Happy New Year!
2020 was a strange and challenging year, I'm sure you will all agree. Now we've left it behind and we're in January, I wonder what happened to the year, it seemed to whizz by in a blur (when it wasn't intermittently frozen like on Zoom). Covid brought unexpected events to my door including the death of my friend/employer and losing two jobs but subsequently gaining more time to give to my other job, experience more simplicity in my life, and to making with clay. I know I'm one of the lucky ones and am continuing to benefit from other people's kindness and hard work. Nevertheless, I hope the New Year will turn out to be a happier one for everybody.
One the ceramic front, one positive and amazing thing that happened for me last year was that I was asked to make some shrine bowls for the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green, London https://londonbuddhistcentre.com . Perhaps surprisingly, I don't think there had ever been permanent offering bowls on the shrine before.
After weaving in a couple of meetings around the lockdowns and some emails, I got to work on the bowls. They were made out of Bhante clay - a clay I mixed which includes the natural clay dug from the burial site of Sangharakshita. (For more information about Bhante clay, see my website https://www.sassirika.com/bhante-clay-process-2
The bowls were ritually placed on the shrine as part of the Sangha Day online celebrations just before the end of the second lockdown in November. Sangha means spiritual community so there's an annual festival to celebrate friendship as the heart of spiritual life. I was glad that I managed to finish them for that special occasion. It felt appropriate because the clay they are
made out of has significance and because they are stylistically symbols of the sangha, being shaped like alms bowls which links them to the Buddha.
The main photo at the top was taken after offering the bowls to the shrine. A group of us were there broadcasting on YouTube. How beautiful the shrine looked and how warm. The truth is that the centre hadn't had any heating on for weeks so it was in fact pretty cold! My heart though was warm from being involved and I felt such gratitude to the London Buddhist Centre whose doors I walked through for the first time 25 years ago.
I am open to Buddhist Centre commissions so do contact me if you're interested or mention me to your local centre manager. I fulfilled a commission for Stockholm Buddhist Centre in 2017, and I'm currently working on a project for Paris Buddhist Centre.