Janine Antoni

Hearth, 2014

Set of three pit fired ceramic vessels

4 3/4 x 6 1/2 in (12.07 x 16.51 cm), 4 3/4 x 7 7/8 in (12.07 x 19.88 cm), 5 1/8 x 8 in (13.02 x 20.32 cm)

Hearth was inspired by the moment during childbirth when the mother’s sacrum shifts back to allow the baby’s head to pass through. Just as the baby’s head pushes the mother’s sacrum to travel through the birth canal, Antoni also pulls the sacrum up from the wet clay to form the vessel’s shape. The three vessels animate the phases of change during the birthing process. In these three vessels, she articulates this process showing how each body both yields and forms to the other. In some cultures, the woman's two pelvic bones and the sacrum, are considered to be metaphorical hearthstones surrounding the fire of the woman's reproductive organs. 

The sculptures in Pelvic Vessels - Martha, Rosa, and Hearth - are inspired by the birthing process. While the pot is on the wheel and still wet, Antoni drags the inner edges of the sacrum around the bowl of the vessel to make its form. From a sculptural perspective, Antoni is fascinated by the negotiation between the pelvic bones of the mother and the head of the baby during the birthing process; both bodies are forever changed by this rite of passage.