Friday, June 16, 2017

RIP Paulus Berensohn

Sad news: Paulus Berensohn died late last night. Paulus was a longtime and beloved member of the Penland community, and he was known to potters everywhere for his 1970s book, "Finding one's way with clay: pinched pottery and the color of clay." Paulus didn't limit his work to clay; he was also a dancer, poet and teacher. This is just scratching the surface, though: Paulus lived a fully creative life. More recently, the documentary "To Spring From the Hand: The Life and Work of Paulus Berensohn" was released. The Penland Blog has a post about a screening of the film at Penland in 2013.

Penland has posted about Paulus’ death on facebook and also shared the email message below.

Rest in peace, Paulus. You will be missed.


Dear Friends,

Paulus Berensohn has "changed his address," as he was fond of saying, beginning his next journey just before midnight on Thursday, June 15, at Solace Center in Asheville, NC. His body returned to Penland this morning. The community is invited to help with his transition by quietly accompanying him in the Buddhist tradition.

"Often the body requires some time to accomplish this passage in peace, and the transition can be greatly aided by the attention of those who love him, " writes Caverly Morgan, who, along with Joy Seidler, will be facilitating this moment. We invite you to attend. Please come by Paulus's house today, Friday, June 16 from 4-7 PM or tomorrow, Saturday, June 17 from 4-7 PM for a moment of quiet sitting. (Address: 1968 Penland Road, just south of the Toe River bridge.)

Per Paulus's wishes, he will be buried at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, a green burial sanctuary in Mills Rivers, just south of Asheville, in a casket of cardboard collaged with paste papers and his own paper stitching, and lowered into a grave dug into Carolina clay by Jonah Stanford. Burial will be Sunday at 2 PM. (Address below.) All are invited to attend the quiet sitting and/or the short burial service. If you have any further questions, call Debra at 612-414-0936.

There will be a larger Celebration of Life for Paulus on Saturday, July 22. Details to come.

With Love,

The Transition Team

Burial Sanctuary address:
Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
195 Blessed Way
Mills River, NC
(just west of the Sierra Nevada site)


Andrew Turnell said...

I had the enormous privilege to know and spend time with Paulus in NC and in Australia through his close friend MC Richards . . . there are few words to express the blessing Paulus was to this world and pay tribute to the extraordinary life he lived, he was a beacon of 'life lived as the real art' as MC would say. Paulus lived an amazing life - thank you for the blessing and inspiration . . . you will remain a guiding star for how I live my life. Andrew Turnell, Perth Australia.

conniedyer said...

I was only recently exposed to Paulus' work and words. Just last weekend I attended a dance retreat in Oregon's Breitenbush Hotsprings that was inspired by Paulus' and his work. We began the first evening watching the documentary about his life and work "To spring from the hand" - an amazing and inspiring work. Then over 2-1/2 days we danced, meditated, and created pinch pots, inspired by an excerpt from a Mary Oliver poem (below). We journaled and working together created poems and choreography from our experiences. It was magical and transformative.
From "To begin with, the sweet grass"...
"Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, the potter,
to make me a begging bowl which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance."

George Vye said...

He was a dear friend of 60 years, ever since our dancing days, studying with Martha Graham in the 1950's.
You will be missed by many dear heart.
George Vye
Seattle, Wa.