Tim Freeman Ceramics


He Ipu Hō`ihi Pele

On a clear night, especially if the Kona winds are blowing, the glow from the vent at Halema`uma`u,’ blazing red against the blackness of night, can be seen from my backyard, a mere three miles away in the village of Volcano. I was drawn to live up here near the summit as a result of the incredible experience I had in the summer of 1991, while still a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, when I came to the Big Island and had opportunity to see a total eclipse of the sun from the edge of the crater at the summit of Kīlauea. The experience was quite profound, absolutely unforgettable, and thus ten years later, when I came to the Big Island to begin teaching philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, I knew where I wanted to live. In all the years I have lived up here in the forest near the summit I am continually charmed by the ephemeral beauty of the forest and amazed and awestruck over and over again by the grandeur of the summit landscape and the sublime power of the fiery lake at the summit.

I suppose it was inevitable then, that when I returned to working in clay a few years ago after a long hiatus, I would end up making these vessels.  In the Hawaiian language they might be called He Ipu hō`ihi Pele (vessels honoring Pele). They are an attempt to express a gratitude and reverence for this most extraordinary place.

Tim Freeman

PO Box 2224

Volcano, Hawai`i

(808) 345-5231



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Paris, Summer 2015

The Abode of Pele

This inner crater within the summit caldera is called ‘Halema`uma`u’, ‘the house lined with `Ama`uma`u ferns, and this names the place regarded by Hawaiians as the abode of Pele, the fiery goddess of the volcano.

A lava lake now rises and falls periodically in a vent that opened up in the spring of 2008 within Halema`uma`u’ .

At the Kīlauea lookout just below the summit observatory, one will find a sign erected by the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park informing visitors that in Hawaiian culture it is expected that one should show reverence (hō`ihi) in approaching the abode of Pele. If one were to consider what we know from the scientific study of the earththat it is the movement of the magma around the iron core that generates the magnetic field that protects the earth’s atmosphereand thus understood that without the fiery interior, the earth would not be a living place for us at all, then perhaps one might see that the Hawaiians might have been on to something in approaching this extraordinary place with such reverence.

Eruption at Halema`uma`u, May 2015

In early May of 2015 the lava lake within the summit vent arose and overflowed onto the floor of the vent. It was the first time in the eruption at the summit that began in the spring of 2008 that one could see, not just the glow, but the fiery lava lake itsellf from the public viewing area of the observatory at the summit. I took this video simply from an Iphone camera through the telescope at the summit..


Evoking the volcano landscape, my pit-fired ceramic Volcano Vessels are inspired by the experience of living in close proximity to a most extraordinary placethe summit of Kīlauea on the Big Island of Hawai`i.