Light + Stone: a quiet space out of the elements

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Ever since I was little I've loved a good cubby hole: just a quiet, small space to sit and watch the world and my thoughts. With this series, I'm trying to capture that safe, comfortable space, with the added light-filled wonder found in medieval cathedrals and other magical spaces. Growing up in South Alabama, I found that cathedral under a canopy of leaves, particularly magical after a good thunderstorm, sunshine coming down through layers of green, breaking the light into patterns and shadows. As I began exploring and creating this light-filled space, I found something missing: what I've realized is at its essence ancestor worship: the sense of a guiding power from those who came before. Born to an older family, my familial pantheon consists largely of my father, grandmothers, and uncle, and creating this space is partly a chance to honor their memories and the continuation of their stories through mine. Additional ancestral influence can be found in my materials: nearly every piece in the show is made from wheelthrown clay, either stoneware or porcelain, wound and sewn with handspun wool. As a woman (and a lover of anthropology), I can't help but relish the fact that my materials feel inherently female and, more so, inherently human. Both clay and fiber have sustained our species for thousands of years, keeping us warm and cooking food for our bellies. Not only do my chosen materials nod to our ancient ancestors, but raw stoneware and wool also feel somewhat natural. Unlike the gilded, jeweled, shining interiors of medieval cathedrals, my botanic pots of stone and wool feel like something you could come across in an enchanted Alabama forest.

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Sara Bowen