Museum of Contemporary Craft

The Quietness

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Josh Unterman, MFA AC+D '13 considers the bowl as a symbolic vessel.

From March through September 2013, in honor of Object Focus: The Bowl at Museum of Contemporary Craft, UNTITLED Magazine will be collecting essays, stories, poems, recipes, and other texts by PNCA community members about the bowl. The words of chefs, anthropologists, and poets will appear alongside those of critics, makers, and curators to extol on the bowl in its myriad incarnations.

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The Quietness

Bowls are wonderful.
They can be full or empty
They are patient, functioning in service.

Waiting a cupboard or sitting quietly on the mantel, by the window or bed.
Waiting to receive a found rock or pebble, heartache or pain, laughter and dreams.

Often times when we think of a bowl, we think of a soup bowl,
And this is not too far from the truth,
Life is an endless soup.

Bowls are a brief vessel of containment,
When we cook or bake, we first fill a bowl with ingredients, and mix.

When the mixture is just right, we empty the bowl.

When we gather stones, berries or seeds,
We need something to put our bounty in … like a bowl.

When we weep tears of pain, we need a vessel to catch our tears … like a bowl.

When we stare off into the endless sky, watching stars twinkle, or
Wispy clouds change shape,
Dreaming of our future,
We need some safe place to put our thoughts and save our memories … like a bowl.

And when the popcorn bowl is empty,
We need some place to put our smiles.

Bowls are wonderful; they can be full or empty,
They are patient, functioning in service.


Photo courtesy of the artist.



JOSH UNTERMAN ’13 is a ceramist based in Portland, Oregon and is pursuing a graduate degree in Applied Craft and Design. He started working with clay when he was fifteen years old, drawn to both the simplicity and tactility of raw clay and permanence of fired ceramics. He is currently investigating shoes and cobblery and also works with wood, leather, and metal.

by Josh Unterman, MFA AC+D '13

— Posted on 03/08 at 12:41 PM

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