23 Feb 2013

Funerary Traditions, cont.

The funerabre traditions of Europe had contained and continued the Memento Mori theme in design and craft. While the Polish tradition of Funerary portraits died off, the funerary styles of clothing, and decorum continued its mission.

In the Protestant regions, the Quakers have developed a particular style of funerary ceramics. Whole sets were being created to serve at funerary receptions in a manner that would not disrupt the noble solemnity of the rite-ridden event.

Contemporary artist, James Turrell, himself a lapsed Quaker had involved himself in a process of designing a series of ceramic service pieces in the style of traditional Quaker basalt ware. In line with the community’s disciplined approach, the pieces are black, with subtle satin sheen. Sublime decoration is achieved with relief battering and combing. (I definitely will find and attach a photo of his amazing work)
I found this link in the meantime, it doesn't show very well the "blackness" and solemnity of the work so I look further.


I did not locate the nice images of the ceramic pieces I had mentioned YET (but I will, because I have the article) but I was glad to spot the photo of his other amazing image - almost a subject for a whole other post... This is the the interior of a Quaker prayer room.
Apparently Quakers' religious observance is prescribing sitting and sharing prayer time in complete silence, the pastor does not deliver speech. (as far I understand this at all....)

I am astonished with the stern simplicity and beauty of this tradition. The sky-opening in the room seems to best facilitate this contemplative expectancy... Hmmm.... Awesome.....

Photo found at here

More from Art In America

Three to Get Ready: James Turrell

  We don't usually speak of James Turrell and Josiah Wedgwood in the same breath, but Turrell's new line of ceramics, "Lapsed Quaker Ware," prompts the association.  Turrell was initially inspired in 1993 by the sight of Wedgewood's black basalt ware (or Quaker ware or funeral ware, as it is sometimes called) in the vaults of a country-house museum at Temple Newsome in Leeds, England, while he was working at the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust in Yorkshire.  The pieces reminded him of the stern ceramics he used while growing up in a Quaker community in California; Wedgwood has also been a Quaker.  In 1998 Turrell and the Irish potter Nicholas Mosse, who like the artist, considers himself a lapsed Quaker, finally came up with their own edition of black basalt ware in crisp, austere Neo-Classical shapes, many of them appropriated from Wedgewood, others more earnestly Arts and Crafts in feeling.  (The duo's white ware is currently in its experimental phase.)
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