Feb 19, 2019

Tibetan Temple #3

I rediscovered polymer clay after a 20 year hiatus. Back in the early 90s, I made beads and pins and jewelry items.

This time around, I had in mind the tiny lumberyard and all my little itty bitty constructions. For the Zendo, I formed a little platter, a bowl and a vase. In the midst of the experiments, I fell in love again with this versatile medium. There are a bunch of useless polymer items around my studio right now,  a giant red flower, some art deco pillars, on the way to making tiny creations for the Tibetan Temple:

Here is the tiny tile floor, made from a large sheet of polymer clay, conditioned and rolled out to accommodate my 7x7 inch plan. After baking, I cut out the corner tiles to make room for the 1x1 inch pillars.

The wood base for the temple is three sheets of basswood glued together and framed in around the tiles.

I was attracted to Buddhist teachings because of the three essentials: (a) ethical conduct, (b) mental discipline and (c) wisdom. Along the way, I learned about making malas (another post) and painting as a meditation.

While studying Thangka painting, mental discipline was necessary, as was patience with myself and for the slow emergence of anything resembling a Buddha.

This little tile floor will be painted blue, the base stained with red.

The miter box lessons from my son, Michael, come in handy with my tiny tools. I am pretty happy with my corners.

Tulku Jamyang and his wife, Chigme, invited me often to share their Tibetan dinners. It was all very mysterious to me, big bowls of chopped meat, tureens of thick soup, flat breads and sweet pastes and sticky rices. We ate heartily with fat spoons as well as our fingers and drank copious amounts of rich dark tea with coconut butter (no yaks for miles and miles).

When I work out my Tibetan Temple, I remember Tuklu Jamyang's teachings, and translate the sacred geometry into my constructions.

I have become more patient over the years through meditations of all kinds, other art forms, knitting, of course, but the memory of Mondays with Tulku Jamyang, his quiet teachings, his generous spirit, hover around me like a sprite.

As I teach myself to sculpt with polymer clay, I'll make a teacher, a student and a Buddha.


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