For the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art’s very first Community Day in partnership with the Virginia African American Cultural Center, on April 1st, I was honored to be asked to hold space in the ceramics studio. Over six hours, I sat and threw almost continuously while talking about the magic of clay, the importance of design, and the wonders of art.
And don’t think it was a slow day, we really cut up! We had a group of aunties who turned the studio into a party, a cadre of kids who requested I throw a soccer ball…and then lost their minds when I actually made one, a young girl who coached me on exactly the kind of vase she wanted to see (miss mamas had a vision, y’all), and a group of college kids who came to show some style (and did!) and left with a newfound respect for clay as a medium.
I had the idea to create a Community Vase. At the beginning of the day, I threw a simple angular vase, set it right in front of the entry, and actively encouraged everyone that came through to leave their mark on the vase. People — kids, teenagers, and adults young and to old — could not wait to incise their name, or a picture, or a message on the vase. I took it home, glazed it only on the inside, and fired it, with the community’s imprint immortalized in the clay.
This spectacular little vessel, evocative of classical Roman graffiti, bears the memory of the day, the people, the community, forevermore.