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Sculpting Prayer Towers in Clay

Updated on February 3, 2014

Ceramic Handbuilt Church Sculpture

This church is a hand built replica of a mission church in Socorro, New Mexico. A big portion of the real church collapsed due to old age and weatherization shortly after I constructed this one in clay. It took about 3 weeks to build this church before it could be fired. Then I designed a custom made glaze for this piece. I call my glaze '57 Thunderbird because it is a metallic blue similar to one of the original colors the 1957 Thunderbirds came in. When I rub away the glaze a bit it causes a break in the glaze and changes the color to brown instead of metallic blue. This church measures 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet tall. I hope to make a few more replica's of actual churches soon.

After sculpting churches, I began to concentrated on sculpting prayer towers.

What Are Prayer Towers?

In almost every city, certainly in most countries, you'll find a place to pray. Often a tower that stands high above the city, like a lighthouse you can see far off. Beconing the weary to come seek refuge with its walls. Prayer towers, sometimes built on church property, sometimes nothing more than a lonely building in a field surrounded by solitude and God's creatures, some are built sparing no expense, some built with very little funds, some magnificant, some are sparce, all are greatly loved, all offer something that draws mankind.

Every man or woman, unless they are tourists visiting, go to a Prayer Tower for one thing, to seek a higher being to assist in some manner and answer their prayer, their hearts desire and the fulfillment of their wish come true.

"He pulled me up from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock." The famous words of King David. That's what men seek when they visit these holy places built by the hands of man. A secret place where only God can hear. It's a pilgrimage to a hidden place where one knows the answer must have come from God alone for there is no one else who knew my prayer request.

Dragon Prayer Tower

How my prayer towers came to be

I came to make these Prayer Towers after a great deal of pondering. I was putting together exhibits for a gallery show coming up shortly and I thought I could use these prayer towers as part of my show. I had a 2 big display cases and I needed some things for the bottom shelves. The shelves were going to be a little dark on the bottom so I wanted something that lit up the display case.

Much of my artwork centers around spiritual insights so I was looking for a spiritual piece that lights up. So I thought why not a tower that you can put little prayers in that light up like a lantern. So I began to research prayer towers. I found out that Prayer Towers exist in almost every country in the world. Often people make a pligramige to a prayer tower and leave bhind their handwritten prayer scrolled on parchment left for that purpose.

I made a Gothic & European Style, Farm houses, Asian style, etc. I made a total of 6 prayer towers in one week and 2 weekends. I designed each prayer tower as a lantern. The night light would go in the bottom using a 15 watt bulb and it would shine out the windows like real houses of prayer. I made little stands out of clay to hold the lights as well.

Lastly I designed the windows so you can write your prayers on small pieces of paper and roll them up and place them in the windows until your prayer was answered. The papers are far enough away from the lights so they will not pose a danger of fire.

Photo: This Prayer Tower is one of the tallest I made and features a dragon on top.

Gothic Style Prayer Tower

The Prayer Towers come with a christmas sized light bulb in an enclosed non flamable encasement. Once turned on the light shines through the windows and openings.

The point of the these Prayer Towers is to write your prayer on a piece of paper roll it into a scroll and place it in the tower window until your prayer is answered like they do with candles in the Catholic Churches or as they do with prayers written on paper and place in the cracks of the wailing wall in Israel.

Sun Star Tower

This prayer tower features 4 windows on each side for lots of prayer requests. The lid is removable and it comes with a light up cord that causes a glow to come from the small windows when the light is plugged in.

Owl House Tower

Comes with light switch as well

This house features windows in the shape of a cross and an adorable watchful owl sitting on the top of the roof. Owl represent wisdom. "Let my house be a house of prayer."

Asian Lantern Prayer Tower

This prayer tower is actually 3 separate pieces. It sits on a stand featuring two koi fish. The centers section resembles a japanese lantern with windows shaped like asian coins and the roof is shaped like a pagoda. It comes with a lighted cord and is suitable for use in a garden.

The blue is a solid dark blue but it is very glossy and causes a reflection no matter what angle we take photos from.

Various Prayer Towers

Click thumbnail to view full-size

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      7 years ago

      These prayer tower sculptures are really neat.


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