As most people who read this blog already know my father Tim and his wife Cynthia are Baba lovers (followers of Meher Baba, who died in 1969). My father, who has worked with clay most of his life and currently makes a living making porcelain jewelry, was asked to contribute his work as part of a large tower honoring Baba and representing all world religions. For the past few years he's been working and working to perfect large clay pieces for the project. I can't tell you how long and how many hours he's put into the project, with many many failed kiln firings where cracks and other imperfections would delay his progress. But, as you can see from these photos below, he eventually perfected the technique and made some extraordinary work. I asked him to write up a little thing explaining what he's been up to and why, which I've included below. He wrote this a month ago and has since returned from a trip to India (I've included a photo and model from the site he just sent me).
About the monument--getting ready for India so not much time, so brief. In 1940's Meher Baba, with numerous of his mandali (disciples) crossed the road in front of his ashram to lay to rest one of his close ones who had recently died. He announced then that in days to come a monumental tower would be erected on the site to honor all of his lover's who die before him. On the monument, he said, would be engraved their names and also would be placed the symbols of the major world religions. A list was begun from that day and today contains hundreds of names.
Ted Judson, the architect who designed and built many of Meherabad's buildings, has designed a marble monument standing 56-feet tall, surmounted by a huge lighted prism, in the shape of the famous mathematical shape known as Gabriel's Horn, a tower of marble that sweeps skyward in a parabola reaching to infinity and spreads in a twenty foot base to infinity at the bottom. A flower filled moat surround the base and the monument will stand in a park-like setting. He asked me to create the symbols, and I have worked on them for the last three years, first settling on the design and color of each symbol, and then solving numerous technical issues. The symbols are created in each religion's traditional colors, where that was important, and all share the same repeated designs, nine separate blocks, symbolizing the sameness of creation across all boundaries, and representing Meher Baba's statement that he had come to string all religions together like beads on the same string. The symbols each measure from 18-19 inches in diameter, and the ones so far completed are the Om for Hinduism, the Dharmachakra for Buddhism, the Cross for Christianity, the Moon and Star for Islam, and the Star of David for Judaism. Also completed is are the flames of the Firecup for Zoroastrianism. Left to be completed is the base of the firecup and the Mastery in Servitude symbol of Meher Baba himself. It's an honor to be involved in this project.