Tree of Life
Series of Organic Vessels
The “Tree of Life” series
of organic vessels holds many common symbols: the form
itself represents universal feminine energy and a symbolic
process of opening, being filled, and birthing new contents.
Like an ancient alchemist, Alleman
begins with simple materials—clay
and water— and transforms them into powerful, mystical
artistic expressions. In alchemy, “the hermetic vessel
is the container of opposites, receiver and nourisher of
that which is to be transformed,” according to J. C.
Cooper. The vase form is commonly associated with “Tree
of Life” symbolism.
Collectors frequently comment on the transforming power
of her work and the compelling impulse to touch it. Perhaps
it is a power larger than both the artist and her work that
ignites such a strong response.
All of the vessels less than 25 inches
in height are created by hand-building a form in water-based
clay using slab and coiling techniques. Adding one row
of coils at a time, she creates the form and then smoothes
and defines it, using a rice paddle, coconut shell, ribs
and stones. During this process she “listens” to
the vessel itself, seeking inspiration on its ultimate
shape and embellishment.
When the surface has been prepared and she
has a sense of what the vessel is to be, she begins sketching
on the clay. Each piece tells its own unique story or thread
of imagery and symbolism. With the sketching complete, she
begins carving away all the clay that will not contribute
to the finished form and sculpting the remaining surfaces.
the carving and surface preparation are complete, the vessel
is dried, fired and then molded. It is then ready to begin
the second lengthy process, the lost wax casting in bronze.
The intricate cutouts in all her vessels demand a labor-intensive
casting process, as each vessel must be cut and refined again
in the wax stage.
The larger vessels are created in an oil-based clay and/or
wax and treated in a similar manner as described above.
Each Alleman vessel is stamped with
a mark resembling a cursive “Z”, found beside
her signature. This mark is her expression of the spirit,
like the wind, which is always moving within and around
us. It is her reminder and acknowledgement that she never
creates alone. A companion statement that accompanies most
of her vessels or bowls offers the artist’s symbolic
interpretation of each work and evokes its spiritual aspects,
reminding us that creativity comes from a higher source.