Today I passed along my vessel. I have posted an entry on my blog, and as it is rather lengthy, I am posting only an excerpt here, with a link. In the first month of having the Patra I saw many drawings in my mind. This is the one I made first, and there may be more to come.
You don’t see a vessel here. You must imagine it, as I did, leaving it in its box for the first month it came into my possession as part of the Patra Passage. I was honored to be part of the project. I thought the vessel was very beautiful. And yet I wanted to leave it in the dark for awhile, parked almost casually by the door, as though poised between coming and going. In fact, inherent in the Patra Passage is the idea of impermanence: yes, you take “possession” of this beautiful object for four months, but then you let it go and pass it on, and at the end of the year it will be sold and the proceeds contributed to charity. As much as I am someone who loves objects, and devotional objects in particular, I found myself resistant. I didn’t want to fall in love, and I didn’t want to give up an object of love. I would rather close my eyes in the morning and imagine it.
I would sit and start my meditation thinking of gold light, and the gold leaf within the bowl. I would run my fingers along the torn clay edge, and marvel at the indecipherable language placed flawlessly on its burnt arc. And then I would exhale and think about my email and how many dolphins had washed up on the shore of the Huffington Post and the sweater that had pilled after one washing and the annoyance of whether I should join the Cloud and why the milk kept going bad. The usual non sequitur burden of having a mind that has a mind of its own and never wants to be truly empty. When I took the bowl out of its box and placed it where I sit each morning it made no difference. My attention was not on the bowl. I tried. I thought about generosity and giving and monks and alms and having and not-having and I concluded that I am selfish. I lived with that thought like a very annoying fly. It is still there, and I cannot say that I have become in any noticeable way more sainted.
What I carried with me from the very first moment of the project was not the vessel, but a sentence, rather not even a sentence, just the phrase: “enough for the day.” In those four simple words is a (Continued. at http://iskrafineart.com/object-lessons-the-patra-passage/)
Patra 40, which was passed to me by my friend, artist Iskra Johnson, has held several positions in my life since I received her in February. For a while she sat in my dining room next to a Chinese Buddha. Every day the bowl seemed to fill with light, reminding me to pay attention, to center myself.
Then, in early May, I took Patra 40 on a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon (carefully packaged in bubble wrap and Tupperware). I photographed the bowl on a travertine waterfall on the clear blue Little Colorado. And then I hiked her to the top of Deer Creek canyon where I photographed her on shards of rocks, the same colors as the bowl–which seemed to imply that she belonged there. Another lesson–about being present wherever we are.
Having something so beautiful and fragile, something that reminds me to look inward and reflect, knowing I would have to give her up–has been an interesting experience. The temporary nature of our time together made it all the more precious. Like life.
And now, Patra 40 travels on to a friend in another state, before returning to Lynda in the fall. It is good to be reminded of the idea that what we receive every day is enough, now matter what it is.
at Deer Creek Canyon
in the Little Colorado River
Rosanne, this are just beyond beautiful!! And everybody will want to know what kind of glue you used in the last one above:). Thank you so much for taking the vessel with you and creating this work.
I was privileged to received Patra Vessel 40 about 3 weeks ago – and I am a photographer and so have been thinking about how to photograph it. Sometime ideas come to me as I sleep, and these photos came to me in part. I called my friend Bernadette to see if she would model for me – she have been a model in muse for my Milagro Series 17 years ago she said wes the rest just ex volved as I set lights for the shoot. I asked Bernadette to have her DAY OF T!HE DEAD make up when she arrived at the studio with her girls ALL 3 made up I knew something remarkable would happen. It did.
Here are a couple more photos I made yesterday.
It is interesting – one of the photos above sent by Rosanne Olson (she by the way is my great friend who sent me Patra 40) Rosanne photographed Patra 40 in the Little Colorado River near its confluence with the Colorado River. Blue water fed by springs several miles up stream. Yesterday I photographed Patra 40 among mud cracks in the same Little Colorado River but probably 50 0r s 60 miles upstream. Cracked mud and desocated by scorching sun. The two photos photographed on the same river bed miles apart.
Another look at Patra 40
I grew up in the Southwest. The beauty of a dry creek bed and puffy clouds is a joy to see. By adding the Patra it is like the sun has come to earth in a new way. Thank you John Running and Rosanne Olson for taking this vessel into the western light.
John, it’s lovely to see the spaces that you chose to photograph the bowl within. How you approached the figures and surroundings of humans being within space and/or the bowl with earth and sky is so diverse–at one captured moment quiet and lonely, other instances celebratory and rich in color and symbolism. Yet, both relate to something raw and beautiful and have a kindred relationship I’ve certainly enjoyed viewing. Thank you!
Thursday July 3rd I got to work with one of my favorite models, Hannah, She has been living in a different city but visited Flagstaff. So we got to work together briefly. The photos I made came to me in my sleep and I wanted to see the bottom p of Patra 40. THe photos turned out better than I imagined.
Hannah during our shoot
Kimberley is about to give birth to a son. She is the vessel of creation.
Another shoot with Patra 40
Yesterday I made another set of photos with Patra 40.
ONe more from the last photo session
The boy mica was born about 3 weeks ago – he has been visiting my studio with his mom who says ” He is named for Mica the mineral not the Mica of the bible”
Lovely work John! I have posted a blog piece about the project with a wonderful quote from Michael Meade on Golden Repair. Check it out: http://iskrafineart.com/?p=4184
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