Lily Fein – Red Lodge Clay Center

Lily FeinNewton, Massachusetts

Red Lodge Clay Center Short-Term Resident (ASPN) 2015

I want to slow down. Life makes this seemingly simple task incredibly challenging. This is why I spent last year away from my studies, and one month in the Mohave Desert. Being pulled to the sparse and timeless desert was in part a reaction to the current speed and excess in contemporary, everyday life. With only a backpack for three months, I inherently became more intimate and in-tune with the things that I chose to pack.

This experience with objects lead me to a fascination with indigenous Japanese religion, practices, and culture, deeply rooted in Shinto and Buddhist beliefs of materiality. A belief in animism, or that objects are alive, was imbued in Japanese society long before their contemporary obsession with hyper-modernity and excess. I am drawn to animism, and what is still left of it in Japanese society because I want to feel like I did in the desert, and sustain a stronger connection to the functional things that surround me. The experience of having more intimate relationships to objects begins with one’s focus on a singular thing.

In my most recent ceramic pieces I have been coiling and pinching. The thing that stands out most in the process of making these works is the amount of attention that I pay to them. In addition to taking longer than my previous methods of making, pinching also visually embodies the passage of time, in the captured moments of each finger mark. Placing individual marks on an entire pot makes me slow down, which aids in my desire to be mindful, and is also something that I hope my pots convey. Slowing down creates opportunities for building relationships, whether with another person or an object.