CEREMONIAL CUPS

These stoneware cups and saucers, shaped by WiL Labelle with surface design by Coleman Stevenson, are crafted for both practical and metaphysical use and are inspired by Ancient Greek scrying bowls, Victorian era fortune telling teacups, and ancient Mesopotamian apotropaic incantation bowls. Use cup and saucer as a set to enjoy a few sips of tea or spirits, to perform tea leaf readings, or as a portable altar. Use the cups as receptacles or for scrying in the surface of the liquid within (or the dark interior of some cups). Use the saucers to hold or display your tiny precious objects.

 

Labelle forms these vessels from white stoneware clay using a wheel technique called “throwing off the hump.” Stevenson next applies a decorative underglazing to the bisque fired vessels. To make the finished pieces both luminous and safe for use, Labelle then applies a clear glaze before the final firing.

 

The text on all the saucers is excerpted from the poem “Gulls” by William Carlos Williams. The following lines appear in various combinations:

             

Oh, I know you have your own hymns, I have heard them—

and because I knew they invoked some great protector

I could not be angry with you, no matter

how much they outraged true music—

 

The cups feature a variety of text composed by the artists, personal spells to be activated through use. Each one is encouraging, protective, and, at times, slightly irreverent. In places, the text is crosswritten, obscuring legibility but further imbedding the wish into the vessel. It is not necessary to read the words of the spells directly for them to be effective — This experience is arational, intuitive, magical. Some of the cups’ lines include the following:

 

THIS VESSEL IS A MIRROR — WHAT I NEED IS SEEN

INSIDE THIS VESSEL MY FUTURE IS SEEN, MY FUTURE IS ARRIVING, MY FUTURE IS SECURE

ONE SIP FROM THIS CUP WILL MAKE ME SPEAK CLEARLY

ONE SIP FROM THIS CUP WILL MAKE ME INVISIBLE

ONE SIP FROM THIS CUP WILL MAKE ME IMPERVIOUS TO SPIDERS AND GUILT