Buddhism and Packing Combine at New Art Exhibit

There is a long tradition of cowboy poetry, but how about cowboy pottery?

An art exhibit in Bishop makes the unlikely connection between Buddhism and packing in the Sierra. Former packer Walter Schober and ceramic artist Mark Messenger have teamed up to bring these two diverse subjects together.

Messenger had worked at the Schober Pack Station out of North Lake for 15 summers, but it wasnt until recently that the two discovered that they had both read the same 1000 year old Buddhist text. The old text used pictures to tell the story of a man who finds oxen, tames the oxen, then puts them to work.

Messenger says that the text was a metaphor for taming ones mind. While neither are card carrying Buddhists, he and Walt Schober thought the metaphor applied perfectly to a day in the life of a packer.

The work is a collaboration of artist and writer. Messenger has created a series of ceramic plates that tell the story, while Schober supplies a haiku for each plate along with a brief explanation.

Messenger has other ceramic art on display that takes a modern twist on this ancient art form. Two other artists are featured at this opening Friday night. The mountain photography of John Dittli is on display. Kathleen Sexton, not only runs the veterinary hospital in town, shes also a talented artist. Her oil paintings of cowboys at work will be on display as well.

The art opening is scheduled to get started at 7:00 Friday night at the Inyo Council for the Arts on Main Street Bishop.

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