The memorial vases honor the U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq since March 2003, when the U.S.-led invasion and occupation began. I stamp each vase with a soldier's name, age, insignia of their service branch, and the date they died.

I have made nearly 1,000 of the vases. I start with about a pound of clay, form each one on my potters' wheel, and then alter them to give them their shape. To me they are very figurative: those made in honor of a male soldier I give pointed handles; the ones honoring female soldiers have curvy, serpentine handles.

While making the vases, I find the names to be very remarkable - how so many names have come from other languages and cultures, proving America to be such a rich "melting pot." I think a lot about what the parents must have felt in choosing the name for their child.

I spent many months testing different clays and glazes, experimenting with how I wanted the vases to look. In February 2005, when there had been 1,493 U.S. soldiers lost in Iraq, I ordered a ton (2,000 lbs.) of the translucent porcelain clay I had decided to use for the vases. I fire them coated with a clear glaze.

I had intended initially to make a vase for each soldier but I am overwhelmed by the scale of the task. I am discouraged daily by the growing number of casualties, currently approaching 4,000 U.S. soldiers lost. I have sent vases to some families and other families have come to my studio to see my work and take back with them the vase I made in honor of their loved-one.

The vases have been shown as unique exhibits and together with other works. They have been displayed many places in different arrangements including in the "Best of Colorado Artists" exhibition at Denver International Airport in 2006-2007.

In March 2007, the beginning of the fifth year of the occupation of Iraq, I began making and photographing vase installations, primarily in outdoor and remote locations. These photographs have become an important part of this memorial tribute. In December 2007, I visited Washington DC. I wanted to photograph the memorials I had made against the backdrop of some of our country's famous monuments and memorials.