this is a message in a bottle, a distant smoke signal, this is like my thundering drum beat into the distance..
.... as you have probably gathered I am a rastaman-potter contacting you from 130 miles south of Miami....waaay out into the straights of Florida, a waterway crosscurrents between the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. We are only 93 miles from the Northern coast of Cuba and my studio is 2 blocks South of Mile Marker 1 on US A1A
The Spanish conquistadors named our Island Cayo Hueso, or "bone island", for the many human skeletons found scattered cross the area-- supposed remnants of the warring Calusa and Seminole peoples native to the South Florida. The colloquial perversion over time has become "Key West"
Annnywho....As you may or may not also know, I am a fairly recent import to the Island my own self. However, far from a conquistador, I have come on a purely peaceful mission...life gain as i call it. The giving and receiving of betterment. My artist wife and I moved to the islands on a total whim while she was freshly pregnant with our second son. We moved to key west, with our business, on a shoestring budget.... Half from a sense of adventure and half from a looming domestic "locked in-ness" to life patterns.... key west is where we ended up. Unsurprisingly, almost everyone else we meet here did the same thing. Welcome to the Conch Republic...
Life Gain is the forwardness one feels when coming into contact with a positive vibration/energy....hear me out, this isnt some new age hippy business-- its a serious thing. If youve ever felt motivated to create something good and then DID IT... you know life gain. It makes everyones life better, not just your own.
Ahemm.... where you goin with this A?
The reason I bring it up is because my extended adventure in Key West has had me pleased to encounter a few genuine like of heart artists performers rastamen hippies yogis pirates bums millionaires freespirits and life gain seekers of various form...
We have been so surprised to find an inordinate amount of POTTERS on the island.
A whole flock of potters, congregated from the far reaches of the mainland. Crazy variation in styles of ceramic art/pottery in the vernacular down here.
As you would imagine we Key West potters as a group, are totally interested in the idiosyncratic tendencies of the next guy. And since potters spend so much time in silent concentration-- we really like to talk to each other when the chance comes up (its also a really, really small island).
Consequently, I have a whole blog agenda of potters I would like to show, just to big them up you know.
Life gainin my creative people, it is a pottery blog.
Kell and I were pleased to visit our Friend John O'neill (www.oneillstonewaredesign.com) at his home studio in Key West today.
The envy of many northern craftsmen Im sure, but not uncommon in the Islands, John's studio has the ultimate skylight............o p e n a i r .............. true inspiration from nature, hes built a tool rack into the privacy fence and spins pots under Key West sunsets everyday . His two beautiful daughters and wife mill about the cool little house in that total "life as a family" type of way that Im also feelin right now, positive.
When we stopped by John was workin out glaze recipes in 25 gallon buckets, a serious production this guy has.. nice pots all over the place.
Get too hot after throwing 25 pots in the blazin tropical sun? walk 8 steps to the left and fall in to the pool, pure key west. John has (also 2010) recently moved to the island full time and has nice a thing happenin with a nice vision to unfold as well. Check out some of his work.
Heres John himself throwing an invisible pot... hahaha. Just kidding, hes convincing me of the usefulness of a Griffin Grip, I want to get one a those things.
Here is John's oldest girl showing me one of his custom sinks. An elegant bowl on a table, way beautiful and simple, I really really like this one.
So...... in summation of the philosophically bent beginning to this post:
Pottery is the field we work in-- Life Gain is our business, giving and receiving. Dig it?
I think any artist worth his or her weight will sight me on that. The real art is the LIVING art:
inspiration- form-community-creativity- zeal-concentration-mastery-awareness seeking-giving-wanting/achieving collective betterness,
and not simply the pretty/symbolic objects it bears as fruit -- they are the just the indication of the living art.
See? If yall keep reading Im going to be gettin all talismanical on ya!
Pots can makes you think.
UNRELATED... at the request of my boy...
ahhh a man's first road rash. We're time travelin in the book of life.