Argo Pottery is run by me, Jason Bashaw, in Newbury MA where members of my family have been since the first settlers arrived in the early 1600s. I focus primarily on the design and production of functional ceramic tablewares, paying particular attention to how each piece fits in your hand or feels against you lip. I seek to do a simple thing well and few things are more basic than the tools we use to eat and drink. Most of my work is wheel thrown and incorporates rhythmic patterns that are informed by my passion for music and the rhythm of life on the ocean where I have spent years sailing back and forth between New England the Bahamas.
The Story of Argo
While I was studying Sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art, I started working seasonally on Martha's Vineyard. In need of a place to live, I bought a 30ft sailboat and named her Argo. I didn’t know much about sailing, but I was living on a mooring in Edgartown harbor and I started taking her out sailing after work. When the fall came I left and sailed to the Bahamas.
I did anything to keep sailing, I worked seasonally on farms , worked as a carpenter building docks, I built a bridge with a big construction company in Vineyard Haven, I repaired boats or cut them up to sell the parts. I carried tools with me, I worked along the way or stayed put for a season. I kept my expenses low by digging clams, catching fish, and spearing lobster. I stocked my boat with rice, beans, flour and went without modern conveniences like a refrigerator. In this manner I spent four years living aboard and made three trips to the Bahamas putting somewhere over 8,000 miles under the keel.
When the engine died, I knew the boat needed some serious work, but I was determined to use my skills as an artist to sustain myself and my wild dreams. That's when I met Ed Davis and Lisabeth Faulkner, an older couple who ran a seasonal ceramic studio and gallery on Mt. Desert Island Maine. When the cold New England winter, arrived they would go south to the Bahamas on their boat.
They invited me to be their visiting artist for the summer, so I sailed 1,500 Miles to Maine with no engine. When I arrived in Maine, I dropped anchor in a picturesque cove on the quiet side of Mt. Desert Island. It was here that I stared refining and focusing the skills I developed at MA College of Art and Design, as well as learning from Ed and Lisabeth.
Argo is waiting patiently for a new engine while I've set up my pottery studio here in Newbury. Each cup, plate or bowl another step in the journey.
Argo, back home in Newbury MA