I’ve been reflecting a lot on vessels. Crockery, boats, homes, books, relationships, memories. And conditions. Conditions of vessels, the contents they’re asked to contain, and those of us who rely upon them, who contemplate them.
The vessel above, a burly bowl, reminds me of another, gifted to us by Pam, crafted from a burl collected by her late husband, turned into this delicate work of art by Ron Bauer. Like this one, that handsome sculptural addition to our morning room would appear better suited to straining, than containing. And yet this one, one of the few art and artifacts we retained from our time at the Lapine House, cradles a fractured sculpture. The small, fragile figure once sat on a windowsill in our kitchen.
Broken & Unbroken
the fragments reassembled
in a burly bowl.
A tree burl is a boon born out of damage. A luxury born out of injury.
A burl is a strange-looking collection of tree cells, which are called callus tissue. Normally, callus tissue is formed by a tree in response to an environmental injury such as a pruning cut, disease, or insect damage. In forest settings, callus often arises from storm damage that has eroded away or deposited more soil around the tree’s trunk. (Source: Organic Plant Care)
A broken branch becomes a bulging burl destined to become a bowl. A vessel conjured into existence as a celebration of possibility, purity of form, beauty. Not for serving soup. Not for watering our Carley, our Labrador Retriever.
A damaged effigy shaped out of soft stone by will, whimsy, and chisel has — not altogether unlike the tree-turned-art — been injured, been offered an opportunity to become something different, something new. Currently cradled by a vessel with enough voids and gaps to appear useless, incapable of containing very much at all, and yet robust and relevant. Not just beautiful. Practical. A crucible.