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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.

When 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.