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Cow Vessel

19"h x 18"l x 11"w; 
Photo by Melisa Kroening
Texture belly of a long-horned cow vessel with 3 tall spouts.

Okay, so every once in a while I get inspired by a cow. Its part of living in the lonely, wild, renegade outback of Eastern Oregon. 


If you don't care much for cows, you are probably one of those city slickers with your clean shiny waxed car, and your fancy Columbia Sportswear wind breaker. Or not. You could be a wild renegade Eastern Oregonian. Lots of us don't much like cows either, (especially when our cars are clean, and cattle are on the highway) but they are a part of our lives when they aren't being part of our deaths. 


Cows are everywhere, and taken with a shaker of salt, they are really pretty great. I am fond of cows in a way. Especially milk cows at the county fair. They are so gentle, and so large, and kids can sit on them without much of a fuss on the part of the cow. Some cows, that is. (It's a good idea to ask first if the cow in question is a stealth "death cow".)


Every time I visit the subject with my art, I end up making the same points, namely that cows are manipulable and they are useful and they have horns (sometimes). But somehow, this time, I wanted 

to focus on the quiet good nature of the beast, almost as a companion. The cows at the county fair are hardly the average run of the mill cow in these parts, as we are primarily a beef cattle area, and most of our cows are fairly wild, and would just as soon kill you as lick you, but to the kids that raise and care for the more domesticated 4H animals, their cows become like family. 


My cow vessel makes the obvious point, cow as provider, but at the same time, I'm a bit overcome with a sense of bovine magnetism. Our poles have briefly aligned, and just for a time, we are almost like family, me and cow, until such time as our pastures are once again scattered with the much more prevalent "death cows" I have mostly known, and our relationship will again be best described as a mutual tolerance with the occasional bout of intolerance, and likely a bit of  humiliation. 

Bronze vessel of a long horned cow with 3 spouts.
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