More and more often I receive requests for cremation urns from family, friends, and others. What an honor after years of making the cups and bowls and plates that fill their kitchens, to now make containers for this purpose. As potters, we think about vessels and shapes and I think of the urns as â??The Shapes of Our Lives.â? Recently friends have asked me to make the urn they will use in the future and will even join me in the studio as I make the urn for them. â??Urns While You Waitâ? gives us the opportunity to hold living and dying all at once with grace, cherishing it all. Some of these pieces with wooden handles are made in collaboration with my husband, master cabinetmaker Dale German, with wood from the Wye Oak and other wood provided by friend Bill Waldman.
Reflections by John Viles on "Tall Red with Shoulders" October 2018
"The collaboration began with a drawing of a broad shouldered, tall standing vessel with measurements indicated. Pat came highly recommended as one of the best ceramists on the wheel. We discussed how to proceed including her husband Dale a fine woodworker. So Pat made a beautiful, smooth tall vessel and at the very bottom of the vessel are four small circles representing wheels. My father was in the car business and would have appreciated this small detail on his Urn. Dale made a zebra wood lid fitting perfectly. Afterwards, I painted and put multiple coats of gloss over the fire engine red (my father’s favorite color). This collaboration was very important to me. As an artist, I have never experienced anything similar."
Reflections by Lee Hoyt on "Urns While You Wait":
"...when we entered Patâ??s studio it became a total immersion experience. I discovered the smell of the clay in its various stages of dampness or drying, the physical sensations of playing with pieces of clay as I watched Pat working at her wheel, and the mesmerizing sight of Patâ??s hands guiding the clay from shapelessness up and down and out and into voluptuous vessels and perfectly fitted lids.
...At first glance the urns are full of air and empty of everything else. But upon further contemplation I see more broadly, understanding the many elements that came together for the potter to be alive, for the earth to create the clay, the water used to form the urn, the wood for the fire required to harden the urn and to fashion handles, the trees from which the wood came that required sunlight and water and nourishment from the earth, the people who transported the materials, and so on â?¦ the urns are interconnected to everything else in the universe by this reasoning. And the urns are full of the whole universe, though they are impermanent, just as my body is full of everything, connected to it all, but impermanent."