Sunday, September 27, 2009

To Have and to Hold

The word vessel has more than one meaning. In this instance I am speaking of vessels that hold things, and not necessarily of the tangible variety. Vessels can hold the elements as in air or water, or they can hold flowers or photographs, jewels or buttons. They can hold memories. Vessels can appear empty when they are full, as the glass that holds water. Things that contain things have always mystified me. Esoterically, we may call ourselves vessels – each of us containing essence, emotion, and intellect, some of us more startling than others.


A classic glass urn I purchased in San Francisco.

I have become a collector of vessels, predominantly glass but also the rare piece of silver, stone or ivory. These pieces occupy places of importance throughout my home and are situated in the best possible places for the best possible viewing. If it’s glass, I want the sun to shine through it, if it’s china, as in my teacups, I want to enjoy their beauty with the ritual of ceremony, if it’s pottery, I want something earthy in it, and so on.

My beautiful coffee cups I bought as a birthday gift to myself.

The more stoic pieces have been strategically placed on important surfaces such as my grandmother’s writing desk or my burl wood cocktail table. I love each and every one of them differently, and with each piece, I can remember in an instant the first time I saw it, purchased it or received it – some from flea markets, and some from shops that have gone by the wayside. Some were acquired at my favorite consignment shop in Connecticut. Many were purchased on travels, once the vessels containing condiments purchased on foreign shores. Following are just a few of my favorites among favorites…

My all time favorite. An Alvar Aalto vase purchased at The Silk Purse in Ridgefield, CT.
A vesssel of old mustard jars for my colored pencils and brushes.

My Mother's Baked Alaska mold.
Evidence of my coffee habit.
A 1960's jar from Joseph Magnin.

Barbara Ashfield

1 comment:

Adeeni said...

I love vessels, and thank you for reminding us of the importance of details everywhere. A sweet little piece.