The evolution of the vase range has been organic, with one thing leading to another very naturally. I knew that I needed a larger vase and had been mulling over some shape ideas in my head for sometime. Then, along came “Grammie’s urn” project. That took my thoughts away from a just a vessel for flowers to a shape that required a more intimate involvement. Developing the urn made a fine launching pad for this vase. As mentioned in my last post, I considered Grammie’s femininity and incorporated that into the design. Nipping the vase in at the waist, in an allusion to the female figure, allows the shape to support the flowers. With a classic full bouquet, this could be seen as a warm, overflowing bosom. Is there anything so welcoming as a bountiful floral arrangement?! Like the idealized woman, my new vase is also accommodating. Take pleasure in highlighting the qualities of a few large blossoms. Look forward to spring when this vase can host a bunch of inky blue irises.
Now that summer has passed, casting and drying a ceramic piece takes a lot longer. Then, there is the process of glazing and firing. One by one, as they gradually come out of the mold, I try the vase in a new VIT color. It is always delightful to see a new shape in another color for the first time. Much in the same way that it is a pleasure to see a good friend dressed up in a new outfit, one sees the piece differently and can appreciate another facet of its beauty.
Each piece needs a name and this vase vase will get a one special one. I will call it “Eve”, after Evelyn Nelson Hildebrand, for my own indulgence. But, most will be able to identify the name with the feminine form which inspired it.
My Grammie came over from England when she was 4 years old and lived more than 100 years in the USA. My father, her son, and his sister asked me to make an urn for her ashes when she passed away in June.
Evelyn Nelson Hildebrand was widowed in the 1950’s and went to work sewing drapes. She delayed retirement, to work for unionization of her shop. She was fair and just, and took time to write her congress-person on issues she felt strongly about. In her late 60’s she re-married Dick Hildebrand. They lived in her house in Tacoma Washington, ate lunch out almost daily at MacDonalds or Jack in the Box and walked the water front. Together they celebrated her 100th birthday. He passed away a year later when he was 93. Grammie, as we grand-kids called her, went to live with my cousin Randi and her family after that.
Grammie was spunky and loved dancing. She and Dick were always first out on the dance floor. When I came to visit she always had a joke to tell, frequently over a glass of jug wine. Once, when we were out to lunch together, (she was then in her 90’s), the waitress asked her if she would like some water. “Water?”, she said, “It will only make me rust! I’ll have a beer”. When she could no longer remember jokes, Grammie used her natural sense of humor to her advantage. When her hearing failed her, she enjoyed turning around what someone had said that she didn’t quite catch, into something quite ridiculous and funny.
Grammie’s was the first urn I have made. I thought long and hard about how it should be. As I was running one evening and mulling over my task, the concept came to me. Grammie was thoughtful, loving and kind; feminine with a beautiful spirit. She appreciated simple and good. Her urn should capture that essence. I chose a flower shape and made it curvy. The colors, because she wore reds and pinks when she dressed up, and her living room was bright, warm and yellow. I made her urn with love. This project was an honor and a challenge which I thoroughly appreciated. It allowed very special time to remember her.