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On January 9th we visited David Pinto who toured us through his wondrous studio at Good Hope, not far from Falmouth. You will want to check out more about David at his website: http://jamaicaclay.com David came to Baltimore Clayworks several years ago, and met with Deb and Sam and others when he was envisioning the program and studio he has in Jamaica today
His studio assistant Ian is shown above near sticker that reads, “Fire pots, not guns.”
David demonstrated both hand building and wheel throwing, and generously shared his thoughts about his work. Check out our slideshow (next post) for more photos of his work and studio.
Today we lounged by the beach and the pool, sometimes commenting on news that our Baltimore families were dealing with snow and cold. Sorry.😆 At least we are thinking of you.
But the day’s highlight was our visit to Isaiah aka The Flower Pot Man, the man who brought Sam Wallace into the world of clay.He is a great smiling man, who toured us around his studio aside his wife Artjen, then demo’d his Jamaican Coil “Dance Around The Pot” method.
He showed us how he processed and dried the clay, how he built 6 huge pots at a time, and how he fires his wood kiln. We recognized a few designs and decorations that are familiar in Sam’s own work. The pupil will return to see the mentor next week, and will show him the overlap rim technique.
“With clay you never stop learning,” Isaiah told us. “Every day you get a new idea.”
January 6 is the date of the annual Accompong Maroon Festival in the mountains, celebrating the victory over the British by the Maroon led by Colonel Kudjoe. Read more of the fascinating history here:
It was an adventurous ride up into the hills of Coptic Country (or Cockpit Country: look it up) on one-lane country “roads” with frequent two-way traffic, but worth the trip.
Though not as colorful nor well-presented as Sam remembered, Accompong provides a look into a singular independent culture preserved in a clean, lovely town. The Maroons paraded to music of drums and horns from the sacred burial grounds to the kindah tree, then up to a crowded street fair.
The drive back to Culloden was a big misadventure including two delays near the festival (one to move parked cars so the bus in front of us could pass through; another due to a wrong – way bus disabled by a busted clutch, and blocking all traffic).
But the highlight was what Sam termed “a right turn at the wrong time,” which led us on a winding, trying, rutted-road trip north (i.e. wrong way) across all the mountains of St. James to ….. Montego Bay. It took us a total of 4.5 hours to get back “home” via this scenic route, but we mostly took it gamely.
We are on vacation, mon, and every ting is every ting.
Black River is the capital city of St. Elizabeth parish and a must forJA South Coast visitors. We stopped on the main street to do some cell phone, CD (gospel), and flip flop shopping. Then we headed to Paradise Dock for lunch and our Black River boat tour.
From our pontoon boat we explored the brackish waterway with narrated highlights from our guide Elvin. We saw crocodiles big and small, 3 types of egrets, heron and osprey. We glided past lily ponds, through a mangrove alley, and into broad waters where two rivers meet. The mountains were visible in the distance beyond.
In 85 degree heat, the breeze on the water was refreshing, too. We ate lunch outdoors under a thatched roof, enjoying curry and jerk chicken, festival (bread), and a very tasty roti veggie wrap. Cold soft drinks with names like Island Flava and Ting, allong with bottled water (Wata) also helped keep us cool.
We hsd a nice talk with our chef Andre Brown (search for him on Facebook). He is pictured here at left, with his assistants Tamika and Hamilton.
From here we ventured up the hill to Brumpton to meet Sam’s family. More on that to follow.