I arrived in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua in September 1995.
I broke ground on constructing a home there just over 22 years later in November of 2017.
Pouring the concrete of the 2nd floor, the idea struck me like a lightning bolt......that would become the space where my own ceramic art studio will live. Atlantis Studio was born.
For the 22 years leading up to that defining moment I had dedicated my life to understanding the ancient pottery history of the pueblo and supporting the local clay artisans who kept the tradition alive.
Over 60 artisan visits over those years from the village to my home in North Carolina turned into hundreds of art exhibits, fairs and shows ranging from flea markets to some of the most exclusive art events in the country.
Over that time many thousands of pottery sculptures bye village artisans had been purchased and placed in homes of happy customs, many coming back for more, some going loco purchasing more than 20 pieces from me over the years.
All said and done many village artists had bought land, built homes, employed their family and friends and created a fulfilling life for they and their families while developing their artistic talent and representing their rare cultural patrimony in clay.
A rough accounting of those years lead calculated to the total of 5 million dollars in sales of village clay work over those 2 decades plus.
With over a half million miles on the Ford Van I had driven around the country literally dozens of times over......could I start something new?
When looking at the freshly poured concrete floor of my new home in San Juan de Oriente I knew that Atlantis would not only be a reality but a successful and unique expression of both a 1000 year indigenous pottery heritage and the wild personal thoughts, ideas and designs that had kept me engrossed in the little pueblo since I arrived.
Atlantis has become the one of a kind cultural and contemporary ceramic art studio that could not exist anywhere else in the world.
The clay, the history, my world class team, the village where the mud dug out of the ground has sustained the population for over a millennium allows us to create clay objects that are truly unique in the world.
Stepping into the designer / artist role I have found inspiration in reaching back in time to bring back local, Nicoya, designs recaptured in local pieces and wonderfully preserved in Samual Lothrop book "Pottery of Nicaragua and Costa Rica" in 1926 to rebirthing Maya and Aztec designs from the artifacts and texts left behind.
The other side of the design equation is the implementation and experimentation of color and concept that adds contemporary flare and excitement to the process. One of the most significant aspects of Atlantis pottery sculptures is achieving the contemporary design elements while preparing, polishing, painting, etching and firing the clay as if it were a 1200 year old pot.
I sign all of the pots for my studio OUR studio name, Atlantis. You will also see the date and the SJ de O, representing our indigenous pottery community San Juan de Oriente. It is this formula that uniquely comes together to create our unique artistic result. My role as designer and leader of the studio gifts me the opportunity to envision and put into motion an artistic process that necessitates a world class, dedicated team who pridefully participate in the journey and share in the results.
Our goal is to create world class ceramic art sculptures that bring cultural, ecological and contemporary ideal together that makes our customers excited ever time it catches their eye.
Our current focus on bringing Nicoya, Maya and Aztec motifs back to life while at the same time, developing innovations to showcase the exciting colors and creatures of our oceans and streams is a constant source of inspiration.
A particular focus on sea turtles has emerged as we explore and represent both their color and movement.
Always looking to represent the local culture with pride and support local village needs Atlantis Studio is embedded in the joy of creating what we love to make.
La Lucha Sigue.