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Inspired By The Tides Project

Deborah K. Tash

This project is dedicated to the survivors who lived to rebuild in Japan and all of us who have lived to rebuild our lives after difficulty and tragedy.

In December 2010, three months before the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan wiped out so much along the coasts of the islands, I woke up with visions of vessels in my head. As a sculptor, never having made a utilitarian object; cup or bowl, I was puzzled. Still, I listened and allowed myself to be guided. I began relentlessly making vessel after vessel in the low fire ceramics studio I'd been working in for several years.

Then, three days before the disaster hit Japan, I woke up in the morning with a new insistent vision. It was Poseidon, the god of deep ocean, earthquakes and tsunamis, who called me. An image of him as a ceramic mask resonated in my mind. I had made few masks for male gods at that point, but it was another compelling vision, so I listened and surrendered to the process.

Pieces of the project began to fall into place. At work, one of my colleagues was from one of the islands that had been destroyed. She lost family and friends as well as her homeland. Hearing her story and supporting her in grief clarified the meaning of making these vessels. Japan is known for its ceramic vessels. I have always had a past-life inspired affinity for the jeweled islands of Japan, as well.

Poems began to emerge as I watched the surreal video footage and saw photos of the destruction and the aftermath of the tragedy of Fukushima. The project expanded to include them. I’ve been photographing tide pools and plan to create a video including images of the vessels, photos, poems and poem paintings and then translate them all into a book.

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