Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Changing season

Clay from the earth shaped by an artist's hands
It should be a sad time. My friends at Ajoupa Pottery have been closing down their business these past few years. They sold the land where the workshop stood, and have been clearing out the site for months now. Over 20 years of memories besiege my friend everytime she goes back to the workshop. There's no roof now. The kilns have been sold or promised. The last bits of pottery broken or as yet unsalvaged sit on shelves. Let's take them all home!

Looting the warehouse before it's turned to another use

It should be a sad time for my friend the potter, but if it is, she's kept it in her heart. Instead I look at her hands - the extension of an agile and perceptive mind. They are the hands of a potter: broad, roughened yet capable of executing the most delicate gestures as if the fleshy pads of her hands - and especially the fingertips - could feel the beating heart of clay. It is that sentient touch that brings her to care for the earth itself, the garden around their Chicklands home, and the garden that's growing with many others who have her saplings and seedlings.

There are lessons in Bunty's garden. These are the lessons of growing seasons, flowering, fruiting, birds and bats, fires in the harsh dry season and immense growth spurts in the wet. The greatest of all however must be rootedness. We all send deep roots to feed off our mother earth. What then is our place in the cycle of seasons, our gift to fertility and, yes, to future food and future inspiration and future contentment?

It should be a sad time, but instead it is a time that quickens the blood, makes the heart flutter and brings the breath faster. For it is the time of a changing season. Who knows what the wind is bringing? Surely, it is a new beginning, a  harvest from a lifetime of putting down roots and keeping one's head above water, and dreaming on clouds and clear blue skies.

So all of us who have our favourite bits of Ajoupa Pottery, cherish them with use, instill memories of happy family life. They will be clay again one day, but in the interim, they are the fruits of Bunty!

Cherish your bits of Ajoupa Pottery - no matter how little they are

Life as a tree!!


  1. Lovely lovely post. Almost made me cry!

  2. Each morning, when we go to the beach, there are pieces of Amerindian pottery that wash up to shore.

    Once the clay has been heated to the required temperature, in what ever kind of kiln or oven that is used, the structure is altered, and it will not return to raw clay.

    Funny enough, clay was on my mind yesterday, when I read your blog. Oct. 14th is the day the indigenous people's of Trinidad and Tobago, celebrate their existence. So I was taking pictures of some of the pieces of Amerindian pottery that we have collected from the beaches of Tobago.

    I treasure the pottery I have from Bunty, and Ajoupa Pottery. It was so nice to leave the cumbersome pottery pieces of apples and bananas, stuck permanently together in an odd arrangement, and move on to beautiful pieces of individual hot peppers, ochroes, mangoes, avocados... and so much more!

    Not to mention the many years of pottery making she made possible for me and for hundreds of my students, by passing on to me so generously, some of her knowledge, skills and secrets. And especially for introducing us all to the wonderful clay here in our islands.