I love to look at the mantelpiece—strange thing to say, but the objects arranged there please me. Two photographs taken by a friend, a lithograph of a black cat looking out a window, a collage of family photos, brass candlesticks that have been in the family for several generations, two small wood carvings. And vases, several vases.
–A raku vase made by a former pottery teacher. She’d studied in Japan and taught us that beauty lives in imperfection, in irregularity. In her class I learned to throw quickly, lightly, maintaining just enough control to pull the walls of the pot up. I have a set of small bowls I use all the time that I threw “off the hump” working with a large chunk of clay—center a small piece on top and quickly pull it up into a vase or open it out into a bowl and cut it off then center the next small portion.
–An old blue vase that’s been in the family a long time—
I love the color and the simple clean lines–and the knowledge that it’s been held and at some point used by mother and grandmother.
–A small wooden vase I bought in Australia, delicate as a seed pod, and a wooden bud vase from New Zealand.
I like to handle all these objects, look at them, use them when I can but they also—and more importantly—evoke memories of lessons I’ve learned, places I’ve travelled, people I love.