On Being Water

Ruby Huh

11/30/20202 min read

Pouring a reflective glaze to evoke a fluid sensation, I created this wall-piece to investigate the ethics of water. On Being Water was inspired by a text from The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. The Chinese philosopher quotes, “The supreme goodness is like water. It benefits all things without contention. In dwelling, it stays grounded. In being, it flows to depths. In expression, it is honest. In confrontation, it stays gentle. In governance, it does not control. In action, it aligns to timing. It is content with its nature and therefore cannot be faulted.” I was intrigued by its unpretentious presence. Its pure, sophisticated way of thinking displayed an ideal paradigm. Out of all the elements on Earth, water naturally disintegrates the ego.

I was also stunned by the presence of water when I read the book Endurance by Scott Kelly. The astronaut describes his rare experience in an ISS mission, where he spent a record breaking year in space. Towards the end of his memoir, he mentions, “Personally, I’ve learned that nothing feels as amazing as water… The sensation of being immersed in water for the first time in a year is impossible to describe. I’ll never take water for granted again.” For someone who had an extraordinary experience among the distant celestial bodies, I was fascinated by his realization of something so common in our daily lives. I felt as if the translucent aqua rippled through our awareness, touching upon our gratitude.

Water is not only a survival ingredient, but also a lesson to stay present and humble throughout the path of life. It enables us to see beyond our circumstances, reflecting back on what it means to be a human.

After all, up to 70% of our body is water.

Glazed stoneware
10” x 8.5” x 2”

Ruby Huh received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2016. Her works are mainly inspired by philosophy, theoretical physics, and the well-beings of the human mind. She is currently living and working in Seoul.