Rachel Cox ACD MFA Practicum Spring 2011

Objects of Invocation: Ritual Takes Shape

This practicum explores the convergence of making and ritual. The project centers on the creation of a series of objects in clay, beginning with a thorough investigation of the material. Research involved harvesting and testing local sources of clay and exploring a range of commercially available clays. Techniques included hand-building unique forms and casting multiples in handmade plaster molds. Wooden structures were designed to house and support the ceramic work.

All the work created during this practicum fits in the context of invocation. The early material exploration invokes inspiration from the ground. The vessels invoke the essence of transformation; the various strands of beads invoke life’s memories, protection, and assistance. The spinning beads invoke the experience and tradition of using prayer wheels. Each series of work calls for mental, visual, and physical interaction.

This project also incorporates ethnographic research: collecting personal accounts of people engaging with objects to perform ritual or ceremony. Stories from 24 people around the country and abroad illustrate the important relationships we have with objects, the significance of making objects with meaning, and the value in making objects for ritual use. Objects ground us in prayer and ritual: they help us focus our attention and be present. The work presented in this practicum is not a conclusion; it is one more metaphorical bead added to a continuing strand of creative practice.

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