Creation as a healing form of meditation

Featured Artist Nancy Monsebroten

"Lotus Vase", Porcelain Vase, 4 1/2”x 4 1/2”x 3 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten
On the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Nancy Monsebroten works from her home studio, enjoying the lovely view across the river to the bluffs of Minnesota. Having worked with clay for the last thirty years, she
feels she will never come close to exhausting all of the inspiration and ideas
that surround her. She is fascinated by the often overlooked details hidden in plain sight as she wanders through her garden or walks through the native sand prairie in front of her house. Her work is a reflection of all those amazing natural forms. It could be a seed pod, a flower bud, or an unfurling leaf. It could be the ripple pattern on the river, or a tree fungus. She is often surprised by what new inspiration appears, as though a pattern or shape is not there, and then suddenly it comes into her field of view.
Her first memory of clay was as a little girl, making mud pies and decorating them with lilac petals and dandelion blossoms. She would sneak her creations into the house and put them in the oven as a surprise for her Mother. Many years later, she finds herself making the clay itself into petals and blossoms, echoing that first mixture of earth and flowers.
Nancy feels very privileged to have been able to do the work that fulfills her all of these years. Her respect for nature informs her work deeply and she hopes that it may also be touching to her audience.
A number of years ago, after an overwhelming family tragedy, Nancy found herself back in the studio feeling too stunned to focus or work. Eventually she began a series of small vases that were completely covered
in individual petals, one by one. It was all she was able to do - just sit there quietly and piece those petals together. It became a healing form of meditation. Out of that series which was titled “Thousand Petal Vase” has come a new group of work named “Murmuration”—and, a marvelous term which describes a group of birds veering and flashing in hairpin turns across the sky. It is like a bowing down to the mystery of schools of fish or flocks of birds sweeping and rolling in perfect unison as if containing a group soul, how a turn will ripple through the entire group. It is as if seeing that seemingly perfect connection between each bird or fish also reminds us to value our connection to the world around us.
One explanation for that amazing ancient riddle might be the act of safety in numbers, protecting each other from outsiders, predators. Each a small part of a larger mysterious flow, not unlike a community of family and friends gathering close to form a unifying force in times of good or bad.
For more about Nancy or her work visit her website:

"Lotus Vase", Porcelain Vase, 4 1/2”x 4 1/2”x 3 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten "Burst”, Wall piece, porcelain, 8”x 8”x 1 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten "Flow”, Wall piece, porcelain, 8”x 8”x 1 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten “Thousand Petal Vase”, Porcelain, 6”x 6”x 4”, by Nancy Monsebroten “Sea Blossom”, Porcelain Vase, 6”x 6”x 4”, by Nancy Monsebroten
"Flutter”, Wall piece, porcelain, 10”x10”x2", by Nancy Monsebroten "Grandmas Perm", Porcelain Vase, 6”x 6”x 4 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten "Murmuration", (detail) "Murmuration", Wall piece, porcelain, 12”x12”x2”, by Nancy Monsebroten “I Dreamt of Lilacs Last Night”, Porcelain Vase, 5”x 5”x 4”, by Nancy Monsebroten
“Leaf Harmony”, Porcelain, 10”x 10”x 4 1/2”, by Nancy Monsebroten
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