|An antique Arbol de Vida...|
|Well used, and covered in wax...|
Many religions of the world make reference to a Tree of Life. In central Mexico, Trees of Life made of clay are a traditional art form. After the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Catholic church made it a practice to destroy all previous idols and gods. The church began to introduce Christian iconography. So, the trees were created to teach biblical stories to natives during the colonial period. And, they had the added benefit of bringing light into the church, as Mexican Trees of Life almost always function as candelabras.
Many Trees of Life feature Adam and Eve. Usually, there is also a serpent and the leaves and flowers of the Garden of Eden. Recently, many Trees of Life have become more secular in nature, simply showcasing birds, leaves, and flowers. I've been experimenting with making Trees of Life, since creating a large stoneware wreath back in an early ceramics class.
|Fantastic leaf detailing...|
|Gravity defying piece...|
|A modern Arbol de Vida...|
|Terra cotta colored clay...|
Below are some wall pieces that I've made for Open Studios. They have many of the features of non-traditional Trees of Life. The first one is going to be bisque fired tomorrow. Surprisingly, they have taken forever to dry. I think that glazing them will be an exciting challenge. I'd like to give them some color, but also antique the finish a bit to give them age and texture.