Bowls

This isn’t a craft blog, but I want to show off some bowls I made. I was reading Gathie Falk’s memoir Apples, etc., admiring her paper mache dresses, remembering I’d once played with paper mache — didn’t we all? — and my fingers itched to try again. Something easy, like a bowl or two.

Is there, in fact, an object as lovely as a bowl? Both in its usefulness (real or implied) and its shape? In what it signifies — receiving, holding?

My bowls are thin (about three layers) and — in terms of bowlishness — a little wonky. Nevertheless, they gave me pleasure, making them. Still do, looking at them. For the three below, I used tissue paper: purple, white, yellow. I painted the inside of the white one and glued on pressed hydrangea flowerets. The story bowl is sturdier, because it’s made from book paper. (From Alice Munro’s story “The Progress of Love” – I had a paperback edition, in addition to a hardcover copy, so felt the former could be sacrificed to scissors and a bowl!)

I like to read — and write — stories that are strong enough to hold meaning without being airtight. As for my self, there are certainly days I feel as flimsy as tissue. Lopsided from too many concerns perhaps. Then again, there are days when I manage to hold what I need to hold, keeping it light, and keeping myself open for gratitude.

Just for example, a day last week. I got a note from someone who accepted an apology I’d sent via a third party three years earlier, and it was so warm, the air suddenly felt sweet. (I’ve forgotten the details, except that it involved a discussion that turned passionate and there was rudeness on my part, but not having last name and contact info I had to involve someone else, which is how, as things can happen, it took three years to land.) Same day, I dropped off some stuff at the thrift store when I spotted a fold-flat lawn chair, exactly what we needed because one of the two we carry in the car (in case of an unexpected picnic?) had finally succumbed, even after duct tape repair. Since I was inside paying for the chair, why not take a quick peek at the books? And there, a collection of “new and selected” by Billy Collins, whose poems I love. Three surprises, nothing major I suppose, but they filled the bowl of me with happiness.