2014 Alchemical Vessels Catalog

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Alchemical Vessels 125 Artists Explore the Concept of Healing Space

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Š 2014 Joan Hisaoka Healing Ar ts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Ar ts ISBN: 978-0-616-00087-8

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Dedicated to the memory of Barbara Smith Coleman and Joan Hisaoka

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Art Advisory

Founded in 2008, the Joan Hisaoka Healing Ar ts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Ar ts, is a nonprofit ar ts space in Washington, D.C. dedicated to exhibiting fine ar t that explores the innate connection between healing and creativity. Ar t can mend social, psychological, and physical ills by building community, inspiring change, and celebrating life.

The Ar t Advisor y is a ser vice of the Galler y that assists private collectors, corporations, and healthcare facilities in transforming their live and work environments into healing spaces. Ar t possesses the rare ability to transform a space by eliciting positive responses and promoting physical and mental health. Representing 20 ar tists working in a diversity of medium we offer clients a dynamic mix of works to select and build custom ar t collections. To learn more visit, smithcenter.org/advisory

A rotating exhibition schedule features contemporary, international and national ar tists addressing a diversity of significant themes, such as spirituality, social change, multiculturalism, health, environmentalism, and community. To learn more visit, smithcenter.org/gallery

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Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is a nonprofit health, education, and arts organization with a mission to develop and promote healing practices that explore physical, emotional, and mental resources that lead to life-affirming changes for people affected by cancer. Our work is based on a single profound idea – everyone harbors the innate ability to heal even in the face of life’s most serious challenges, and that ability to heal is enhanced by holistic approaches that include the healing power of the arts. We offer empowering programs and activities for adult survivors and caregivers, as well as support and creative resources for the community at large through our Integrative Patient Navigation Services; Weeklong and One-Day Cancer Retreats; Artist-In-Residence Program; exhibitions and lectures in the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery; Community Resource Center; and ongoing programs, classes and workshops at our U Street facility.


Smith Center for Healing and the Ar ts 1632 U Street, NW Washington, DC 20009 www.smithcenter.org 202.483.8600

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Introduction by Laura Roulet

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all. -Emily Dickinson The Alchemical Vessels exhibition and Benefit is fast becoming a revered tradition for the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Galler y and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Given identical blank “canvases,” one hundred and twenty-five D.C. area ar tists, chosen by twenty local curators, are asked to transform these plain white vessels in individual ways. Viewing the results of this year’s call, I am struck by the varied range of media and stylistic vocabularies represented. Through myriad inventive means, these ar tists convey messages of hope, human courage and transmutation. The theme of alchemy has a long, rich global history dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, China, India and the Islamic world. In the Western and Arabic traditions, the alchemist’s goal was to create a philosopher’s stone, which was the perfect integration of opposites, granting its maker the power to change base metals into gold, and even more elusively, to bestow immor tality. The medieval alchemist was par t priest, philosopher, and pharmacist. In some ways he was the precursor of our modern chemist or physician. Thus the theme of alchemy is par ticularly well suited for Smith Center, which suppor ts physical healing as a holistic process involving the ar ts. Many of the vessels here reference the history of alchemy. Some ar tists include the colors of alchemy − black, white, red and gold − in their work. The vessel itself is a symbol of alchemy, along with glass, metals and transformative fire. Exploration of the proper ties of the elements − ear th, fire, wind and water − plays a large role in the history of alchemy, dating from earliest effor ts to understand the composition of the physical world. The transformative Biblical event of Genesis is par t of the iconography of alchemy with the triad of darkness, light and water. Naturally the vessel is first of all a container, and some ar tists emphasize this function of holding water, represented by clear resin or by fish denoted as swimming in the bottom. Both fish and fowl appear frequently. The winged figure of Hermes or Mercury, linked to alchemy as the

messenger god and the quicksilver element, is alluded to via the imagery of birds and feathers chosen by many ar tists. Wings are also a sign of divinity, and the power to protect. Other vessels connote peace of mind through abstract imagery. Blues and greens are calming colors. Some ar tists draw on the archetypal meanings of geometric forms, with the circle of the vessel representing wholeness and the cosmos, as in the mandala or yantra. Jungian psychology draws this connection between universal archetypal forms and the alchemical study of sacred geometry. Flowers, herbs and other forms from nature remind us of the cycle of growth and rebir th, especially present during this time of year ; as well as the use of these plants by almost all cultures in healing. Several vessels incorporate actual materials from nature – the egg shell and silk spun by silk worms – to draw a closer connection between this ecological theme of the cycles of the natural world as reflected in the human world. The figure appears either as a por trait or as a vulnerable being ready for rejuvenation. The figurative imagery seems to reflect a sense of the process of healing: human fragility and also resilience. For many ar tists, the challenge of designing a vessel means working outside of their comfor t zones. Most are not ceramic ar tists with knowledge of how these bowl will respond to different materials. Some try to break the bounds of the bowl, expanding into the surrounding space. Some have literally broken the bowl into shards, only to be reconstructed, as in healing. The global roots of alchemy are reflected by the ar tists’ use of imagery drawn from the Asian, African, Indian, Nor th and South American traditions. It seems that vir tually all the world’s cultures are somehow represented in this exhibit. Whether using the language of symbols, abstraction, nature, or the figure, these ar tists speak to the universality of the goal of Smith Center: hope. Laura Roulet Independent Curator Washington, D.C. Alchemical Vessels 7

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it would be blue and phosphorescent by Irene Borger

“...with writing as the vessel the room became a refuge for our fabulous ship of fools...as long as everyone was there writing, we were all out of harm’s way, and our room became a shelter from the Blitz.” − from my introduction to From a Burning House: The AIDS Project Los Angeles Writers Workshop Collection, Washington Square Press, 1996 1. The image arrives: blue and phosphorescent, an amphora, ultramarine and stars, a night’s full moon at sea. 2. What if an alchemical vessel could be made from words? Would we incise inscrutable marks on thick clay slabs? Scratch ash on rolled parchment? Or pull out the childhood trick with invisible lemon juice letters set aflame? 3. Why is a vessel both a boat and a container? (And a nave a space both open and closed?) “What, if not transformation, is your urgent command?” Rilke asks nature. We, voyagers. 4. My mind flies. It slaloms and careens. That’s just the way it works. Leaping lizards, let my mind go where it is going and, sometimes, trains of thought become hold on to your seat swerving rides with the exhilaration of not knowing what will come. And when pictures arrive flashing too fast…this Pandora’s box of a clown car, shards tumbling out like children of the old woman who lived in an alchemical vessel of a shoe? Then the action of fixing words on the page (as list, as cluster, as wrap-around text) receives and contains them…and me too. 5. Creativity requires the ability to tolerate the anxiety of not knowing what will emerge. It requires both letting go and focus. Think of women pearl divers searching in those chilly waters. A practice. 6. Imagine an alchemical vessel composed of phrases and sentences with sound, not sense, the operative factor, the operatic factor ; then utterance would be udderance, and udder, sublime container, would be utterly sound...and, yes, words would hold water.

7. Containers are necessary to house the liminal. They allow - and protect - the unformed and unborn, the not yet hardened, the mutable. Listening is a container. Friendship, a gorgeous one too. The notebook where anything can be written is an alchemical vessel at your finger tips. 8. Numbers are containers. Word limits are containers. So much I’d like to share with you. My cup runneth over. 9. “Write with the door closed, edit with the door open,” wrote Stephen King. Anthony Burgess said his favorite place to write was a “300 room house on a 300 acre estate with no one at home.” And you? 10. The therapists’ door-closed office, with the constraint of time (“we have to stop now”) is a vessel. So is a sweat lodge. There, I needed to sit by the door ; once I had to bolt.” 11. If you look at engravings of medieval alchemical vessels you will see how they differ, some closed, others open at the top. How does the form of a vessel shape what is possible? 12. Wombs are the beginning, of course. But then there is the astonishing alchemy of human arms. What happens to the infant who is cradled in love…and one who is not. 13. The catalogue you hold in your hands is a vessel. And you, esteemed reader, a container for all of us within. (Thank you, yes, you, out there in space and time, for holding these words. We contain multitudes.) 14. My friend Sally Dixon, now in her 80’s, is an ar tist down to her core. You feel more awake and alive as soon as she opens the door. “Way will open,” she has told me is a Quaker expression she learned as a child. When she says this all feels possible. You want to talk to her. Irene Borger Writer, Teacher, and Director, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts Alchemical Vessels 9

Presenting the 2014 Alchemical Vessels Collection In the fall of 2012 we hatched an idea for an ar ts initiative that would expand beyond our space and into our surrounding community. Our aim was to introduce curators, ar tists, ar ts patrons, and visitors to Smith Center for Healing & the Ar ts, and to engage them in our mission to cultivate healing through the ar ts. Last year’s inaugural Alchemical Vessels exhibition exceeded our wildest expectations, bringing more than 900 visitors into the gallery. This year we are thrilled to present a new collection of 125 vessels, and we hope to share the healing power of the ar ts with even more members of our community, new and old! We were honored to collaborate with 20 new curators and 125 ar tists, each of whom opened themselves up and accepted our challenge to transform unconventional canvases into stunning works of ar t. We encourage you to consider the statements that many of the ar tists crafted to complement their vessels – they each sat with an identical, raw bowl and filled it with their individual stories. Last but not least, we must thank our sponsors, the D.C. Commission on Ar ts & Humanities and TD Bank, without whom this would not be possible. -Shanti Norris, Executive Director of Smith Center for Healing and the Ar ts & Brooke Seidelmann, Gallery Director of the Joan Hisaoka Healing Ar ts Gallery

Alchemical Vessels 2014 Curators: Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Educator, Philanthropist & Founder of the Duke Ellington School for the Arts Jar vis DuBois, Independent Curator & Principal of J. DuBois Arts Monica Jahan Bose, Ar tist & Activist Anne L’Ecuyer, Ar ts Management Faculty at American University Camille Mosley-Pasley, Photographer & Principal of Pasley Place Photography BG Muhn, Ar tist & Professor of Ar t at Georgetown University Michael O’Sullivan, Staff Writer at The Washington Post Frederick P. Ognibene, M.D., NIH Physician, Fine Ar t Collector & Past Board Chair of Washington Project for the Arts Michael B. Platt, Visual Ar tist Jennifer Riddell, Interpretive Projects Manager at the National Galler y of Art Adah Rose, Principal of Adah Rose Galler y Laura Roulet, Independent Curator & Writer Molly Rupper t, Ar tist & Gallery Director at the Warehouse Theater Terr y Scott, Cultural Organizer & Independent Curator Judy J. Sherman, Ar t Consultant & Principal of j fine art Thomas Stanley, PhD., Professor at George Mason University Nuzhat Sultan, Independent Curator Tim Tate, Ar tist & Co-Director of the Washington Glass School R.L. Tillman, Ar tist, Teacher & Curator Dolly Vehlow, Fine Ar t Collector & Principal of Galler y O on H

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Alchemical Vessels 2014 Artists: Eames Armstrong Sardar Aziz Karen Baer Elizabeth Baldwin Michele Banks Joseph Barbaccia Carolyn Becker Jessica Beels Joan Belmar Lori Anne Boocks Monica Jahan Bose Anne Bouie Amy Braden Nancy Bratton Julia Brown Karen O. Brown Larr y Poncho Brown Amanda Burnham Lenny Campello Shanthi Chandrasekar Mei Mei Chang Peter Charles Asma Chaudhary Travis Childers Eunmee Chung Wesley Clark Chanel Compton Mike Corigliano Candy Cummings Joel D’Orazio David D’Orio Anna U Davis Tamara De Silva Rosetta DeBerardinis Elsabe Dixon Chelsea Dober t-Kehn Thomas Drymon Nekisha Durrett Victor Ekpuk Laura Elkins Dana Ellyn Benay Fallin

Felisa Federman Jeremy Flick Suzi Fox Barbara Frank (with Bill Adair) Nancy Frankel Shaunté Gates Dawn Gavin Bita Ghavami Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter Melissa Glasser Janis Goodman Patricia Goslee Sherill Anne Gross John Grunwell Nelson Gutierrez Kristen Hayes Eve Hennessa Sean Hennessey Linda Hesh Matt Hollis Leslie Holt Jessica Hopkins Karen Hubacher Kevin Hunt Barbara Johnson Wayson R. Jones J’Nell Jordan Mila Kagan Sumita Kim Joan Konkel Yaroslav Koporulin Kate Kretz Randall Lear Yue Li Nathan Loda Armando Lopez-Bircann Laurel Lukaszewski J.W. Mahoney J.J. McCracken Donald McCray Jayme McLellan Tendani Mpulubusi El

Kiri Nakamura Komelia H. Okim Amie Oliver Anthony Palliparambil Luis Peralta Michael Platt Maryanne Pollock Lynn Putney Maria-Lana Queen Beverly Ress Kim Reyes Glenn Richardson Marie Ringwald Pam Rogers Lisa Rosenstein Nicole Salimbene Matt Sesow Samantha Sethi Shahin Shikhaliyev Ellen Sinel Casey Snyder Susan Stacks Dafna Steinberg Jennifer Strunge Lynn Sures Lynn Sylvester Ira Tattleman Christine Tillman Erwin Timmers Ben Tolman Novie Trump Shinji Turner-Yamamoto Laurie Tylec Michael Verdon Jodi Walsh Jenny Walton Ellyn Weiss Stephanie Williams Audrey Wilson Sharon Wolpoff Carmen C. Wong & Niell DuVal

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Eames Armstrong Fissure / Prelude / Detritus Flowers and mixed media Matt cast a salt circle while I powdered my body. He veiled me in plastic and taped a bouquet to my arm, bound my other arm behind me and taped my ankles together. He covered his face in mud masque, marked his orifices with a health symbol, and marked a scar on my leg in red lipstick. We popped and chugged and choked on bottles of champagne. He cut me loose. We kicked out the circle and left. We performed Fissure Prelude at the Fountain Ar t Fair presented by Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn on March 7, 2014. I carried the dying flowers with me from New York to my studio in DC. I filled the bowl with the flowers which had covered me. I coated them in fixative to preserve them and white paint to transform them. I want to take the ephemera of the performance out of its transition through decay and bring it closer to the open place of memory. The vessel keeps the remains.

Sardar Aziz Inner Season Oil paint Healing begins when one star ts seeing pleasant weather within.

Elizabeth Baldwin Rising like a phoenix Nails, beads, shells, hardware, and apoxie sculpt Alchemy and the process of Alchemy triggers in me thoughts of fire which then makes me think about re-bir th and star ting over which makes me think of the Phoenix. The strongest people in my life who have come back from their setbacks (either with sickness, financial or personal) have come back-spectacularly- with the 2nd Act of their lives. New careers, new hobbies, new (or strengthened) relationships with friends and family. They have gone through their trial of fire and come through stronger, more beautiful, and an inspiration of what good change can bring.

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Karen Baer Cancer, The Divine Comedy Acrylic paint, gel, paste, pearl-ex powder, foil, glass and stone beads, and brass wire Cancer, The Divine Comedy INFERNO Biopsy, chaos, the descent begins. Transformed from a healer to a wounded healer. This is the start of the practicum, the alchemical journey. Instead of Virgil and Beatrice my guides are Lucia and Lenore. Make the sacrifice. Surgery, cutting, pulverizing. I might be redeemed. In my vessel - distillation, chemotherapy, purification, radiation, and transmutation. I continue my journey through the Inferno. I anticipate the climb through Purgatorio to Paradiso. I am held in the mystery. PURGATORIO With a sense of repentance and acceptance I wonder. Will people come in? Will people go away? Is the sky blue? Is the sky gray? Is the fatigue here to stay? The sun comes out. A calm descends. Angels bring hope. Only love can take us through. PARADISO In the Garden of Eden gaze into the sun. Meeting of the opposites: sun and moon, dark and light, death and life. Healing, hope, silence, gold! One in many, many in one. Returning spirit to the body. Union with soul. Transformed. Divine love. Michele Banks Blood Vessel Paint and decoupage My concept and design are both very simple. I was thinking of several friends who, through illness or accident, have needed infusions of blood to keep them alive. In those situations, that donated blood was more precious than gold. This bowl represents blood as a priceless gift of life. Transfusions are a kind of alchemy that take cells from one person and use them to restore life to another.

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Joseph Barbaccia Sacred Heart Polymer clay For millennium people believed the hear t has had curative power.

Carolyn Becker My Life As A Vessel Enamel, house paint, spray paint, miscellaneous jewelry, and knick-knacks from my room This vessel is a shrine of myself. It encapsulates me and who I am. I see beauty in excess. I see beauty in tchotchkes. I feel a sense of joy and relief when I collect tons of little pretty old and new tokens of my experiences. I like to collect little objects, I can never have enough.

Jessica Beels All that Glitters Acrylic inks, encaustic medium, metal leaf, and mica Our perception of an object changes depending on what we bring to it at the moment of encounter. Each viewing potentially adds a layer of understanding and self-discovery. This mandala offers an oppor tunity to meditate on both the form and the symbolism of an ordered but ambiguous space. It incorporates many alchemical symbols, including those for fire, water, ear th, and air, as well as the sun. Two triangles combine to form a six-pointed star – a cross-cultural symbol of unity, balance, and creation, among other meanings. The metal leaf (brass masquerading as gold) and mica (for centuries used for the glitter effect of cosmetics) warn of the lure of false prizes. However, gold and mica also represent strength (both literal and figurative) under extreme heat and pressure.

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Joan Belmar Changing of the Guard Acr ylic paint, ink, and gouache Time, change and movement are crucial in my work (Chile, March 11th, 2014).

Lori Anne Boocks Event Horizon Acr ylic paint and charcoal Moving my hands inside the vessel added another layer of meaning for me as an ar tist and as someone who has experienced health issues. I needed to dig in deeper than I would on flat canvas, and my actions were more contained. This containment could mean isolation, focus, or security. I also had to adjust my techniques for the ceramic surface, reminding me that illness can force us to learn new ways of doing things that used to be second nature. When physical or mental health slips from us, an invisible point is created along a continuum, the length of which varies depending on our illness, environment, personalities, and perhaps genetics or coincidence. This vessel attempts to visualize the moment that weird magic happens, a point of no return that changes us for better or worse. We are transformed, never to be the same again. After being struck, we may encounter relapse, recovery, and even death along this line. The event might be passed on to our children through our genes, and it usually impacts our relationships with others. We become the alchemy, the agents of change—good, bad, or indifferent. The event becomes another thread in the story of you.

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Monica Jahan Bose Core Hand-built porcelain, graphite, and acrylic paint By incorporating hand-formed fragile porcelain sculpture and pencil drawing into the bowl given to me, I extend my body and energy into the bowl, transforming it into a psychologically charged sculptural object. It is an outgrowth of my recent drawings, etchings, and installations, which investigate gender, sexuality, and power. The piece explores the impulse and pleasure in working with clay and other tactile materials, mimicking the pleasure and sensitivity of the female body. The thin porcelain center is akin to flesh, skin, and bone, suggesting a narrative about the cycle of life and personal and collective memories. “Core” speaks to female energy and our centrality to the planet and healing, questioning women’s roles as mere passive vessels.

Anne Bouie “Be ye wise…” Mixed media, beading, and mor tar Since time out of mind, across cultures and peoples, wisdom, healing, transformation and the ability to see behind the veil have been attributed to the serpent. The serpent was a symbol of healing to the Greeks, of transmutation to Native Americans, and the guardian of creation in Haiti. On occasion, I have had a snake appear within my eyesight, or found a skin shed on my path. I do not care to be up close and personal with them at all. However,I have been taught that it is a good oppor tunity to reflect on my life and times and to ask The Creator for right thought, direction and action. It is unsettling to accept that the only constant is change, and the only thing I control is my response to it. The colors of this vessel reference the deity of transformation, the whirlwind, and the still, small voice. It may be used in ceremonies that mark change of any sor t. The alchemy of this vessel is realizing that unhealthy beliefs and habits be released just as a serpent sheds its skin. It is a reminder that one can move through change with poise, peace, and grace. Amy Braden Standing at the Foot of Grief Mountain (Sometimes Healing Means Learning to Live Without) Plaster, clay, acrylic paint, and UV resistant sealer In regards to the theme of this show, I attached strongly to the idea of transformation-- conceptually illness transforms lives in myriad ways. Formally, I wanted to transform the bowl into a new environment, separate from the idea of a bowl. I also attached to the memory of a beloved friend who died from pancreatic cancer 2 years ago. My piece is a tribute to her. The dominant color in the work is Pantone’s 2014 color of the year “Radiant Orchard,” as Maura was always seen in lavender this color represents her. The small spheres littered throughout the piece represent human life she created, in direct ways (the 6 standing on the mountain are her children), and indirect ways (the spheres placed around the mountains represent her husband and grandchildren). I watch these lives she created struggle through their intense grief, I see them beginning to heal and want to remind the audience that sometimes healing means learning to live without. Alchemical Vessels 18

Nancy Bratton Little Treasures by the Sea Watercolor, pastel, and clay This vessel represents transformation and how nature can be calming and meditative such as a walk along tidal pools at sunset searching for shells and other little treasures. As the sun goes down the shadows and colors shift. As the tide rolls in the rock formations slowly fill with pools of water and come to life with living creatures.

Karen O. Brown The Alchemy of Community Wood, acrylic paint, watercolor, Conte crayon, wire, paste paper and metal From the smallest cells to asteroids and stars, communities are full of movement and forces that affect those around them, sometimes for only a moment but at other times, for many generations to come. As anar tist, I strive to contribute creatively to communities - helping to nur ture and establish an environment where individuals and groups feel valued, productive and reach their highest potential.

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Julia Brown Impermanent Acrylic paint

Larry Poncho Brown Be Still Watercolor and graphite From the womb to the tomb there comes moment in time where it is required to re-center the mind, body, and spirit. “Be Still” and return to that sacred space and find balance. From that vantage point, you are most powerful and closest to the creator.

Amanda Burnham Wordplay Ink For my “Alchemical Vessel” I reflected on the alchemical nature of words. Much of my work addresses a par ticular fascination I have for the fluid and ambiguous proper ties of language, par ticularly given the par ticularities of context. A road sign seen peripherally and misread while speeding past; conversational fragments overheard amidst a din; phrases formed through the unplanned juxtaposition of found text in the landscape - the space between communicative intent and receipt is rich with gorgeous potential.

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Lenny Campello Suddenly She Discovered That She Wasn’t Afraid Any Longer Charcoal This surface and shape is a perfect oppor tunity to showcase someone breaking free from their fear – she takes a leap into the new.

Mei Mei Chang A Special Kind of Keeping Mixed media Clouds cannot be held. Streams cannot be stopped. New growth will rise from the living root. Losing, yielding, releasing.. each is a special kind of keeping.

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Shanthi Chandrasekar Kolam Acr ylic paint Kolam drawing is an everyday ritual among Tamil women. These beautiful patterns of dots and lines are drawn on the ground in front of houses at sunrise and sunset with rice flour. The dots represent the challenges in a woman’s life while the lines show her ability to weave around them. The dots and lines are also thought to represent Shiva-Shakthi or the male and female energies. The cyclic creation and destruction of kolams serve as a constant reminder of the impermanence of life. During their shor t existence, the kolam, being composed of rice flour, is said to feed a thousand souls, from birds to insects, and leads to good Karma. The spiral in the background of the bowl embodies the passage of time. Its imperfections represent both smooth and rough periods. Kolams have always been a constant source of my strength and have given me hope and comfor t. They have helped me navigate through difficult periods and continue to help me see the beauty in life at all times. Despite the awareness that the Kolam will eventually get destroyed, we put in the effor t to create the best we can – just as we do with our lives.

Peter Charles Blue Snake Acr ylic paint The Snake as an ancient symbol of healing.

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Asma Chaudhary Jeetay Raho (Urdu for “Live in Prosperity”) Ceramic bowl, light bulb, plastic clasp, and extension cord My interpretation of an alchemical vessel involves transforming the characteristics of a ceramic bowl into a lamp. I am intrigued by concepts of dual functionality and repurposing found objects. This piece exudes luminance from within so the vessel is saturated with light and air that peeks through the delicately drilled holes. The lamp casts small circular shadows on nearby walls and the floor, almost resembling a constellation of stars or bubbles in the air. Its namesake is derivative of a traditional South Asian expression, which essentially donates well wishes to the recipient.

Travis Childers Vesselscape Model train landscape material, foam, and gel medium My vessel is par t of a series about man’s relationship with nature. I recreate landscapes on everyday objects as if the landscapes were trying take them over like we take over natural areas. When I received my vessel to work with I instantly thought of a hidden, fur tile valley. The vessel became a cradle for some natural area. The vessel is similar to how we interact with nature, we hold it’s fate in our hands and can destroy it if we wish or preserve it.

Wesley Clark For the Living Marker, polycrylic, oil paint, and shellac I see this work existing on the fringes of the “prayer bowl” realm. The alchemy taking place is one of perception. These seemingly distant conceptual worlds of religious iconography and graffiti, as well as materially distant - markers and oil paint – converge to create a modern relic. With a launch pad of the Virgin Mary, and graffiti-style “tagging”, I began to think about the cross-section of traditional and nontraditional concepts of reverence, worship, family, belief, history, and icons. Tagging ones own name or that of their family/crew can be seen as one’s desire to be remembered and/or an act of power by claiming a space. Placing that act in a bowl with a potential Virgin Mary-like image superimposed over it brings about a sense of worship or reverence to these names. Where worship and reverence exist, the conversation of belief systems, icons, and history are never far behind.

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Eunmee Chung The spectrum of cancer cells Cotton-mache, wood, ottchil, silver leaf, and mother of pearl powder As a metal ar tist and jewelry designer, I attempt to create aesthetically prominent works of ar t that embody my personal stories and social consciousness. After getting through my personal physical trauma of cancer, I turned to more content-based works, which expanded into a public discourse on public hygiene, health issues, the environment, and human sustainability. I didn’t want to treat cancer as ominous and monstrous, but as an unavoidable consequence of our daily lives. I wanted to not only observe the painful experiences, but to fur ther express ar tistically the concept of encouragement by showing the juxtaposition of frustration and hope. Through the presentation of different color-shaped cancers that were designated by the Cancer Society, my works provide an arena of awareness and appreciation. I developed uses Korean traditional material ottchil (the sap of poison ivy lacquer) for coloring objects. It is an ancient oriental lacquer technique traditionally used on furniture, utensils and wooden craft objects. I believe it is a great painting technique to introduce to the western ar t field because of its durability and appropriate coloring consequence.

Mike Corigliano Dislocated Ear thenware, stoneware, silicone, and wire As a ceramic ar tist I have always believed that vessels are analogous to the human form. Yet it was not until I began to destruct and construct this vessel that I realized the truth in the metaphor. Just as the maker leaves their own distinct mark in clay, life too bares its own distinct marks on us as individuals and families. With each trauma a new scar is formed and a memory is etched into our personality. We heal, rebuild and with the wisdom of the past we journey into the future. Damaged or not we still function and struggle on.

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Chanel Compton Writing Myself into Existence Mixed Media (Gel Medium, Acrylic Paint, Paper, Wood) I remember seeing a documentary about Emmett Till when I was around 10 years old. Within my youthful imagination, I wanted to magically travel back in time and warn Emmett of danger ; to tell him to stay in Chicago with his mother where he would be safe. This alchemical vessel is a visual metaphor for my desire to keep Emmett Till alive and Emmett’s desire to come back to us, emerging from the layers of time and tragedy. Four teen-year-old Emmett Till was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, on August 24, 1955, when he repor tedly flir ted with a white female cashier at a grocery store. Four days later, two white men kidnapped Till, tor tured him and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them. Till’s murder and open casket funeral galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement. Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois and was the last and only child of Louis and Mamie Till. Candy Cummings Leonardo’s Conundrum Silver and copper As an Ar tist I have taught myself to think outside the box. However, when resented with the prospect of a Bowl as an Alchemical Vessel, I could not think outside the Bowl! Leonardo took over and captured my Imagination, holding it hostage! What I have to offer you here is the Formula for turning metals (silver and copper) into Gold! I only hope that none of the other 125 ar tists know the Formula. I am currently working with Mr. Einstein on the probability of just that!

Anna U Davis The Big “C” Ink and acrylic paint The big “C” The ground disappeared I was drowning slowly paralyzed, not knowing How do I? How do I? Unexpected travels to a Cherry Blossom Sky Overwhelming beauty soon lay to die Life ephemeral How do I? How do I? Staying afloat Cherry Blossom Sky One more day, one more day I am here to stay

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Chelsea Dobert-Kehn Participation Is the Key to Enjoyment Stripped mulberry twigs, book pages, and acrylic wash Awaken your awareness to the beauty around you. This vessel, inspired by the healing powers of nature and the written word, activates the imagination. Mulberry twigs, stripped of their protective bark, float in mid air. Blossoming from the center is a book, crafted from nature guides and poetry. This book is filled with knowledge of Ear th and its inhabitants, and written word transplanted from poetry and fictional novels. Spend time with it, and allow the petals to create a longing within you for the wonder of Ear th.

Joel D’Orazio Radiant Metal disk, spray paint & glass beads, acrylic, chrome cone, and thin metal disks In my design the focus is on the centering of oneself to mirror all our thoughts toward the light. My bowl contains only good cells that are positioned with the power to cure. The center reflective element casts back this good energy and magnifies it’s power in waging this battle to heal. This vessel thus contains nourishment with the recipe to reverse and kill all that is toxic. After receiving this bowl I learned that my brother in law has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I dedicate my healing vessel to Alan Kresse, Steve Mee and Wendy Meuller, all currently fighting this disease.

David D’Orio It was not the truth. Mixed media I am interested in ideas and how they are constructed and function within the social structure in which they are created. I frequently use found objects, blown glass, and industrial materials to create symbolic imagery. My choice of materials, the method of construction, and the mode of representation are determined by the larger idea and the inherent cultural connotation that the material provide. I employ duplication, repetition, multiples and an emphasis on material to evoke the feeling of factory or mass produced objects. Inspired by and parodying scientific devices, industrial machinery, delivery bikes, and children’s toys; my imagery is a mixture of the metaphoric, absurd, ironic, and dystopic.

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Tamara De Silva Let Go Of Spiritual Blindness Clay slips, low fire ceramic glazes, shells, and terracotta clay When I star ted my preliminary work, I had an enormous challenge in my personal life. The timing of the “alchemy” in my life is very much appreciated, so then I focused on clarity. I hope to offer a clear view into a metaphysical space. For instance, the Yoruba creation story offers intense symbolism and a very clear explanation of the beginning, in the unseen world. My creative take on alchemical vessels, honors Ifa and the physical components of the Yoruba pantheon. Ifa a system of divination, works with Orisha to assist in daily life and the energies the Ifa priest needs to divine. The Orishas are the manifestations of god. This spirituality was born in Nigeria and because of the African diaspora it lives in the Caribbean, the U.S., Cuba and Brazil. The sculpted head symbolizes the powers that can suppor t man’s effor ts to improve his own life. It is Esu and it is the Ori, where the diviner focuses to reach the ancestral guardians of the clients. I honor the Ifa priest who makes a physical connection with the metaphysical world. The cowry shells are symbolic of the positive units used by the priest to cast, information can be read and activities predicted. The symbols painted convey cultural meaning. The face represents Orunmila and Eshu, the brown is ear th wood, and the blues are water.

Rosetta DeBerardinis Nippon Acrylic, glass bead gel and pumice gel My vessel is influenced by a love of antique porcelain shared with my grandmother who was a collector. First, I drew a circle a bit off- center to denote where healing begins. I then created a hand painted tapestry using vibrant color, shape and line. During the process, I refrained from using toxins like cigarettes and alcohol to begin my own healing process. The exterior is cloaked in a pumice gel combined with pebbly glass beads and adorned with airy colorful gestural strokes resembling needlepoint. ‘Nippon’ is a vessel for protection, energy and freedom. It appears aged to illustrate the time on ear th we all spend trying to heal.

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Elsabe Dixon Smoke and Mirrors: A Symbol of the Soul Worn spun Silk Filament, mirror, and oil based paint Through the physical work of sericulture practice, the experience of manipulating living organisms to produce a silk filament before metamorphoses as well as the spiritual expression of ritual in time, this alchemic vessel interpret and overlap energies of labor and action. Transformative energies are not instantaneously. The open vessel is capable of containing material, time, as well as a synthesis of polarities. Consciousness and understanding can transform our means of interaction with that which is seen as well as felt. Similar processes take place in respect to our interior life through the exercises of inner distillation and mirroring the object.

Thomas Drymon The Process of Being Coffee and acrylic paint For me, the most impor tant par t of the transformative nature of this exhibition was the changes I sought to manifest in myself as alchemical vessel. The bowl was the symbol of effor ts to find balance after a difficult year ; to seek out quiet in a loud world; and to reconnect to my ar t practice. I chose coffee as my medium because it is par t of my morning routine and is so evocative. I did two things with it: poured coffee into the bowl and swirled it around slowly and methodically, trying to control the depth of the staining and the subsequent rings around the bowl, letting the repetition sooth out the rough edges of the day; or allowed coffee to sit in the bowl itself until it was fully absorbed and evaporated. This par t of the practice required patience. Then my first bowl broke. What you have left is the result of adapting to the circumstances of the broken bowl. A new bowl, conceived in the same way, with remnants of the first inside— stained, broken and mended.

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Nekisha Durrett Contemplating Golden Flower, 2014 Clay, acrylic paint, and resin Contemplating Golden Flower is inspired by the Chinese Taoist book, The Secret of the Golden Flower -- a Zen text describing in great detail a meditation formula of sitting, breathing and contemplating leading to ultimate illumination. The poetic text describes the stages of Golden Flower meditation as a process gathering light. The practice is consistent, repetitive and mundane -- much like Durrett’s process of transforming this ceramic white bowl. The interior of the bowl was painted black. A layer of resin was poured in and, when cured, white paint was applied in the shape of a 1” petal several times creating a closed circle. Another layer of resin is poured, cured and painted on. The cycle repeats until the white paint touches the the bowl’s side. For Durrett, the act of painting a top each layer of resin represents the accumulation of light. Without the layers of paint there is only blackness - the absence of light. It is her hope that the experience of the viewer, however, varies from that of her own. She perceives the blackness as a hole representing the emptiness that must be transformed with light. Presumably, the viewer experiences the dominating white paint (light) foremost and is led through the vessel and into the whole of blackness -- the space wherein the The Golden Light is to be ultimately projected.

Laura Elkins i’m lovin’ it (Self as Hillar y) Acrylic paint and cardboard box i’m lovin’ it (Self as Hillary) is a miniature of a painting in the series Fast Food, which addresses the plight of minimum wage workers. Fast Food is the latest work in The White House Collection, self-por traits as First Ladies. By embracing First Lady imagery I paint self-por traits that are contemporary and personal, while inherently historical and political. The work addresses social and cultural issues, including current events, while maintaining the everywoman quality of the self-por trait. By dangling between the images of First Ladies and my own reflection, I have a framework to explore the conundrum that is America, as an individual woman living within that riddle. I began addressing that riddle many years ago when I was laying the foundation of my practice. At that time I lived in the American Southwest, where I immersed myself in the Native cultures around me, while studying mythology and Jungian psychology. Erich Neumann’s The Great Mother and The Origins and History of Consciousness, and The Transformative Vision: The Nature and History of Human Expression by José Arguelles, are among the works that guided me towards developing a transformative vision of ar t that continues to inform my work today.

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Victor Ekpuk Incantations Porcelain paint We hope for the power of thoughts and the words of our mouth to heal us.

Dana Ellyn “Look Me in the Eye and Tell Me I’m Delicious” Acr ylic paint Dana Ellyn is a vegan ar tist who often uses animals in her work with the hope of making people think about where their food comes from. A cute pig along with the words “Look Me in the Eye and Tell Me I’m Delicious,” transforms this simple bowl into an alchemic vessel because the food we eat plays a tremendous role in our health and well being. Our society is so removed from the sources of our food … grocery stores are filled with shrink-wrapped neatly trimmed meat. We use words like “bacon” and “steak” but don’t think about the pigs and cows those products came from. Paul McCar tney said it perfectly: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Benay Fallin The Universe Within Acr ylic paint, wire, and polymer clay Orbiting throughout the universe are the alchemical vessels that suppor t and sustain those who are aboard. The natural habitat of our planet, and a transcendent connection with all par ts of the ear th’s existence, including that which is man-made, could be made to work synergistically for the extreme long-term. As a par t of that journey, if we were to achieve a planetary coexistence based on total human population, with a goal of creating a common standard of living, in the absence of money, it would open up space for humanity to intensely focus on the advance of medical science. The phantastical world I have imagined and created exists like a microcosm in time. New territory to be discovered and potential energies waiting to be tapped, the universe within is an alchemical vessel whose world offers abundance for life.

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Felisa Federman Hidden chains Acrylic paint, varnish, sisal, fabric, and modeling paste I was very glad to have the oppor tunity to par ticipate in this project. As a cancer survival ar tist I only made a series of paintings related with my own healing process while I had my chemo treatment. The Chinese word/symbol for crisis means danger and hidden oppor tunity. For me that was the key in my recuperation. For this alchemical vessel I present a metaphor of pathways towards healing through the “hidden oppor tunity idea.” Endurance, patience, responsibility, fairness, hope, solidarity and love are the ideas thread into the three big fiber chains inside the vessel. The hear t is the center empowering the blue snake/ organ shape gracefully slithering the chains through golden waters. Like a constant process, discover y, evolution. This inner landscape image connects with movement body-mind and spirit. I just read a Marcel Proust quote “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who our souls blossom”. Inside this vessel the hear t is conscious of the treasures around us, our awareness of happiness flourish and makes the feeling of being alive more powerful and connected with nature.

Jeremy Flick Contrapuntal Vessel Acrylic paint In my recent paintings, I have become interested in using anonymous, repeatable-pattern based images sourced from the Internet. The paintings consciously engage the overlapping relationship of the physical object and the allusive digital source through the highly structured but playful notion of counterpoint in music. In referring to counterpoint, John Rahn, Professor of Music at the University of Washington states: It is hard to write a beautiful song. It is harder to write several individually beautiful songs that, when sung simultaneously, sound as a more beautiful polyphonic whole. The internal structures that create each of the voices separately must contribute to the emergent structure of the polyphony, which in turn must reinforce and comment on the structures of the individual voices. The way that is accomplished is...’counterpoint.’ Onto my vessel, I have transposed a minimal composition of ver tical stripes. The flat two-dimensional stripes must contor t themselves to limitations imposed by the three-dimensional circular vessel. In order to maintain the appearance of being straight, the stripes must curve themselves around the sloping sides to imitate the contour of the bowl. The finished work attempts to achieve a melodic interaction between the two discordant, but individually beautiful elements of the painted image and the physical object to produce a more beautiful alchemical vessel. Alchemical Vessels 31

Suzi Fox Untitled Mixed Media As a sculptor my work examines the action of making by exploring a material’s inherent char teristics and learning how to employ these to generate my ar t. For the Alchemical Vessel I was interested in deconstructing the unglazed ceramic bowl and reconstructing the pieces back together. Breaking the bowl was a leap of faith that left me the challenge of finding a way to repair the broken form. I sutured the pieces back together by drilling holes into the ceramic shards and reconnecting them with copper wire. The material of copper was specifically chosen with its direct connection to alchemy and the body. Copper is found in the body and is known as a conductor of energy. It is one of the seven metals associated with alchemy and its alchemical symbol reminds me of a sewing stitch. I relate the vessel with the body and skin, the surface of the vessel is etched to loosely resemble the pattern of skin that is being sutured back together whole.

Barbara Frank (with Bill Adair) Intention and Coincidence Mixed media This bowl was intended to be a mirror that transformed itself into you when your eyes looked into it, or the room behind you, or the friend beside you. Or, it was a mirror that reflected clear images of fasciated pussy willow branches that pierced the smooth, smooth surface; or the twigs that floated above the silvered surface suspended on gold wires twisted about them. But the mirror never appeared despite attempts with metallic paints, mirrored Mylar, silver plate, concave mirrors, mirror shards. I gave up. The inside and outside were covered with aluminum leaf, scraped off the outside re-painted with resist, Prussian blue. The holes were drilled. They wouldn’t accept the willow branches, which then dried up. Attempting to fulfill the original intention transposed the vessel into an object with two delicious surfaces and three blunt, but cryptic holes. Are they a coincidental reference to ancient cultures? To Mimbres funerary pottery? These ancient South Western peoples placed bowls over the heads of the dead found in burial pits dug beneath their floors, the bowls pierced so the spirit could find its way to escape the body.

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Nancy Frankel Alchemical Bowl Mixed media I understand alchemy as a process or as an attempt to create gold out of lesser metals, to create something precious and beautiful out of the ordinary. My bowl is a metaphor for life, a blank shape waiting to be transformed by events and responses. In my bowl, the dark dividers suggest cracks in the bowl, disruptive forces in a life. The forms they create contain patterns and interconnections which represent adaptation and ways to enhance the created forms. The circles and the delicate curved lines intersecting them are repeated in different sizes and relationships, contrasting with the strong lines creating the various forms. Colors are varied and repeated helping to create a unified whole. Each form creates a new aspect of life and becomes an integral par t of the whole. So what began as destructive cracks threatening to destroy the bowl become the framework for new life with intricate patterns of connection and beauty.

Shaunté Gates Now Acrylic paint and resin By exposing water to a par ticular word or piece of music, freezing it, and photographing the ice crystals formed, Dr. Masaru Emoto has shown that from beautiful words and music, come beautiful crystals, and from mean-spirited, negative words, come malformed and misshapen crystals. What is the significance? It becomes clear when we remember that the adult human body is approximately 70% water. We can be hur t emotionally and, as the water can be changed, for the worse physically by negativity. However, we are always closer to beauty and good health when surrounded by positive thoughts, words, intentions and ultimately those vibrations. “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion...As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.” - Eckhar t Tolle

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Dawn Gavin Basin Collage and acrylic paint I approached the vessel as a geological basin. The fragmented maps depict a variety of watersheds, rivers, lakes, tributaries and other bodies of water from across the globe. The random pattern of circles can also be interpreted as colander or sieve, through which water drains.

Bita Ghavami This is Water Polyester resin and found plastic fish figurine In alchemy, the transmutation of lead to gold may be viewed as a metaphor for the purification, or growth, of the Self. This inner transformation cannot be achieved without outer experience. Here, the fish is the Self and water is outer experience. This piece draws from the Persian cultural tradition of displaying a goldfish in a bowl as a symbol for new life on Norouz (new year’s day, which celebrates the spring equinox, rebir th, and regrowth), as well as a published commencement speech by author David Foster Wallace (for which the piece is entitled).

Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter A Celebration of Life Collage, acr ylic paint, and colored pencil Inspiration creates a type of alchemy. There are those who conduct this precious energy, and share it generously. They compel themselves to think beyond limitations, to complete activities they at one time thought impossible, to discover compassion before ignored or unnoticed. There are those that search for and share things beautifully profound while celebrating life. Through these people, onlookers imagine themselves, and discover new life perspectives. Facing life’s challenges they move with resolve and tenacity. What an inspiration!

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Melissa Glasser My Alchemical Vessel Girl Acr ylic Paint This vessel demonstrates a woman in prayer pose, infused with healing, colored light and marked by symbols to aid in her transformation. In prayer pose she becomes centered, aligned, and unified, at once interconnected and solitary. The colored light moves through and around her like breath that creates peace and vitality. The spirit and principles of alchemy occur twice. First, the ar tist infuses her perception of healing energy into the vessel. Then the observer witnesses the vessel and perhaps absorbs the intended energy, feels the colors move through him or her and imagines the self, quietly whole and integrated. The obser ver becomes like the girl. Herein we find transformations of what was once a plain bowl, perhaps to be used traditionally, re-imagined and configured to become a por trait, a narrative, a directive, meditative icon or suggestion of a path. Janis Goodman Flying Geese Acrylic paint and mixed media The symbol of the flying geese is meant to create an atmosphere of expanding worlds, literal movement and discover y. I see it as an alchemical vessel in that it represents infinite possibilities and the soaring of the spirit, mind and creativity. The geese follow a traditional path yet have a journey that star ts and finishes just as the human condition does.

Patricia Goslee bared chest Scorched bowl from burned notebooks, pay stubs, mantras and prayers; hardware cloth, lace, shell, and telephone wire Space opened up.

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Sherill Anne Gross Koi Pond Cut Paper Koi fish are long believed in Japan to be symbols of strength, perseverance, and good luck. In Buddhist symbolism they represent courage. In Chinese traditions they symbolize aspirations and advancement. In modern cultures koi fish are used as a form of relaxation. In order to heal from anything you need all of these things to come together.

John Grunwell Alchemical Entelechy Acrylic paint and paint pen Coined by Aristotle, an entelechy can be characterized as a “the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized,” or a “vital force that directs an organism toward self-fulfillment.” Much of my current work concerns itself with formally representing the multitude of physical, psychological and spiritual forces that shape all orders of being, the alchemical synergy of forces and conditions meeting in time and space.

Nelson Gutierrez Mandala Ink and pencil Mandala invokes a contemplative state of introspection, for the ar tist as well as the viewer. The word mandala itself is Sanskrit for “circle” and the ar t form has been used in Southern Asia to establish sacred space, focus meditative attention, and even denote unified political formations. An intensely meditative focus was channeled to create each unique symbol, comprised of repetitive, uniform illustrations of a single figure around a center point. The repetition augments the idea of meditation and intensifies the beauty of the motionless figure.

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Kristen Hayes Universal Spirit Tree Vessel Acr ylic paint, oil pastels, spray paint, and hand-made paper The idea of this open vessel, or crucible, containing levels of spirit that assist in rebir th is what I am dealing with in this work. Encapsulated and protected by a “spirit tree”, this higher frequency of energy is represented by various circles of color, bringing and transferring to its user all that is considered freedom and love. In par ticular, the paper circles signify this energy or spirit being released, as light as a feather, for the sake of cleansing and renewal. The presence of the celestial principle, Mother Nut, who resides as the Grandmother of the Universe—the female aspect of the Creator, in ancient Egyptian, or Khemetic, philosophy, suggests the idea that all creation begins in the womb and spreads out like the branches of a tree. This creation or rebir th happens inside of the alchemical vessel, as the vessel itself is a womb of sor ts, brewing new energy that awaits to be discovered and utilized.

Eve Hennessa Bad Break-Up Ceremony; alchemical transmutation with ceramic bowl Smoke and ash I did a process piece using this bowl as an actual alchemical vessel with which, through ceremony, I transmuted base energies surrounding a traumatic break-up into strength, wisdom and love. I put the vessel into the ground under a tree in Rock Creek Park, and left it there for 2 weeks. The Ear th is an energy balancer. Her magnetic forces and ionic activity bring balance; the darkness and silence bring rest and renewed outlook. There was a death, burial and resurrection. After digging it out, I washed it in the cleansing & healing waters of the creek. I made a fire and put the vessel on it. I spoke all of my regrets, sadness, anger, humiliation, slander, gossips and put everything unwanted into the bowl and watched it burn. The fire burned and broke the vessel. {In the video notice that when I said ‘break up’ the bowl broke in two and looked like 2 moon faces.} I was not making ar t, but healing my hear t. Serendipitously, someone came and star ted to drum. I did a dance and it was finished. I felt this whole hear t breaking ordeal was removed from my body, replaced by peace and strength. The video of the ceremony is as much of the piece as the vessel. Watch here: http://www.evehennessa.com/?page_id=195

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Sean Hennessey The Door Within Concrete and glass I liken the presence of glass in my ar t to the ethereal aspects of our lives, our spirit, and our hopes and dreams. I equate the concrete with the realities of ear th, and life, and the shell that we use to protect ourselves from exposing our soul to the world. Always within the hardships we face, is the hope of finding a path through it, or a door to allows us to move forward.

Matt Hollis floralchemical Silk flowers and fabric In the process of creating this alchemical vessel, my usual ar tistic tendency to use bold colors or powerful symbols emanating from a central source was just not working. This problem had me frustrated until one inspired evening when a true transformation occurred, the flower petals swirled, shifted, and rearranged until it was no longer about what the bowl contained but the very structure of the vessel itself. The final product revealed itself as a “living” bowl unfurling its petals invitingly towards the next transformation.

Linda Hesh Kissing Bowl Photographs printed on waterproof media and lacquer “Kissing Bowl” incorporates photographed por traits of same sex couples kissing imbedded in a traditional gingham fabric pattern. This is a section of the design I developed for the surface of my “Kissing Booth”, an interactive ar twork with a website at www.whenguyskiss.com. I believe as our society advances the civil rights of one marginalized group, it becomes easier for all other groups to progress as well. When homosexual displays of affection in pubic are seen usual and unsurprising, we are opening ourselves up to be more tolerant of all peoples. This the type of change that I am interested in exploring in my work.

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Leslie Holt Hello Ming Dynasty (fungus bowl) Acrylic paint I incorporated this bowl into my ongoing series “Hello Masterpiece,” in which I inser t the iconic character Hello Kitty into famous works of ar t as a playful conflation of high and low ar t and commentary on the commodification of ar t. The fungus pattern on this bowl is taken from a Ming Dynasty “fungus bowl,” and the lingzhi mushroom depicted represents one of the oldest and rare Chinese herbal medicines reputed to be an “elixir of life.” Ling in Chinese refers to the spiritual, miraculous, sacred, divine, mysterious, and efficacious. Zhi refers to a plant of longevity. While this is intentionally lighthear ted and irreverent, I also have a solemn belief in humor as a healing tool. Humor can serve both as a helpful escape and a lens through which we can look at the absurdities of the world, some of which can cause great pain at times. In this way I believe humor can be transformational, and I truly value the moments of “comic relief ” in my life.

Jessica Hopkins A New Surface Acr ylic paint, watercolor, and ink My bowl communicates healing through patterns, texture, color, and repetition. Each section of the bowl represents a different stage of clarity for me during my cancer journey. The stages also depict the altering of one’s identity, transformation, and a new layer of skin. I consider ar t and my life experiences as a trial and error process. This is a lesson I have learned in the process of creating my ar twork. The mediums I have incorporated on this bowl are very significant to my process. Acrylic, watercolor, color pencil and ink are the mediums I used to design this bowl. Each medium symbolizes something different. The mediums are used to depict different stages of clarity, deterioration, optimism and expression of life. On this bowl, I have appropriated all four mediums in the pictorial space to visually show the complexity of life. I believe healing can be communicated in so many different ways through ar t. When healing comes to mind I think about process. Process is a very impor tant par t in healing and the creative process. As an ar tist I believe the process can also tell a narrative. I hope my bowl can inspire others and tell a visual story through color and repetition.

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Karen Hubacher breathe Beeswax, tree resin, and oil paint In Chinese Alchemy the 5 elements, Wood, Ear th, Water, Fire and Metal are concerned with process and change. My bowl is a vessel of transformation – a metaphor for the effects of my morning yoga practice. Wood is my brush; beeswax and tree resin are Ear th; the flame of my torch is Fire; silver paint and my tools are Metal; the shape of the bowl receives Water. White wax is selected for purity, wholeness and completeness. The hot wax is worked and fused onto the ceramic suppor t. The rough, matte exterior contrasts with the smooth, polished interior, as do the complimentary forces of yin and yang. When the wax is cool, I hold my metal tool and move my hand with the rhythm of my breath. I imagine chi flowing like a quiet river through me, energizing the yin and yang. The lines evoke the Karmic equalizer of 8 – the balancing of the material and immaterial worlds. I rub silver paint into the inscribed lines for its powers of cleansing and releasing mental, physical and emotional issues. This vessel holds the memory of this morning’s yoga session, evoking sacred space, protected time, quiet energy and a calm state of mind.

Kevin Hunt Alchemical Insects Spray paint, clay, acrylic paint, compressed charcoal, and gold mica flakes Just as lead was changed to gold, the caterpillar changes to the butterfly.

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Barbara Johnson Pneuma Graphite and acrylic paint You handed me this vessel. I thought about circles and spinning and clay, the ear th. You handed me this vessel. I thought, “I can’t do this.” You handed me this vessel. I thought, “I(t) can wait.” My breath got caught in swollen fluid passageways. You handed me this vessel. It became the place I rested. I have awoken to the notion that I am awake. My days will now be my days. Because you handed me this vessel. And it took my breath away. Wayson R. Jones Melting Acrylic paint Melting as a par t of the alchemical process. Alchemy as transformation. Healing as a transformative process.

J’Nell Jordan Texture and Transformation Acrylic paint, oil paint, and fabric In my vessel, I wanted to symbolizes the thought of exhaling the troubles and pains. The gold represents a space of wholenesss and truth. A space that you come to when you experience growth and transformation. I’ve always loved working with metallic colors in my work, which tend to be paintings, because of the illumination that radiates outward, as well as the reflection from light around it. The surrounding light shows imperfections and inconsistency in the textures both on and beneath the surface which I feel are necessary because it adds character and unique beauty. In this vessel I wanted to represent that transformative space and beauty.

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Mila Kagan “…a stone, a leaf, an unfound door ; of a stone, a leaf, a door. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face” Wire, plaster, porcelain, ceramic, pipe cleaners, bubble wrap, paper, resin, kozo, encaustic, graphite, acrylic paint, and wood This work evokes mother womb space from which all growth emanates. The womb also represents a vessel of containment, a net of holding. Seeds of growth nestle within--ready to alter and to transmogrify. The theme of alchemical process echoes in the actual transformation of materials within the piece. Wire, plaster, porcelain, ceramic, pipe cleaners, bubble wrap, paper, resin, kozo, encaustic, and wood morph into marks and objects of beauty as well as that of destruction and of penetration. The title star ts with the opening words of “Look Homeward Angel” by Thomas Wolfe, a writer who pummeled the boundaries of poetry and prose. He is my mother’s favorite writer and this piece honors her gift to me of ferocious language, passion and a tenacious life force.

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Sumita Kim Different Kind of Order Styrofoam head model, pastel, and oil on canvas For my vessel, I used a por tion of the stand that accompanied the wig I bought when I was receiving rounds of chemotherapy in 2012 after a breast cancer surgery. I glued the frontal par t of the Styrofoam face to the bowl, and on top of that, collaged fragmented par ts of my self-por trait, one of many that I did over the last two years. In the midst of experiencing illness, impermanence, and the flawed nature of life, I managed to accept, even appreciate, the inexorable aspects of human existence. This experience of acceptance - of connection with nature’s cycles - brought me the unexpected feeling of peace and contentment, and a sense of belonging to the larger ebb and flow of life. The process of taking apar t an existing image and rearranging the pieces into a new form somehow mimicked the process and the aftermath of having to cope with illness and harsh treatment. From those experiences surfaced different kinds of perspective and insights, and above all, the feeling of serenity. Yaroslav Koporulin AUFGANG ZUR RÖTE (Rising Red) Mixed media AUFGANG ZUR RÖTE (Rising Red) Step by step, JEDEN TAG MORGEN - ABEND/ГОД - ДЕСЯТЬ/ Morning through night, Year to decade climbing UP - what is ahead? Your SALT, My SALT - CARRY ON! WEITER, VORWÄRTS/ВПЕРЕД - up, UP! MEINE/DEINE/UNSERE/SEINE ГДЕ ВАШ ПРОПУСК ТУДА? Your AUSWEIS/I.D.? - КУДА/To Where? - How do I find IT? INSIDE and ABOVE? ВПЕРЕДИ? Identify yourself, ANSWER NOW! ANTWORT! Which LANGUAGE? - I don’t speak any, NOT ANYMORE… ВПЕРЕД/IMMER WEITER - forward, up, UP! Maybe, perhaps, maybe NEVER What if it’s NICHTS/NOTHING/НИЧТО? But yet in the end just a glance Of this rising RED - MORGENRÖTE! MEINE/DEINE/UNSERE/SEINE WEITER, VORWÄRTS/ВПЕРЕД - up, UP! Your SALT, My SALT - CARRY ON! Identify yourself, ANSWER ME! ANTWORT! Which LANGUAGE? - I remember only ONE by now AUFGANG ZUR RÖTE. Alchemical Vessels 45

Joan Konkel Golden Warrior Mulberry Paper, aluminum mesh, aluminum, ceramic bowl An alchemical vessel provides a space for transmutation. This ear then vessel serves as an armature to suppor t an organic substance with transformational capacity: paper fabricated from the inner bark of a Mulberry tree. The Chinese invented paper in the first millennium BC. They transformed hemp into paper by beating the plant with a mallet, soaking the pulp in a vat of water, lifting the disintegrated fiber from the vat on fabric mesh stretched over a bamboo frame, and drying it. Over time, other plants were used, including the Mulberry tree. The Mulberry is known in China for its myriad medicinal proper ties. The berries contain antioxidants and may stimulate the immune response and even reduce the risk of liver cancer. Paper made from mulberry bark is strong and was used in China during the 9th century AD as armor to repel arrows. Mulberry paper represents health, strength, and protection through the power of transformation. Paper that can be forged into a warrior’s armor serves as a metaphor for the human capacity to arise anew after a destructive battle, tempered and transformed.

Kate Kretz Imperfect Embroidery on silk organza I find the notion of perfection to be an antiquated one. As technology continues to advance, we are able to access more information about the world around us, and, in addition, we are less naive than our great-grandparents. The impeccability we used to confidently assign to our movie stars, our clergy, our water, or our ecosystem has been undermined, and perfection has become relegated to the position of a philosophical construct. We are better off for this: the false ideal of perfection is has caused all manner of woes to human beings over the centuries.

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Randall Lear Loop-D-Loop & Straight-D-Straight Acr ylic paint and wood This singular work is about the process in which it was produced and how some ideas in most practices seem cyclical. I could work continuously on this bowl with no end and never remember where I star ted. Humor is also evident in the work, because the original notion of alchemy to me is humorous. But in all actuality I find everything humorous given enough time.

Yue Li Purify me (through the darkness) Acr ylic paint My vessel is holding a complicated moment while humans face their fates. It collects the overwhelming and powerless feelings. Yet, things usually have both a dark side and a bright side. It’s about the moment that changed the direction of one’s life. How are we going to think, plan, or “rethink” and “re-plan?” How are we going to act? To accept, insist or let go of something? It feels like the tiny little human being facing a huge MOON sinking towards the horizon, he probably has a lot or nothing on his mind, he probably feels so powerless yet so powerful. He’s probably talking to the moon, and whispering: “May the dark side of the moon fade forever in the darkness. May the gentle light of the moon purify me once again.”

Nathan Loda Deer Charcoal, hand-made flax paper, acrylic paint and gloss medium My bowl becomes an alchemical vessel to transform the painful encounter between man and nature. A deer standing frozen in beaming headlights is an often-frightening sight because the results can be a terrific tragedy for the deer, driver, or both. My vessel is a place to store the terror, panic, and fear of encountering wildlife in front of car headlights and transform that negative energy into reverence and celebration for both driver and deer.

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Armando Lopez-Bircann Leftover from Constellation 1 Mixed media This gilded residual has served as a reminder of a journey that is still taking place. It captures a moment that would have otherwise been blurred into others, where something unintentional resolved itself just by letting sit and cure.

Laurel Lukaszewski The Imperfect Mandala of the Tree of Life Porcelain and glaze Looking to the Alchemical Vessel as a means to focus on oneself and healing, I decided to explore the radiating patterns found in both nature and mandalas as a guide for thought and meditation. I used the bowl we were given as a form within which to build my mandala, and referenced the exquisite tile mosaics of Wat Po that I had just visited in Bangkok as inspiration. One of the wonderful and challenging aspects of porcelain are the changes that occur during subsequent firings. While something may look one way before being placed “into the fire,” it is always transformed on the other end, with results expected and unexpected--not so unlike when we face a challenge in life itself. In this par ticular instance, the firing resulted in the creation of a form that resembled a tree. Losing its symmetry, the piece gained character, creating with it a more deliberate and realistic reflection of life, and perhaps a reminder that one not necessarily need to be perfect to still provide insight. J.W. Mahoney Shekhina Digital prints on Japanese paper In Hebrew mysticism, the Shekhina represents the alchemical marriage of the male and female principles, so that my central figure, an angel, is very much a fusion of both forces. The symbols and words surrounding the face of the angel hint at the vast implications of such a union, since the alchemical marriage is not a static event, but one in which the essential duality present in both matter and energy par ticipates in a dynamic - and ultimately mysterious - flux, with neither a beginning point nor an end. As an ar tist, my work in collage has always been concerned with bringing together sets of images with their own intentions and implications into relationships that open out into wider, wilder meanings than their “given” or assumed ones. This Vessel is, symbolically, a space into or upon which that alchemical marriage may occur. Alchemical Vessels 48

J.J. McCracken Husk Eggshells

Donald McCray Majesty of the One Acrylic paint with 18 kt. Gold leaf The current direction of my new creative body of ar t has its origins that are found in the Adinkra symbols of Ghana located in West Africa. The uniqueness of African Ar t is that it is both primitive and modern at the same time. Some of the early European Masters were aware of this principle, and capitalized on its universal appeal. I am reconnecting with my ancestral heritage of the first human being to walk the planet, and to explore the meaning of images, and how does it relate to our society. God is King. The human race was created to be a vessel for his love, and we as a single race have blessed with immense power to share his greatness through his knowledge. The Alchemical Vessel is a modern representation of the concept of the power, and unity of one.

Jayme McLellan Gold Ball, 2014 Rubber ball and spray paint For Alchemical Vessels, I’ve decided to share a precious and rather large gold ball with the community of Washington, DC. This ball is shiny, sparkly, and a symbol of the value we place on precious metals dug from deep within the ear th. Today, gold is valued at more than $1300 per ounce. So this ball, should you acquire it, will solve all of your financial problems. Disclaimer : It will not solve the world’s pover ty or human rights problems and none of the proceeds will be shared with the gold miners.

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Tendani Mpulubusi El Serenity Acrylic paint Tendani Mpulubusi El is a native washingtonian and interdisciplinary ar tist. Tendani has contributed over 1,700 hours of service leading environmental restoration effor ts throughout the Anacostia watershed, and is often inspired by the natural environment. Calm, relaxing environments easily provide serenity, a facilitator of healing. Laying on the ear ths “green rug” gazing at clouds afloat, taking deep breaths from mountaintops, or becoming a fish in clear blue sea connects us to the divine essence of natural composition. The work “Serenity” is inspired by the organic elements and processes that help us relax and disconnect from dis - ease. Be at ease. “Be easy” as you travel life’s journey, encountering ups and downs that symbolize valleys, mountains, rivers and clouds.

Kiri Nakamura Hands that Think Acrylic paint and cardstock paper My mother used to tell me that although medicine does what it can, the love in our hands and the strengths of our minds hold the power to heal any illness. Healing met my hands and mind through ar t making. At the core of my healing are goals brewed from personal reflection and experimentation, which ar t allows me to fluently practice. I used the bowl as a palette and left active mixtures of paint on solid slabs of color to highlight a sense of an organized mess, an exploration with a desired direction in sight. I also believe that time is a vital vein in healing. Five layers of paint sleep and peep through the surface to make us remember that we look to the past to understand our present in order to reach the future. Our active ar tist hands keep our brains, body, and hear t in conversation with each other, keeping us mentally healthy and awake. The paper fingers bordering the rim of the bowl spell out the word, “heal,” and observe from above their own handiwork on healing.

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Komelia H. Okim “Free to Fly” Bronze, silver, copper, stainless steel wire, hand-made paper, silk flower, acrylic and oil paints, Styrofoam boards, Elma’s and goop glue The bowl is filled with carved Styrofoam boards and hand-made paper expressing the industrial environmentally unhealthy soil – unclean and damaged like growing human cancer cells. From this bowl, I envision to create new environments with flowers and butterflies car ved with wax, and they are cast in bronze & nickel, sur viving from the dir ty soil and winning over the sickness, free to fly off to the safe environment like a rebir th. Plumeria grow on the tall trees with beautiful flowers and pleasing smell in Hawaii, so called the Land of Paradise. They even withstand the stormy tropical showers, and they become brighter, shiny and vibrant. In Hawaii, people make flower leis with them to welcome new comers and visitors or to decorate and celebrate the happy occasions. These flowers are used to welcome, celebrate and commemorate special occasions such as blessing friends and people who survived from cancer illnesses. Butterflies both exemplify and signify rebir th, spring and freedom. I envision, cancer patients would feel rebir th, rejuvenate, re-energized, strengthened and freed like flying butterflies in the spring.

Maryanne Pollock Motherlove Mixed media My work is an investigation into genomic and architectonic grids and the kinetic nature of super-consciousness as it morphs into color/form and recedes back into potentiality. My palette and compositions are directly informed by my plein air landscapes and abstract drawings on trains, buses and planes. “Motherlove” grew out of a series of hundreds of these small paintings made in transit to Philadelphia and back to care for my Mom who passed from metastatic breast cancer a little over a year ago. How is it that the preciousness of a Mother’s Love is especially poignant only after her passing? The vessel is a perfect metaphor for how we all began in life and circular movement for the human being’s limitless capacity to love, however imperfect. This piece is dedicated to Maryanne M. Pollock, a good Irish Catholic Mom whose LOVE will live forever in the hear ts of all the people she touched and to all the good and not so good Moms in the world just trying to do their best.

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Amie Oliver A Vessel for Heaven, Earth Sea Medium ink, wax, acrylic paint and graphite Amie Oliver’s “Heaven, Ear th and Sea Series” relies on ink to record the affects of nature on my work and respond to it’s affects on archival water resistant treeless paper. “As I scratch, scrub, draw and pour ink onto a smooth surface it becomes clear that permanence is an illusion.” She was inspired to implement the practice of Kintsukuroi, the Japanese ar t of repaired pottery into her process when the vessel arrived in several pieces. “The true beginning of my process began when it was broken.” As “A Vessel for Heaven, Ear th and Sea” it is a symbol of human and planetary fragility and resilience - as well as the gap between the vanity of pristine appearance and the fractured manifestation of our mor tal fate. Amie will continue this body of work this summer, with salt as a primary component as a VCCA Fellow at the Salzburger Kunstverein in Saltzburg, Vienna.

Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. The Urgency of Doing, revisited. Acrylic paint and paint pens “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci We have greater access to knowledge, spirituality, as well as scientific and technological advancements than at any other point in history. Yet we make ill informed decisions regarding our wellbeing, are at war with one another, and are depleting the Ear th of its most precious resources. Within each of us is the ability to transform, to change, and to heal – not only ourselves, but also those around us. However, this transformation will not occur if we remain static. We must apply. We must do.

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Michael Platt I will always be here for you Graphite “I will always be here before you” speaks to the claiming and the renaming of Uluru, the huge monolith SW of Alice Springs in Central Australia, a sacred object and space for the Anangu, the indigenous people of the region. In 1873 Australian explorer Gosse, the first European to reach Uluru, named it Ayers Rock in honor of the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. In 1985, through an arrangement with Tjuta National Park and the Anangu, Australia restored the original name of Uluru to the Rock. I read this official gesture as an effor t to show respect to the Anangu, to acknowledge the First Peoples of the Nation, the violence done them, and the on-going need for healing. The inscription, “I will always be here before you,” on the bowl, is a declaration of self that also serves as a mantra of protection and healing.

Luis Peralta Libertad (Freedom) Acr ylic paint on recycled paper Bowls are transformative vessels. We combine elements in them to create new forms. Liber tad by Luis Del Valle blends iconic American symbols of democracy into a representation of the freedom that we are able to achieve. The image is a mirror of an unfamiliar self. It reminds the viewer that freedom is in all of us. We must work toward releasing and maintaining it. Freedom is not static but dynamic. It is a continuous process. The bowl is merely an instrument in that transformative alchemical process. The ingredients are personal but the outcomes are the same - Liber tad.

Lynn Putney Cloud Palace (Hope) Glazed and fired ceramic The dusk needs the dawn. Sleep and waking, pain and joy, fear and courage...opposing forces drive the machinery that moves us forward, individually and collectively, each the necessary counterpoint to the other as essential elements of growth and transformation. Cloud Palace (Hope) references this idea, each of us a vessel filling and emptying with both dark and bright thoughts, seeking a balance between the extremes to recognize and experience the beauty of the whole even in times of great personal challenge. To be clear, the clouds of the title are not misty and insubstantial but emblematic of spiritual presence; clouds to evoke the eternal, not the ephemeral. A palace offers both protection and comfor t and while our hopes may constantly shift form in response to our experiences -- cloud-like, in this way-- hope carries power, in any shape. Alchemical Vessels 53

Maria-Lana Queen Spiritual DNA Canvas, acrylic paint, paper, twine, and metal The small blue cross at the tip of the work represents my belief that in the midst of adversity, the spirit that flows within us from our creator can be called upon to bring transformation and healing. I use DNA-like images to represent this spiritual inheritance from the Devine that can overcome anything that we encounter in this crucible called life. The work has two parts: the bowl represents the psyche which is not visible; and, the covering represents the self we project to the world. Together they form what I think is the ultimate vessel for transformation and healing. The covering exposes clues to the inner and external life story. Marks such as cages, ladders, and tracks are clues to my story. The existence of the bowl is merely suggested by the curves under the covering in the same way that our psyche - shaped by our fears, anxieties and experiences - is hidden from the world. It is within the cauldron of the psyche where the work of transformation and healing must begin. The wire figure representing everyone - emerges from that cauldron to stand triumphantly over the boulders of adversity with the spirit and will to live. Glenn Richardson Bob Bricoleur’s Iteration #9 Mixed media This is the human vessel reverse as engineered by a garage tinker as an homage to Barney Clark. Barney Clark was the first human recipient of an ar tifical hear t, an un-honored hero. We are hosts of amazing alchemy every minute. How much lead to gold would you exchange for the secrets to keeping your hear t in perpetual motion? It seems obvious, but so easily overlooked. This bowl has become a figure, an other that responds to the viewer’s motion. It doesn’t beat without our presence. This bubbling hear t is without a pulse without us. The Alchemy is compounded. Ar t is not complete without an audience. The human vessel is not complete without a pulse.

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Beverly Ress Reconcile Colored pencil, watercolor, copper leaf, and gesso Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

Kim Reyes Transformational Soul Pit-fired bowl, plaster, resin, wool, tumbleweed, fabric and acrylic paint I envision my bowl as an alchemical vessel that represents the transformations and metamorphosis of the soul from one state to another. Smaller bowls represent five stages: 1) Origination, 2) Incubation, 3) Contemplation. Growth & Learning, the Conscious & Unconscious, 4) Experience & Decision, Triumph & Tribulation, Morality, 5) Rebir th and, or Death, Self-Actualization

Marie Ringwald Ground - Water – Boat - House Paint, paper, and wood Leave-taking, travelling and coming home are all transformative. Moving through water, ear th, air and time changes us. The process is alchemical and enchanting.

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Pam Rogers A Natural Transformation Inks, mica, mulberry paper, thread, and metal The concept of transformation is the driving narrative por trayed in my vessel. I worked to transform mulberry trees into paper, pigments and inks allowing them to converge in the vessel. This became a reminder that often what is seen in one form is also able to be totally transformed, a renewal of sor ts. Added bits of mica and lead are my nod to the ancient tenets of Alchemy. When I was applying the inks and pigments, I was surprised that the colors changed from the initial application, thus a gentle reminder that there is often a leap of faith and willingness to let go that is needed for transformation to take place.

Lisa Rosenstein Within Threads, wire, metallic paint, dimensional paint, Swarovski crystals, and paper Circle imperfect circle delicate tension gentle suspension a totality of stars we have beginnings. we have endings. each breath a beginning each exhalation an end. the open circle embraces, releases, and the river flows on.

Matt Sesow Sesow Bowl Acrylic paint For my bowl, I used a few icons that I’ve incorporated since I star ted painting in 1994. The one-winged bird around the outside is ‘coasting’ which symbolizes ‘things are going well’... the bunny represents innocence, and relates to me being like a bunny when I was struck by the propeller of a landing airplane at age eight. The bunny sits inside my ‘trauma cup’ which represents keeping all the ‘bad things’ contained and not letting them spill out. The stars are a nod to the donation aspect of the show. The red/black/white paint is the color scheme I use for all my sculptures.

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Nicole Salimbene Grace Smoke and Fire from matches, thread, canvas, acrylic paint, gouache, tape, fixative, wood, and glue When my friend passed away from cancer, her five-year old son responded to my “how are you?” by saying he was like a “bruise.” “You know how a bruise gets darker and darker before it gets lighter and lighter? Well I am still getting darker.” Having experienced my own losses, I recognized in his description the nature of healing. I knew, too, that there is a cut, leaving an opening. This hole calls you inside. You might answer it, but often you step around it, forget it or fill it with other things, hoping it will stop calling. This could go on for a long time. Eventually nothing fills it. You fall into that canyon. It gets darker, until you can’t bear it and then a third element shows up. Some might call it Grace. What this form of Grace offers is like thread. A mending that brings two sides together to form a new shape. And, it comes like fire to purify and transform all the meaningless things you threw down the hole. The fire melts down everything, turning the internal into gold. It reminds you of your own sacred form, your own par ticipation with creation and transformation.

Samantha Sethi Water Ceramic glaze Water is a reoccurring symbol in my painting. Its absence or presence has a great impact on its environment. Water is necessary for life. My intention was to transform my vessel into a body of water. The lines resemble waves, strands of hair, floating nets. This pattern appears often in my work. The process of painting these lines is organic and meditative for me. The memory of swimming in the ocean, experiencing weightlessness and the slow repetition of waves pushing and pulling calms my mind.

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Shahin Shikhaliyev In search of “Gold” Acrylic paint The discipline of alchemy was about spiritual transformation. It was a pursuit to understand the nature of life. The concept of transformation of common metals into gold was a metaphor for the transformation of the human soul. Accessing our inner light is a process of discovering the essence of our being where everything in the universe is connected. And through this process of alchemy we purify our selves. This search for “gold” is the essence of the creative process. For me the alchemical process and the creative process is the same pursuit of purity, richness and depth in life.

Ellen Sinel The Golden Bough Oil paint, gold leaf paint, and tree branches I have always felt a spiritual connection to trees. Trees grow, going through many changes, giving to humanity their beauty, their unique and varied shapes, their ecological protection. To me, trees have always been a source for healing. Alchemy is often meant as base metals turning to gold. This vessel holds an essence of trees turned to gold, the growth and alchemy of transformation, encompassing a warm spirit of life-giving.

Susan Stacks Counterfeit Cocoon Velvet and pins The destruction from painful experiences allow us to awaken aspects of ourselves that had been stifled. Like seeds freed through pyriscence a change in mental landscape can isolate and nur ture. What appears to be a frightening realm to outsiders becomes a protective niche in which to grow more balanced, calm and resilient.

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Casey Snyder Her work Oil paint and mixed media My interpretation of an alchemical vessel is an exploration of taking things with little value and providing it with great meaning. I have used memory as means of playful inquiry, improvisation and make shift narratives by which big questions are asked about how we create stories. My work exposes a non-linear thought process by allowing memory to unfold in a fragmented way. By looking at images and creating stories we provide an axiom that propels our life. These self-evident truths become the “real” we need to rely on. Ambivalence about stories is what propels my work. I am fascinated by the fluidity of memory and how it is constantly manipulated. A dialogue between opposites occurs within my work. Real and unreal, significant and insignificant along with the animate and inanimate, create the contradictions I explore. Through contradiction I am interested in prompting the past, while fictionalizing it. This leaves us with a constant changing self, and memory that balances between a self-made liberation and a basic life saving devise. This results in imagery that amass and meld on the picture plane, or appear to be jettisoned memory, imagination, and misinformation that have collected over time. The work involved with exploring the things that surround us provides the clarity that stories often cannot provide.

Dafna Steinberg Zahav Mixed media Zahav is the Hebrew word for gold. As a metal, gold has many transformative qualities. It can be melted, shaped, turned into dust…it takes many forms. Metaphorically, it can be a symbol of desire, beauty and greed. When first looking at the bowl, it struck me how much it resembled the pans used by gold miners in the 1800’s. I have, in my most recent body of work, been working with images from the Wild West. Gold mining was a large factor in the American expansion west. Gold is a natural ore as well as a periodic element. It also has a mythical and magical quality. One of the stories I thought a lot about while creating my piece was the story of King Midas. The story of a king who desired to turn everything into gold with a simple touch ends tragically when his wish backfired, resulting in his daughter becoming a golden statue. The combination of King Midas’ touch and the gold miners hunt inspired this piece, a reminder that all that glitters is not gold.

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Jennifer Strunge Swirl Velour, stuffing, and faux fur My alchemical vessel is a place of protection, a suppor t-net of warmth and sanctuary. I found inspiration in the pureness of the white bowl and the perfect circle its lip creates, mimicking the moon. The fragile ceramic is protected by soft fur, white like my beloved cat that I spoon each night upon falling asleep in bed, a place of comfor t and safety. Lying still upon downy pillows and under thick blankets, my mind makes way for dreams and transformation. Filled with soft forms, braided, twisted and turned, stuffed and sewed, the act of making my vessel became a meditation in itself. Those malleable lines, intersecting in an orderly chaos, came to represent all the many lives our singular life touches and impacts along our spiraling journeys.

Lynn Sures Indistinct Paper pulp painting The bowl began its existence as wet clay, from the ear th. I wanted to respect this beginning and build upon its nature, to transform the perception of the bowl as well as its surface. I made colored paper pulp in my studio, using the natural fibers abaca and flax. Covering the whole surface of the bowl with this pulp, which like the clay is another product of the ear th, I’ve altered the vessel to become a paper bowl with the hear t of a ceramic bowl.

Christine Tillman sending flowers Ceramic Alchemy is a process of utter transformative change and rebir th. I struggled with infer tility for two years and thanks to modern medicine my daughter is turning two this year. There’s an incredible symmetry to that. My daughter and I collaborated on this piece. She made marks and I drew flower shapes based on get-well flowers I received after a surgery that was the turning point in my journey to meeting her.

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Ira Tattleman Flow Stainless steel, aluminum, down feathers, and resin The bowl contains an integrated structure representing the ear thly and celestial. The hard materials contrast, yet coexist with the soft feathers. The making is a ritual of overlapping design. The conversation is a circle of time and pleasure. The result is a tool for unification.

Lynn Sylvester The Road to Self Actualization Ceramic bowl, nylon cord, and acid dyed habotai silk This work represents how self actualization or the mere fact of living puts us on a winding road. Sometimes pover ty, drug abuse, crime, corruption, political instability, disease, natural and man-made disasters, pregnancies, domestic abuse, broken families, physical and mental illness and all forms of oppression can get in the way of our actualization. It is rarely smooth saving. The road takes us on twists, turns, steps forward and steps backward. Occasionally we jump or fall out of the bowl but somehow we get back in and continue on the road.

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Erwin Timmers Overflow Recycled cast glass and LEDs The alchemical vessel speaks about creating purity, harmony and the healing that flows from it. My work focuses on the disharmony we see in nature and our environment, which has a pronounced impact on our own wellbeing. This vessel references how we, as a society, consume and discard resources without much consideration. I use the water bottle, a vessel in its own right, as a symbol of a useful everyday object that people use and discard thoughtlessly and which has now been severely overused. Last year we consumed 28 billion plastic bottles, and only roughly 15% of them got recycled. Using the medium of casting recycled glass and specific techniques to manipulate this medium, my work invites the viewer to consider not only the end product, but also the origin of the piece and the process of re-creation. I hope my work showcases the possibility and beauty of recycled material, while encouraging the viewer to consider his or her environmental impact.

Ben Tolman Untitled Acrylic paint

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Novie Trump The Hand of the Mysteries Stoneware The alchemical symbol of apotheosis, the transformation of man into god, is traditionally represented by a hand with other symbols, including stars, crowns, skulls, keys and lanterns. It is said that the hand holds the keys to divinity and was often used as an invitation to discover the ‘great secrets’.

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto Quintessence #9 Cultured crystals, unfiltered beeswax, lime, tree resin, and meteorite dust Cr ystals are everywhere—in clouds composed of ice, diamonds within a meteorite formed in the solar system’s earliest moments, in calcite micro-crystals in the brain’s pineal gland, in ephemeral ice converging for a brief moment on a window pane in winter. In the Quintessence series of paintings and sculptures, I culture cr ystals with water soluble minerals on suppor ts. The resulting cr ystals’ patterns depend mainly on my collaborators: the materials’ inherent geometric proper ties, the gravitational pull of the ear th, and water’s evaporation/cooling process. The Quintessence series pays homage to minerals and cr ystals, the essential elements without which our bodies can not exist. The alchemical process explores a poetic reunion with nature, and expression of the sublime unity and connection between nature and humanity. It manifests nature’s power, its ubiquitous presence, and humanity’s intrinsic entwinement.

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Laurie Tylec Ammonite Oil paint My ar t explores the rhythmic patterns and colors found in organic structures created by natural processes and occurrences. Through magnifying, cropping, and rotating selected aspects of individual objects, each work offers a glimpse of one of the wonders found in the environment. This painted vessel depicts a fossilized ammonite—a predatory squid-like creature that inhabited coil-shaped shells and lived 65 million years ago. Each chamber of the shell, progressively built as the mollusk grew larger, has become cr ystallized, lending each space a unique appearance and enhanced beauty. The spiral shaped shell illustrates one of the most common patterns that represent rebir th and growth within the mind and the body. Among the many interpretations of the spiral are evolution and holistic growth; surrender and release; an awareness of the self within the larger whole; connectivity and union with cosmic energies; and the revolutions of time, stars, planets, and natural progress. Through the physical appearance of its shell and growth from smaller inner to larger outer chambers, the ammonite represents the transformative nature of the spiral form.

Michael Verdon Coalescent Steel, soil, photosynthesis, seeds, and paint Although often seen as separate, humans are par t of Mother Nature. Merging multiple forms of transformative processes, this work unites the man-made and Mother-made. The care provided by the recipient of this vessel will cause a transformation as these concepts meld into one.

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Jodi Walsh Intention Ceramic When life puts obstacles in your way you must live with faith, grace and good intention.

Jenny Walton In Search of Silver Linings Wax, watercolor, ink, and silver-coated copper wire My Alchemical Vessel, In Search of Silver Linings, is meant to protect and envelop the ideas of hope, faith, and lightness of spirit. It is meant of be reflective of sky and water, both bodies of infinite wonder and solace.

Ellyn Weiss Come to Light Wax and pigment For me, the alchemical vessel is a visual metaphor for the act of creation. The ar tist transforms the materials of her craft into a unique piece of work through the application of training, skill, practice, patience and time, combined with the most mysterious and human element of all - the spark of inspiration. I am constantly astonished at what emerges from this cauldron.

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Audrey Wilson Corrosion Birth’s Life Glass and rust Rust often is often found on strong metals and is an indication of neglect and decay. Yet, rust needs both oxygen and water present in order to form. I find this notion interesting because we as humans need both. As rust has formed throughout the incubator, a feather emerges from the vessel. A feather is the focal point as it shows that growth can still emerge from something that is decaying. It becomes a symbolism of hope and a fresh star t, with the rim of the vessel star ting to sprout a change.

Sharon Wolpoff Grasp This And Rejoice Glass beads, pearls, moonstone, and acrylic paint My vessel honors and reiterates the power to transform through the use of one’s hands. It is meant to be held. The following quote from the mystic healer St. Francis of Assisi is woven in beads, surrounding the rim of the bowl: “Our hands imbibe like roots so I place them on what is beautiful in this world”. The string of pearls encircling the woven quote symbolizes the dynamic process of transformation through touch, given that a pearl is a jewel that began as an irritant. The use of hands in the act of healing and the use of hands in the creation of ar t are both perfect examples of touching beauty. Both share the essential principle of working with the hands through the hear t. Both endeavors can become lifetime studies through which one learns how to listen inside then act on what is “heard”. Both rely on the mysterious intelligence possessed by the hands themselves to accomplish transformation.

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Carmen C. Wong & Niell DuVal Heterotopic-nic Wood This vessel exists as a heterotopia for ar t and utility. Our play-filled tactile tasting surface allows the tongue to experience changes of a single flavor as it exists within several spaces, textures or topographies. This method of tactile eating can incite a sensory rush, an entryway to other spaces of taste experiences. We encourage the owner to use this piece (sans utensils, or use of hands) as often as possible in their everyday acts of eating. We have chosen to flatten / mask the topos of the original vessel, allowing for contemplation of perfect spaces unseen. With our vessel, we examine the spaces within a space, not to define the character of liminality, but rather to ponder the otherness of spaces as they become carved into being: physical or mental, protected or exposed, sacred or profane. These intrinsic, parallel spaces changes with our perception as we begin to define, mirror or taste them from where we stand.

Stephanie Williams Toddling Eggcorn Sumi ink Eggcorn is a linguistic term that describes the misspeak of a word or phrase based on similar sounding and logical interpretations. Through this misinterpretation a new creative context is often added. Puns oppose this term in that the speaker of an eggcorn is unaware of their misspeak. Examples: “baited breath” for “bated breath” or “old-timer’s disease” for “Alzheimer’s disease”. In my own work, I star ted making work from fragments to show self-por traiture without a physical likeness. In order to tackle complicated stories linked to identity, I found myself exploring paths stemmed from opposed and integrated dualities regarding conversations of race, sexuality, religion and etiquette. Given flesh, I make work that discusses an identity’s potential oddity through the making, disassembly and reconfiguring of par ts whether imagined or directly referenced from the body. I enjoy illustrating digits transitioning awkwardly into fatty masses aided by mechanism, allowing autonomous mobility amidst amorphous shapes. I create forms only to pull them to pieces again creating landscapes of limbs, carvings, growths and attachments. The resulting self-por trait amalgam suggests in body what are often indescribable awkward instances in which language lay lame in trying to categorize identity. The work examines the nature of a multi-sourced identity, re-appropriation, and our capacity to interact with both the world we know and the one we are capable of creating.

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Index of artists Eames Armstrong, 14 Sardar Aziz, 14 Karen Baer, 15 Elizabeth Baldwin, 14 Michele Banks, 15 Joseph Barbaccia, 16 Carolyn Becker, 16 Jessica Beels, 16 Joan Belmar, 17 Lori Anne Boocks, 17 Monica Jahan Bose, 18 Anne Bouie, 18 Amy Braden, 18 Nancy Bratton, 19 Julia Brown, 20 Karen O. Brown, 19 Larr y Poncho Brown, 20 Amanda Burnham, 20 Lenny Campello, 21 Shanthi Chandrasekar, 22 Mei Mei Chang, 21 Peter Charles, 22 Asma Chaudhary, 23 Travis Childers, 23 Eunmee Chung, 24 Wesley Clark, 23 Chanel Compton, 25 Mike Corigliano, 24 Candy Cummings, 25 Joel D’Orazio, 26 David D’Orio, 26 Anna U Davis, 25

Tamara De Silva, 27 Rosetta DeBerardinis, 27 Elsabe Dixon, 28 Chelsea Dober t-Kehn, 26 Thomas Drymon, 28 Nekisha Durrett, 29 Victor Ekpuk, 30 Laura Elkins, 29 Dana Ellyn, 30 Benay Fallin, 30 Felisa Federman, 31 Jeremy Flick, 31 Suzi Fox, 32 Barbara Frank (with Bill Adair), 32 Nancy Frankel, 33 Shaunté Gates, 33 Dawn Gavin, 34 Bita Ghavami, 34 Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, 34 Melissa Glasser, 35 Janis Goodman, 35 Patricia Goslee, 35 Sherill Anne Gross, 38 John Grunwell, 38 Nelson Gutierrez, 38 Kristen Hayes, 39 Eve Hennessa, 39 Sean Hennessey, 40 Linda Hesh, 40 Matt Hollis, 40 Leslie Holt, 41 Jessica Hopkins, 41

Karen Hubacher, 42 Kevin Hunt, 42 Barbara Johnson, 43 Wayson R. Jones, 43 J’Nell Jordan, 43 Mila Kagan, 44 Sumita Kim, 45 Joan Konkel, 46 Yaroslav Koporulin, 45 Kate Kretz, 46 Randall Lear, 47 Yue Li, 47 Nathan Loda, 47 Armando Lopez-Bircann, 48 Laurel Lukaszewski, 48 J.W. Mahoney, 48 J.J. McCracken, 49 Donald McCray, 49 Jayme McLellan, 49 Tendani Mpulubusi El, 50 Kiri Nakamura, 50 Komelia H. Okim, 51 Amie Oliver, 52 Anthony Palliparambil, Jr., 52 Luis Peralta, 53 Michael Platt, 53 Maryanne Pollock, 51 Lynn Putney, 53 Maria-Lana Queen, 54 Beverly Ress, 55 Kim Reyes, 55 Glenn Richardson, 54

Marie Ringwald, 55 Pam Rogers, 56 Lisa Rosenstein, 56 Nicole Salimbene, 57 Matt Sesow, 56 Samantha Sethi, 57 Shahin Shikhaliyev, 58 Ellen Sinel, 58 Casey Snyder, 59 Susan Stacks, 58 Dafna Steinberg, 59 Jennifer Strunge, 62 Lynn Sures, 62 Lynn Sylvester, 63 Ira Tattleman, 63 Christine Tillman, 62 Erwin Timmers, 64 Ben Tolman, 64 Novie Trump, 65 Shinji Turner-Yamamoto, 65 Laurie Tylec, 66 Michael Verdon, 66 Jodi Walsh, 67 Jenny Walton, 67 Ellyn Weiss, 67 Stephanie Williams, 69 Audrey Wilson, 68 Sharon Wolpoff, 68 Carmen C. Wong & Niell DuVal, 69

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Acknowledgements Smith Center staff: Shanti Norris, Executive Director Brooke Seidelmann, Gallery Director Anthony Palliparambil, Jr., Exhibitions Manager Coryn Alvarez, Ar tist Coordinator Madeline Whitman, Gallery Assistant Erin Price-Schaber t, Development Manager Sarah Grady, Development & Events Assistant Reiko Tate, Marketing Director Shefa Benoit, Operations Manager Sarah Grady, Developmental Intern Madeline Whitman, Gallery Assistant Designer: Grace Toulotte Photographer: Tom Wolff Printer: KCP Communications We’d like to recognize the generous gift of our Ar tisan Donors, Timothy & Kim Schelling, and the suppor t of our Sponsors:

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Alchemical Vessels planning committee: Helen Frederick Deborah Lesser Timothy Schelling Kim Schelling Ellyn Weiss

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