Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tiki Culture

Since I've lived in both Cuba and Hawaii, and now Florida, I'm naturally inspired by tropical art, but lately tiki culture is invading my life. So, of course, I was inspired to make a tiki out of clay.

So far, I've only made one tiki shown in the first photo, since I've still been busy glazing. But I've made a couple of sketches for other tikis I plan to build. This first tiki is made from cassius basaltic clay, which fires ebony black. It's about 12 x 5 inches and is in the drying cabinet now. Perhaps there will be a few tiki mugs in the future too. Remember my tornado prawns recipe that fits the theme of tiki cuisine for sure.

I found a local artist who makes wood tikis and thought they'd be perfect to enhance the tropical feel of our Florida home. The wood tiki in the middle is about two and half feet tall and weighs about 80 pounds. Gary had to put it on a dolly to move it inside.

Remember the tropical tattoos of the mermaid and octopus which inspired me? Well the same guy also had a couple of tiki tattoos, which originally inspired me to make a ceramic tiki. It seems everywhere I look there is tropical inspiration.

Gary and I want to find a real tiki bar and go there to have a mai tai, a popular tiki culture drink, developed by Trader Vic's restaurant. Years ago I went to Trader Vic's in San Francisco, but I see that location is now closed. But I noticed there are other Trader Vic restaurants throughout the world. I had no idea. Have you been to a Trader Vic's restaurant or a tiki bar? There must be an authentic tiki bar here in Florida.

For years when I doodled in school, a palm tree on an island was the main focus of my drawings. Is it any wonder I've gravitated towards tiki art? Stay tuned for more tiki and tropical inspired ceramics. Hopefully I'll have some fired pieces back by next week to show you. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. here you see face jugs- we don't make them but a lot of the neighbors do.
    I like the Tiki - you have so much to be inspired by and it is exciting to see where you will go next.

  2. Thanks, Linda, for the prawns recipe. I copied it down and can't wait to enjoy (for I don't think we'll have Gulf shrimp forever). Hub and I went to Key West once and enjoyed a fun evening at a tiki bar there. And lots of tiki bars in Hawaii where we lived for some years. But I especially liked your in-lay tiki know how to pull the spirit out and make it speak to the individual. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

  3. i really like your clay tiki... i thought of face jugs too and i think tiki mugs would be awesome.
    i have been to a couple of tiki bars in naples was so long ago that i can't remember the names. one may have been rosies and i know the other was right on the water and we watched the sunset.
    you are so lucky to have lived in so many beautiful tropical locations and it's great that it is coming out in your work.

  4. The Prawn recipe was wonderful, I'm glad I made it before BP messed up the gulf.
    The tiki's are wonderful, are you thinking about getting a tattoo also?

  5. Hey, I read on Kari's blog that you ordered a kiln, what did you decide on? You guys should plan a trip down to Sanibel Island, your Tiki bar post reminded me of that place. Not sure there is a Tiki bar but there are lots of great places to eat stone crabs. It's not too far from you

  6. Hi Meredith, thanks, several folks in my class are making face jugs or face bird houses, thankfully my tiki is different looking than a face jug since I didn't want others to think I was copying. Seems I make things that I like and hopefully others will too.

    Hi Kittie, thanks, I hope you enjoy the recipe. I have made it several times now and if the sauce is too think if you serve it with rice you can absorb some of the flavors with that. One of these days we'll head down to key west to check it out, got to get this house finished first. Thanks about the tiki, I hope he fires well. I just love this black clay.

    Hi Michele, thanks, Naples I will have to check it out, there is so much to explore around here. I wish I had some more of that red clay I got on the West Coast for the mugs, I can make a piece and the seams don't even show it is so workable. Maybe I'll make mugs where the seams show on purpose, we shall see.

    Hi Lori, thanks, glad you like the recipe. I hope they do something about that oil, man can't they go out there with some type of a sucker machine and get it out what a bunch of hoowie they get to make profits with the responsibility of cleanup. No tattoos for me, but they are fun to look at especially when I take a photo I can look at the design at m leisure.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, I will have to check out Sanibel Island, someome else told me about that place too maybe that will be our next trip; I'll post about the kiln coming up soon.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment