Making and Meaning

I should probably write a long list of excuses to explain why it’s been so long since I’ve posted here, but instead I’m going to write about my green bowl.

In 2007, I went to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation with my family. The whole family. My dad, his girlfriend and her kids, my sister, aunt, uncle, cousins. That was the first time we’d ever done something like that together, and the trip was warm, magical and absolutely paradise. Out of everything I’ve done in my life, that would easily make the top five. One of the days we were there, I drove to Hilo with my sister and cousin. We ended up finding a small market that wasn’t as touristy as the markets on the other side of the island. One of the vendors made beautiful ceramic pieces, and I fell in love with a green bowl. I loved the simplicity of the design, and the green reminded me of how lush Hawaii was. At the same market, I bought the most perfect papaya and ate it right there. I was so happy.

I had used this bowl for oatmeal, cereal, soups and salads multiple times a week ever since. I liked the feel of the bowl in my hands. It was a little off center, and the glaze on the rim was imperfect. Every time I used the bowl I either got comfort from using something I loved so much, or I thought of the place and time that I bought it. It made meals special. I speak of the bowl in past tense because tonight I dropped the bowl (full of delicious taco seasoned quinoa with scrambled eggs and veggies, made by my amazing boyfriend) and broke it into pieces. Pulling little bits of the bowl out of quinoa splattered all over the floor was definitely the lowest point of this week. I cried over the pieces of this bowl. And not little sniffling tears, but sobbing, streaming tears.

After I pulled myself together (somewhat), I started to reflect on objects and the meaning they have in my life. This bowl made a special memory tangible. Experiences are so fleeting, but having this bowl made that experience part of my everyday life. I bet the woman who made that bowl never would have thought it would still be so important to someone almost seven years later. If I could put even one thing out in the world that could do the same for someone else, that would make me so happy. This is why making things is important to me.

At some point I’ll post another update and write about some exciting changes in my life. For now, I’m going to try to glue that bowl back together and see if it can be salvaged as a decorative piece. Wish me luck… :)

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