The Patra Passage: Full Circle exhibition was on view at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington from February 14 – May 10, 2015. The exhibition featured all the Patra vessels that traveled the world during their yearlong pilgrimage with 501 participants from 11 countries and 40 US states. At the time of the exhibition, three vessels were missing, and fourteen were broken and many repaired, all were included in the exhibit. Participant comments and photographs about their experience were a major aspect of the show. Derek Klein’s film documentary about the Patra Passage narrates many of these meaningful experiences. It can be viewed here.
Regarding the installation design, much gratitude is given to Lee Ater, my collaborative partner in exhibit planning, to Del Webber who built the display’s red ladders, to Juan Azorit crafter of the wooden presentation boxes, to the volunteers who worked on installation details, and to the staff at the Museum of Glass.
PATRA PASSAGE: FULL CIRCLE EXHIBITION AT THE MUSEUM OF GLASS
Many of the handmade wooden presentation boxes are scattered throughout the exhibit at the base of the red display ladders.
All of the gallery walls are encircled with hand-screened quotations relevant to the Patra Passage’s central ideas. They can be read in their entirety here in the Artist Blog.
Participant comments and photographs about their experience with the vessels are a major aspect of this show. Their written statements are printed on sheer hanging panels of fabric and quoted on sections of the wall text. The many photographs they contributed are circulated on a screen next to the project’s film documentary.
All 496 participant names are silkscreened on hanging strips of fabric that comprise a “chandelier” in the center of the gallery.
Near the entrance are two Patra bowls which can be handled and their presentation boxes examined. Opportunity to purchase a vessel is charted with red dot sales. All net proceeds contributed to Save the Children and the Museum of Glass at the end of the exhibition continue the giving cycle. Patra bowls that are still available for purchase can be viewed on the website here.
Details of several Patra vessel surfaces.
Wall text quoting written contributions from participants about the experience with their vessel.
Layered text is a visual theme both on the vessels themselves and in the aesthetic of the exhibition. The palimpsest of layered text denotes the variety of individual experiences narrated during the passage.
MUSEUM HOT SHOP RESIDENCY
Two weeks after the exhibition opening events I was very fortunate to be a visiting artist for three days in the museum’s hot shop. Since this was my first experience with the glass blowing process, I was so grateful for the expertise of the hot shop team – Ben, Niko and Gabe.
We worked with the idea of creating vessels in glass that had similar sensibilities to the ceramic Patra bowls, pairing rough exteriors with more refined smooth interiors. We experimented with different levels of opacity, translucency, and attention to the rim edge. Some of the glass bowls had embedded text and diagrams that were also on the Patra vessels.
I found glass to be such a seductive media, especially the way in which it carries and passes light. My studio snapshots below don’t really allow you to fully experience the way light interacts with the object in different conditions.
Similar to the Patra vessels, the outside of these glass bowls look somewhat primitive, as if they were excavated from an archeological dig, yet their smooth interiors transport a glowing colored light.
vessel sitting on a painting similar to Patra bases
The twenty vessels we created in glass are considerably larger than the smaller ceramic versions and I think we achieved a strong visual relationship. It was great to play with a new media and I look forward to doing this again!