Hand-thrown low-fire white clay, colored glass, white cotton thread, chalk 2009.
Created for the Asbury College [now University] Reunion 2009.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Hebrews 12.1, NASB
I have long been intrigued by the image of a cloud of witnesses surrounding and encouraging us along our journey. Although this passage clearly refers to the Old Testament saints named in the previous chapter, I have steadily come to realize that my own witnesses include many others in addition to the recognized saints of Scripture and tradition. My influences and inspirations have come from a great number of people: friends and mentors, family members and casual acquaintances. Not all of these have been especially kind to me, nor have all of them been Christian believers. Yet these, too, have been my witnesses.
In planning this show, I wanted to encourage viewers to consider all that we have taken away from these witnesses, and also to name and celebrate those who have influenced us most. The glass-filled bowls are symbolic of the variety of influences we have each received over a lifetime. Viewers are invited to select one, cut it free, and carry it away from the exhibit -- a physical embodiment of intangible gifts. In addition, viewers may take the chalk and add their own witnesses to the cloud of names on the gallery walls.
As the bowls are taken, the mass of hanging strings will remain as a record of all that has been given and received; likewise the growing layers of names on the walls will witness to the vast number of people who have encouraged us onwards in our holy journey.