According to Wikipedia, a mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, maṇḍala; literally "circle") is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe. I took this definition literally and combined the knowledge of ancient and modern astronomers to depict the Cosmos in ceramic. The galactic spiral motif divides the tray into seven sections. The spiraling ribs end at smaller circular spirals, each adorned with a symbol for the seven Classical Planets. (Classical Planets were seven astronomical non-fixed bodies that could be observed with the naked eye during ancient times: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) Within each of the seven sections are patterns found in nature (blood cells, wood grain, water, eddies, leaves, scales, and molecular bonds). Under an emerald explosion at the center rests a single lotus flower, with its petals opening outwards towards the far reaches of the Universe. The flaws in this piece represent not only the chaos and uncertainty of the Cosmos, but also indicate my lack of experience with clay. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.
Wet clay model
Concept sketch (The overall asymmetry is by design to reflect the elliptical and chaotic form of galaxies)