The world of pottery is an arena requiring skill and tact. The shaping and making of clay into a defining form demands great patience. Being attentive to the smallest details is a necessity. As clay comes from the Earth, the intimacies of pottery design and craft, are intricate performances with the Earth. Reconnecting one’s mind, body, and Spirit to the foundations of natural planes.
In addition to pottery making (and design) being a recipe of cultural preservation, it is also a form of storytelling. For some strange reason, pottery making takes on a life of its own. Just observing this large vessel, with an open space. Those hidden sounds. You desire to place your ear next to this large hole, which allows Earth’s hidden sounds to rest. Being comforted and allowing humanity to access a portion of its wonder. Pottery reflects this aura of birthing life. You can also tell the feminine essence of these treasures.
At the Birmingham Museum Of Art, I had come across 58 pieces of pottery from different nations and communities of West Africa. They were diverse and proud. Each piece took on an aesthetic of its own. Vigilant and boisterous they wanted visitors to acknowledge their presence. Desiring their beauty to be recognized and enjoyed. Furthermore, these 58 pieces of pottery foretold of joy. Their designs, shapes, patterns, and styles were a reflection of such. What spatial plane on West African soiling did each of these jewels derive from? Most importantly, what does it say about their people? The women?
It was evident that the stillness of these pots centered anyone walking by them. You were forced to be quiet, in order to comprehend their stillness. The eloquence of their openings invited you to hear their sounds. Partaking in their rhythms and movements; reflective of their native soiling. Such stillness forces people to listen to the patterns of their own heartbeats. The patterns of their breaths. Every element of movement these wombs reflected were somehow connected to the sustaining energies of a human existence. Who would have known an exhibition of pottery could reflect all of that? Who could comprehend this level of sensitivity with Earth’s soiling or clay? Clearly, that feeling is much more common than people are willing to give credit to. Its the natural state we should all be yearning for. For it is this level of the sensory, which brings healing and liberation from stifling and restricted auras, that many have been programmed and conditioned to.
I have seen this exhibition, twice. Both times have been its own experience. In order to immerse in the true depth of visual artistry, you must be willing (and open) to seeing it on more than one accord. I yearned to touch them. Holding them until they brought out hidden feelings unbeknownst to one’s Being. The versatility of their designs is fantastical! Just imagine touching them and traveling to that place of their origins. Or sitting still enough for them to whisper their secrets and stories of creation to you? Magnificent in knowing that a display of pottery can enact such calm and tranquility. Wouldn’t it be enriching if you could spend the night inside of the museum, and lay in the chamber of pottery’s spacing. Every detail of the sculpture was laid out. It was a marriage between humanity’s hands and Earth’s riches. One of the fascinating ways of human beings return to the sentimentals of natural soiling. Every knead and pressure releases all tensions in human hands. Freeing the body of energetic toxicities, negatively impacting one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Art is a poetry of its own therapy! It heals in ways that transcends what we are accustomed to. That’s what makes it wondrous.
The display of these 58 pieces of pottery was clearly a display of nature’s love. A reminder of life’s abundance, and the diverse methods/energies in order to sustain it. That’s the beauty of it! One of the wellness factors of pottery and ceramics is that they titillate the sensitivities of our touch. We are able to explore certain parts of our emotions we never knew existed.
There were feelings of abundance when I entered into that spacing. Large vessels carrying the heartbeats and breaths of those, whose voices it housed. It was boisterous beyond measure. Furthermore, it was a reassurance that the world’s of endless healing were present. Willing to sustain and heal those, who were willing to be vulnerable. Who were honest with themselves, in their very need of healing. Enjoying the fact of being so. Celebrating the very existence of healing. In this current society, where people readily document pain, the healing factor comes as a surprise. Its as if people are addicted to pain. This grotesque enjoyment of wanting to entertain chaos and imbalance, as if that is more pleasurable than serenity and healing. Then again healing requires truth, and too many people prefer a glamorous lie. When you avoid truth, you try to find pleasure and comfort in falsehoods. No matter how fake the energy is.
The pottery also represents the miracle of birthing life. Large and abundant, they house the richness of stillness. What happens when we are calm? What happens when we see quiet not as inactive, but as spacing for exploration of Universal power. Adventures is observing just how far we have gotten off balance, and how we can find centering in a chair world. These ceramics are holders of Universal energy and mystique. That’s if we want to observe them in that way. In the very least, they are imitations and reflections of what the performance of Universal sound may embody. Isn’t that the way of Universal femininity? Preserving life and growing it, until it is ready to be viewed on Earthly spacing. Even the artistry of giving birth reflects ongoing cycles of Universal life giving. Just reflecting upon this installation of ceramics, one is reminded of pregnancy and the lessons it teaches us. Lessons for us to return to the very foundation of life, before we were born. That beauty and connection to natural movement, ease, and being comforted in a space of nutrition. Its how humanity should be operating. That is especially true for these given times.
Of further fascination of this instillation is how it shows the myriad diversity of healing. The versatility of Universal sound, and how it is depicted, crafted, and presented based on different countries, cultures, and what have you. The myriad forms of healing sounds, based on the diversity of shapes, sizes, style, and design highlights the richness of the healing world. With such nourishment, why are people still in pain? Have so many people found comfort in pain, that it is hard to connect with the naturalness of feeling good? Of finding stability in one’s inner peace. With these given times, such is another question humanity is forced to ask.
It had been my second visit to this particular installation. Each time was a different experience. The latter was of further depth. Its important to revisit this world of healing more than once. Only then can a person master and recognize the difference between seeing images of wellness, and immersing in them.
This collection presents different West African traditions of using visual artistry to replicate that special world of mental and emotional sustainability. The creative process, alone, encourages this. Inviting us to explore further into international pottery and ceramics as a method for people to re-discover centeredness in a world, where many areas have become havens for stress and discord. Visitors can take the opportunity of exploring healing when seeing pottery. This world of crafting from the Earth, and using that same nourishment in creating something, that is beneficial and nutritious for the human Spirit. Perhaps, that’s the true meaning, and symbolic representation of pottery. That the clay is of the Earth’s soiling. Which means human beings need to return to the Earth, as our foundation for wellness. Why is it that those cultures and communities, who have done this, don’t have an issue with the mental health crisis and burnout, which is impacting people all over the world? Perhaps, its time to re-explore this intriguing dynamic.
The crafting and creating of Universal sound is reflective of this abundant life source. It is one outlet that humanity can use in intertwining our Being to the natural movement patterns. That natural rhythm. Creativity makes that journey fun! Visual artistry makes that journey, fun! So, as we continue to embark on this discovery, let’s get into the phenomenon of pottery. Its core of centeredness for a healing sound!
Note: These photos are for the sole purpose of this article. They are not for commercial use.
For more information on the Birmingham Museum Of Art, you may click on the following link: https://www.artsbma.org/