Artist takes inspiration from Sanskrit hymns for raku vessels

Posted in More Stories, Spotlight, Visual Art

Sept. 26, 2013

Beauty and the mystery of creation, are evoked by the truly elegant vessels created by Joan Govedare in her Night Sky Studio.

Govedare’s been hard at work creating a new line of pots for the October “Sumi and Ceramics” group show at Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm. In this series titled “The Divine Feminine: Shakti﹣the Goddess,” Govedare takes her inspiration from the Sanskrit hymn, Kundalini Stavah introduced to her through her practice of Siddha Yoga.

“I found the terms for ‘the Goddess’ in Sanskrit within that hymn,” Govedare said. “Using the in-breath and out-breath, and the phrase So’Ham, I have been experimenting with sensing the divine through my own breath; inner sensing, and outer sensing.”

Mata Lino Pavitrah - Merged in the Sacred Mother detail

A detail of Govedare’s “Mata Lino Pavitrah” or “Merged in the Sacred Mother ” shows the artist’s extraordinary finesse with the design of each piece. (Photos courtesy of the artist)

As part of her spiritual practice, Govedare has used this inspiration for a new series of ceramic vases for the Rob Schouten Gallery.

“Each of these pieces serves to help me understand, convey, and show respect for that which is divinely feminine,” the artist said, “and also gives me the chance to further understand the chant that I love so much, and enjoy so often.”

The smoky finish that underlies Govedare’s vessels is the result of an ancient firing technique called Raku. While red hot (about 2000℉) the pots are removed from the kiln and placed on a bed of pine needles in an air tight container. Here the trapped smoke enters the clay body and turns it the characteristic shades of black.  Once cooled, durable, waterproof, acrylic ceramic stains are applied with great precision, resulting in Joan’s uniquely elegant vessels.

To see Govedare’s work, visit the gallery at

“Sumi & Ceramics” will also feature sumi painters Angie Dixon and Fumiko Kimura, and the delicate porcelain pots of Dan Ishler and Maryon Attwood, displaying her Thai Spirit Houses.

The exhibit will run from Oct. 4 through Oct. 29, with an opening night reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on First Friday at the Farm, Oct. 4.  The gallery welcomes folks to come in and meet the artists and enjoy an evening of light refreshments, enjoyable conversation and exciting original art.

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