I wandered into the Liturgical Press through the warehouse door this morning. I was guided up to the showroom where I spent some time trying to absorb the scope of the St. John's Bible project. Liz Owens introduced herself in the showroom and in her I met an art collector and enthusiast. She sold me a copy of "Illuminating the Word." I'll be studying that...
A young Novitiate named Cassian has been helping split wood for the upcoming kiln firing. He and I attended noon prayer in the Abbey today. While fellowship issues kept me from participating, I appreciated the simple proclamation of the Word. Meanwhile, I was sitting inside a mid-century masterpiece of modern architecture by Marcel Breuer. And I got to thinking...two things. Beehive and origami.
The massive stained glass wall of the Abbey is built of hexagons. The concept of the beehive is an apt image of the productive and communal nature of monastic life. I see hexagon patterns used in other print materials here at St. John's. Naturally, it's also lightweight and strong...maybe just what I need in clay. So I dashed down a sketch and some notes trying to decode how a beehive might inform clay construction. (I realize now that I've had this tubular idea before. I intended to construct the world-record-size papier mache Luther's seal out of standing tubes that were to be trimmed in contour.) If I could make a matrix of standing clay tubes, I could carve the block after it had firmed up a bit. Each tube only has to support itself. That plan may still come to fruition. For today, I followed a variation by rolling pages from a discarded ULine catalog and dipping them in slip. By stacking these straws of slip I started to approach that honeycomb matrix.
Working is an opportunity to think. So as I was working on stacking straws, I thought about next steps. So many possible ideas came to mind, but a practical combo was to apply today's experiment with yesterday's. I pulled out one of the slab heads from yesterday and I started stacking slip straws to suggest the surface between the slab fins. I learned to estimate length of straw and depth of slip dip. It's a pretty slow tedious process. But that allows me to think some more. Maybe I'll think more about that origami idea.
If you haven't seen my 360-degree views of the pottery and campus, click the link above and visit a few spots. It's a google photos album. I'll update the album throughout my stay here at the St. John's Pottery. If you have Google Cardboard, you can experience these in VR with ambient sound...think 360 Viewmaster!
360-degree views at: https://goo.gl/photos/pDZfy93WxgDTJveA6