Jane Sheppard's beautiful ceramic urns
We spent an enjoyable and inspiring day exhibiting at Frome's Pushing Up The Daisies event in Mid-October. Not only did we meet up with old friends and acquaintances, but we also met Jane Sheppard, who makes beautiful ceramic urns. We invited her to write a guest post for us to introduce her pots...
I’ve always held a strong respect for the sacredness of each life and our connection with the earth. After thirty years working as a ceramic artist in the ancient methods of coiling and smoke firing – decorating simply infusing my pots with smoke in a closed fire – I finally became ordained as an interfaith minister and started making low-fired ceramic urns. It’s not easy transitioning from a maker of art objects to urns. Introducing the sacred can be a bit of a taboo in the art world. But for me this work is important, and where I always envisaged my work heading.
All of my urns are coiled individually by hand. Coiling is a slow, meditative process and for me a very spiritual connection with the earth, our deepest ancestry and the miracle of our individual lives on this earth. All these thoughts transfer to the space that’s being created inside; the sacred space to honour the life held inside.
Each is unique, with it’s particular form and individually made stopper. Over a period of weeks they are coiled, scraped down and then burnished before being bisque fired. Decoration is made from applying paper as a resist before taking them down to the riverside where I place them in a contained fire, letting the smoke permeate gently.
Most of my urns are seed/ egg shaped; a metaphor for the cycle of life and a universally pleasing form. I like it for it’s simplicity. It’s a form that is both classic and contemporary. I like the thought of placing the seed back into the earth from which we came. I also make vessels based on native American seed pots, and am open to ideas personal to you.
Increasingly I’m lowering the temperature of my firings so that they can be tailor-made either for keeping in the home or burying into the earth and breaking down into the soil. It’s a beautiful idea that feels gentle and respectful. All of my work is about honouring.
Jane works from her studio in Bath and welcomes visits and conversations. She can be contacted by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 07854 629770. You can find out more on her website www.janesheppard.me
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