Omphalos, Day 1

Today I began construction of the bowl which will form the center of the labyrinth, its omphalos.

Here’s the center as it stands now:

The bowl in the center at the moment was given to me by Ginny for Christmas. I use it for different kinds of almost rituals: washing the granite center pieces, that kind of thing. The bowl I am building will be permanently installed beneath the granite and bricks.

It will have a relatively flat bottom with a hole in it. Thus, water will drain from it (and yes, I’m planning on digging a deepish hole and filling it with gravel to serve as a drain beneath the bowl), but I can plug it to fill it if I wish. If I’d rather have fire than water, I can place a tray with candles in it–or just candles.

If I get really good, I’ll have candles beneath the water.

Anyway, I started work on that today. Andy Cunningham, Jr., the head of our art department, is a patient and effective teacher. I am using the coil method to build this thing. Here are the first three coils:

I include the water bottle for scale.

Ah, but perhaps you’ve spotted a potential gremlin: the rim of the bowl cannot be flat. There are bricks which will cut through the rim and jut out over the bowl.

And lo! I remembered that and did a rubbing of the center before I came down here:

That’s how I knew how big to make the bowl, and where to cut the channels. (The granite was supposed to have been cut at 90° angles, but my eye tells me clearly that it was not.)

Andy let me use the extruder, much to the disgust of the art minors, who were made to roll their own coils. Hence, by the end of the afternoon, I was done with the basic construction:

That sits overnight to dry a bit and firm up. Tomorrow we’ll flip it over and let gravity do the flattening of the bottom.

The floor is now open for discussion of what the inside of the bowl should look like.

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