In my clay studio in Ferrisburgh, I create belly bowls for pregnant women, as commemorative, functional pieces.
Using the pregnant belly as a mold, a slab or thin sheet of clay is stretched over a pregnant belly to create an organic bowl form. Each belly bowl is customized with an inscription of the baby’s name and date of birth on the bottom of the bowl.
Last Fall, I had the pleasure of creating two belly bowls for Susan Cline Lucey, Evolution’s Yoga Director. Susan has been a co-worker and friend for six years and has supported this endeavor from the beginning. I have been fortunate to make belly bowls for many of her prenatal students. Naturally, I was excited about the opportunity to share this experience with Susan.
2 bowlsSusan arrived at the Leaning Tree Studio 38 weeks pregnant. I had prepared two sheets of clay (one thicker than the other), so we could start the process. First, I laid a slab of clay on the belly, cutting the excess clay off. Next, I stretched the clay to form the bowl, letting the belly shape direct and guide the form.
Susan wanted a deep bowl, so at one point she stood up so I could stretch the bottom even more to capture the shape. We then, transferred the bowl to a board to dry and continued the process for a second bowl. After the bowls were made, Susan picked out custom colors for each bowl.
While Susan was on maternity leave, I finished the process, drying the bowls, carving her baby Jay’s name and date of birth onto them, firing and glazing. What I appreciate about this process is that each bowl just looks like an organic form. It is not obvious that is was formed on a pregnant belly, but that is the beauty of it.
blue green belly bowlSusan and I were both very pleased with her bowls when they were finished. They turned out beautifully with bright vibrant colors while the organic forms capture the essence of her pregnancy.
 
~ Jen Labie
Jen Labie is a graphic designer for Evolution Yoga. She creates belly bowls at the Leaning Tree Studio in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. For more information on belly bowls or to view Jen’s work, please visit www.leaningtreepottery.com

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