Extruded, perforated and sprigged, the scale and decoration of these forms challenged my hand building methods and desire for delicacy. The vocabulary includes ancestor figures, begging bowls, prayer beads, stupas, treasure jars, skull cups, conch shells and scarab-like bees. Traditionally stupas represented the five elements and were used as reliquaries. The shell was an emblem of power and authority and specimens that spiralled to the right were considered especially sacred. The treasure jar was symbolic of longevity and prosperity. The skull cup, originally made from a human skull, was a reminder of death and impermanence. The bee is said to represent the soul and is a symbol of death and rebirth. The hands are a personal ex voto that add another layer of homage to a long established tradition, where the merit was in the making.
These pieces are Imaginary Friends, ‘made by heart’, invented. With connections to ancestors and guardians, friends and times that have past, these objects are meditations on mortality, recognitions that there is more to life than that which can be immediately perceived.