawings for a project I am working on for the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland. It’s a sacred site, where a series of apparitions of our Lady took place in the last century. It has since become Irelands most significant pilgrimage site. Situated in the barren landscape of Co Mayo, the commission is for large glass windows of two glazed corridors at the entrance to the Basilica. I have been working on the development for a year and this meeting will decide if I am to be awarded the commission. I have arrived at an abstract solution to express Pilgrimage in contemporary Ireland.
As I leave, I see Patra 19 as I do every day on my Kitchen table. I decide to bring it.
Driving across the country it’s a beautiful day, I have time to think and reflect on Patra. It takes 3 hours through soft green landscape to reach the other coast – Ireland is that small! There is a lot hanging on this meeting. Being an artist in Ireland at this time is difficult, especially working in glass. This commission is important for my family and for the public who visit the shrine. The committee was not looking for an abstract solution for these windows but envisaged a figurative symbolic piece with familiar iconic references. I had not followed this direction but stayed true to my own interpretation of the brief. I was confident that I had captured the essence of pilgrimage in an abstract way.
I thought that I would use Patra 19 to help me explain how that works. The presentation went well, I am passionate about what I do, the light shining through the glass sample danced coloured shadows across the stark parlour wall of the parish house. My drawings and sketches were spread out over the table. The gathered priests started to see how different interpretations of parables and stories from the bible could be read into the proposed imagery. I knew they liked it, but they were nervous of such an open interpretation.
I unwrapped Patra and explained that I wanted to share its journey with them. I told them of its journey including the journey it had made in Ireland and how they were now part of it. Cradling the piece in their hands one by one, they listened and grasped immediately the spirit of the concept. This simple bowl is a symbol of a beautiful pilgrimage, and carries with it the spirit of giving and receiving. Its power in the room that day was palpable.
Yesterday I received my letter of engagement. Thank you Patra 19
Yesterday I went to teach at the National College of Art and Design Dublin. I talked to final year glass students on their personal work. They are preparing for their degree exhibition and the beginning of their careers as professional artists.
Most of them make objects. I wanted to share the Patra project with them to inspire them to think about what they make and how they share those objects with others. We discussed how the history of objects can influence how they are interpreted. This brings the value of objects into the discussion. What do we value, how do we value, what is valuable? It was an inspiring conversation.
People who make objects handle Patra differently to those that don’t. I have learnt through Patra that I do not have a fear of things breaking. I see handmade objects, as having a life span, breaking can be the end or the reinvention of that object. This belief has evolved though glassmaking and breaking. I never thought about that before I received Patra 19
March Irish dancing culture and music – A night of festivities in the Museum of Glass Tacoma where Patra 19 started its journey, was gifted to Lynette, where I met Lynette for the first time and where Patra 19 will end its journey. How beautiful then that I could meet Lynda, and fitting that both of us were wearing exactly the same colour! Threads of connections unknowingly tying us together.
On Tuesday I wrapped Patra 19 into its furoshiki and beautiful box. It had a ceremonial feel to it. It will once again cross a stretch of water to reach its destination. I am thinking of Jeanne opening it in her light filled apartment in Denmark. I am excited to share this with her. Jeanne and I have travelled many of life’s journeys together, giving, taking and gratefully receiving. We have had many inspirational conversations in the apartment where patra 19 will temporarily be housed. I know that this piece will add to that inspiration and sharing of ideas which fuels us both. I feel privileged to have been part of its journey and happy I can pass it on to someone so deserving. Its form holds the continual circle that keeps us both strong.
My sister, Janet Stanley and her husband, Peter, were just here in Virginia for my daughter’s high school graduation. In celebration of my 60th birthday, Janet gave me Patra Bowl number 19. Giving and receiving…. the life of the bowl continues. I have the bowl on my dining table and have put in the bowl some pebbles I collected 12 years ago on a beach in Iceland. The bowl is such a perfect shape for holding and invokes the archetype of alms-asking. The small stand is also beautiful in its own right…. a small altar, a stand that emphasizes the unique gesture of alms-asking of the bowl… Thank you Janet & Peter. I bow to Linda and all the bowl holders. Sarah
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