Sharing Is Caring! Share this awesome content with your friends now.
by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
When we went to the Montpelier Agricultural Show, we expected to meet some very talented and interesting Jamaicans but the sheer amount was overwhelming!
Take Isaiah Stevens, for example, pottery extraordinaire from Brompton, St. Elizabeth who came to showcase his clay flower pots and planters.
While I think we can all agree that creating anything from clay is no easy feat, Mr Isaiah’s methods are that much more impressive. He does not have a potter's wheel! All his pots, whether big or small, are made with his bare hand and a few everyday items (forks, old slippers, sticks) as tools. From that, he can create beautiful pieces to improve your gardens and floral arrangements.
How did Isaiah learn this? His 30 plus years of expertise all come from trial and error and the natural gift of creativity. A fact his wife and four girls can vouch for.
We simply had to journey to Brompton to see his work live and we had great company.
An ardent subscriber of the channel, Bridgette who just so happened to be on vacation at the time, took the journey with us and she was most impressed.
You watch the video here!!
The process of turning clay into anything is much harder than you think. First, the clay is dug, and then, it is washed (literally) to remove all the debris (sticks, stones, leaves, you name it). If this isn’t done right, it can cause problems later on.
After all that is done, it is strained and set to dry on the clay beds. The small wooden structures allow the excess water to dry out from the clay making it the right consistency to be moulded.
It is then brought into the workshop and used to make all Mr. Isaiah’s creations.
Now is the time a potter would break out his wheel and begin moulding, but Isaiah uses a block and a flat board as his workstation. Then he carefully walks around his station, moulding his creation as he goes along. He is one of three Jamaicans (that we know of) who still make pots using this method.
After his pots are made and dried, the next step is to take them to his homemade outdoor oven to “bake”. This process can take anywhere between a day and a half or two full days!
When they are completely dried and hardened in the oven. The fire is removed but the pots remain inside to cool down for another two days. As you can see by now, pottery takes immeasurable patience.
Remember when I said the washing step was very important or it would cause problems later on? Well, if the clay isn’t properly cleared of all debris, any sticks, leaves or stones left in the pot will burn out causing the pots to have holes or even to break and become impossible to use.
How long do clay pots last?
As long as they are treated with care, they can last a lifetime. But, doing things like lifting it by one handle especially after planting in it can cause it to break.
His wife Artune Stevens, knows a lot about his business too. The more animated of the two, she was able to expound on exactly how tedious the process of creating clay pots is.
And, although she doesn’t consider herself to be as good as her husband at creating the pieces she can make the smaller pieces herself.
They have been working together at this job for over 30 years but before they truly settled into the art of pottery, they sold mangoes and brooms too.
Mrs Isaiah as she is affectionately called, remembers a time when it wasn’t as successful as it is now and it took a lot of patience and faith that things would eventually work out.
Artune describes her husband as “special” and “a Godsend” for the work he can do because not many would be able to do what he does and I must agree with her on that. When you see the video you can share your thoughts too.
In the mind of the potter's wife, it is the many talented people like her husband who make Jamaica special and she went on to express how appreciative we must be as a nation for all the blessings we collectively share.
To contact Isaiah’s Unique Clay Pots:
Sharing IS Caring! Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)
If you found this page useful, please consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, to get even more.
It tells you each week about the new information that I have added, including new developments and great stories from lovers of Jamaica!