Ikebana Connects Creative Traditions in ‘Common Ground,’ a Ceramic Project Tying People Together Through Earthen Materials

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#Adam Silverman #books #ceramics #plants

Ikebana Connects Creative Traditions in ‘Common Ground,’ a Ceramic Project Tying People Together Through Earthen Materials

a small ceramic pot with a sprawling floral arrangement shot against a blue backdrop

“Massachusetts.” Photo by Joshua White. All images courtesy of Inventory Press, shared with permission

“Before there was America the country, or the individual states and the ensuing territorial identities and resulting politics, there was the land that America occupies,” writes artist Adam Silverman about Common Ground. Born in 2019, the ongoing project is ambitious and optimistic, seeking to connect people separated by ideology, geography, and culture through the shared land we occupy.

While its goal is lofty, the premise of Common Ground is simple: Silverman harvests clay, water, and wood ash from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the five occupied U.S. territories—Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands—and then blends the materials together so that the substances and their origins are indistinguishable. That mixture is the basis of the artist’s ceramic vessels, which encompass two series of tableware and ceremonial pots. He explains about the latter: “The forms are not subtle, and although they stand on strong feet or foundations, they are battered, scarred, leaning over, showing the processes that got them here. The tops are open, symbolically ready to receive.”

A new book published by Inventory Press celebrates Silverman’s ceremonial pots, which are paired with sweeping arrangements made by ikebana students and teachers. Common Ground: With Sogetsu Ikebana Los Angeles documents the artist’s process and explores the impulse behind the project, particularly as it bridges American and Japanese making traditions. Spreads are full of diagrams explaining differences in materials, images of Silverman collecting and preparing his substances, and photos of the completed collaborative works that show myriad Ikebana creations emerging from the vessels.

Common Ground: With Sogetsu Ikebana Los Angeles is currently available from Bookshop, and you can explore more of the project on its site.

a small ceramic pot with a sprawling floral arrangement shot against a blue backdrop

“Maryland.” Photo by Joshua White

a small ceramic pot with a sprawling floral arrangement shot against a blue backdrop

“Pennsylvania.” Photo by Joshua White

An open book spread showing ceramic vessel with botanicals growing from them in a gallery

a small ceramic pot with a sprawling floral arrangement shot against a blue backdrop

“Louisianna.” Photo by Joshua White

An open book spread with

a small ceramic pot with a sprawling floral arrangement shot against a blue backdrop

“West Virginia.” Photo by Joshua White

the cover the book common ground with a collection of ceramic vessels on the cover

#Adam Silverman #books #ceramics #plants

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