Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Object Focus: The Bowl

When the call went out to participate in on on line project that runs along with the Museum of Contemporary Craft's current exhibit Object Focus: The Bowl, I instantly knew I wanted to participate. The exhibit in the Museum is a collection of bowls from all walks of life, so to speak, as well as bowls from the permanent collection. To accompany this exhibit, there is a daily addition to their tumblr feed, of participants from near and far, with stories of their experience with a bowl. Such a simple, everyday object, yet the stories and images that it evokes are more varied than can be imagined. Today, I am honored to have my piece,"Too Nice To Use" added to their feed. The story is a very personal one for me and I love that it is "out there" for anyone to read, experience, relate to and perhaps to evoke their own memories and thoughts about an anything but ordinary object, the bowl.

Written by Jo Grishman
A number of years ago when I lived in Maryland, I frequented Greenbridge Pottery Studio, where a family lived on a farm and created beautiful handcrafted ceramics. I purchased them frequently, especially their bups, as they lovingly called them. Everything tastes better when you hold a handmade meal in a handmade bowl, as it nestles warmly in your hands. What a glorious way to begin a day. One year, I gave my mother a bup as a present. Upon receiving it, she told me it was “too nice to use.” After explaining that it was meant to be used and savored and if it broke it was replaceable, she agreed to use it. I was not sure if she was actually using it, but a few years later, she told me sadly that she had recently dropped it while “using it,” (that part delighted me!). She shared that she had her oatmeal in it every morning—it fit perfectly in her hands—the handle helped her arthritic hands hold the hot cereal. Shortly after, I sent her another one, unique in its own way. My mother was surprised and delighted that I remembered she had broken her other one. She continued to use it everyday, until the end of her life last year. I now have the bup and it is part of my collection of bups that I use every morning. I am now reminded that one of them is hers.
Jo Grishman is an artist based in Portland, OR
Photo courtesy of the author

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