Artist Lynda Lowe isn’t content to make beautiful ceramic bowls. She’s also interested in the very idea of a bowl or vessel: of giving, receiving, emptiness, fullness. And so the Gig Harbor-based artist is launching the Patra Passage project this weekend in a private ceremony at the Museum of Glass, to be followed next year by a public exhibition there. The goal? To give 108 handmade bowls to selected recipients, who will keep them for a while, hand them on and finally return them, to be sold for charity. Along the way, the participants (and Lowe) will observe and record their experiences and ideas about giving and receiving on an interactive website, patrapassage.com.
“The first time I was aware of a bowl as a symbol of giving was when my husband and I were in Tibet in 2000,” says Lowe. “We were motorcycling outside the usual tourist areas, and in a monastery I saw all these beautiful vessels lining the altar. Not being Buddhist I wasn’t sure if they were for giving, or if I was meant to receive (what was in them). I had this wonderful, fluid moment. That’s when the images of bowls began showing up in my paintings.”
Named after the Sanskrit for “the bowl that never goes empty,” the Patra project was inspired by both the alms bowls carried by monks and by the artist’s own gratitude for her circle of friends. Questions that arise from the project for Lowe include the concepts of attachment and gratitude, the balance between art and acquisition, and the value of art that is no longer physically present. Recipients can post thoughts and photos about their own bowl on the “108 Bowls” page of the website. Lowe is also thinking of including a “public bowl” page for anyone to post ideas onto.
“It’s not about the bowls,” says Lowe, who began making the vessels about 18 months ago. “It’s about the participants and their experiences.”
This Saturday sees the first send-off of the bowls, presented to friends of Lowe around the country and beyond. In four months’ time each of those will choose someone new to give the bowl to, in a meaningful way or ceremony; this second wave will keep the bowls for another four months before passing them on. After one year, Lowe estimates a community of around 324 people will have received the bowls, contributing their thoughts, photos and more to the website. At this point Museum of Glass curator David Francis will assemble both bowls and contributed thoughts into an exhibition, after which the bowls will be sold to benefit three organizations: the Emergency Food Network, Save the Children and the Museum of Glass itself.More information: lyndalowe.com, patrapassage.com, museumofglass.org
Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 firstname.lastname@example.org