Patra Passage

February 14 - May 10, 2015

Patra PassagePatra Passage, created by artist Lynda Lowe is an art project centered on the gifting of 108 small ceramic bowls. The exhibition, centering on art and community, will be on display at Museum of Glass from February 14 through May 10, 2015. This project suggests that the experience of an object is as important as the object itself, and serves to remind participants and viewers of how art can be used to create and connect a community.

“Employed as an archetype, the vessel possesses a full range of associations: numinous and commonplace, conscious and unconscious, interior and exterior. Over time this symbol has come to represent in my work the cycle of giving and receiving as a single fluid act,” notes Lowe.

Lowe, a painter, returned to her roots in ceramics for this project. She studied art history, drawing and painting in Italy before getting her Master of Fine Arts at Indiana University. Her art is inspired by a wide range of interests, including nature, scientific illustration, and spirituality. The first seeds of inspiration for Patra Passage came from Lowe’s visit to a Tibetan monastery in 2000. “Walking through those dark quiet rooms with their filtered light and peculiar scent of yak butter lamps and burning sage, I was transfixed by a line of simple bowls on an altar table. Were the bowls and their various contents offerings, or something which to receive? Being unfamiliar with their purpose at that time, the image was powerful and mysterious,” says Lowe.

Starting in September of 2013, each vessel has been gifted at least three times to a new recipient, and kept for as little as a few days or as long as four months. Over 480 people have participated in this yearlong cycle. According to Lowe, the word “patra” originates in Sanskrit and translates as “the vessel that never goes empty.” In this project, the vessels may pass from one person to another, but the experience of owning the vessel remains, creating a conversation about how art is shaped by context.

This exhibition is also a place for conversation about the intersections between ceramic and glass arts. Many studio glass artists started in ceramics, and have found it a comfortable transition. Additionally, both types of art are affiliated with the craft movement, and often are seen for their functional or vessel-like qualities before they are seen for their artistic qualities.

The exhibition will include a painting by Lowe and a touchable vessel on display. The project has an interactive website at

Image credit: Photo courtesy of Lynda Lowe.

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