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Old 21-02-2011, 08:13   #1
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Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

Anyone want to share notes on Randolph (father) and son Pete (Pete's Pub) from Little Harbour, Abaco? Randolph wrote at least two books but he may be better known as a sculptor. His most famous work, Afro-Bahamian Woman, was commissioned by the government and the last I visited, it was still on Rawson Square, Nassau, where cruise ships dock. Randolph was a Canadian, I believe, who took his family to Little Harbour in the 1950's and lived in a cave before a home, studio and other buildings were eventually built. His books were about living the primitive life. As an artist who wanted to maintain complete control of his work, he learned metallurgy to concoct his own metals, then learned the lost wax method so he could do his own casting. Margot, his wife, was a talented ceramist.
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:19   #2
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

Hi Janet. Obviously you want to read Artist on His Island: A Study in Self-Reliance, by Randolph Johnston. Why do you ask?
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Old 23-02-2011, 12:35   #3
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

Aside from having great respect for the family and their work I have some fairly unusual Johnston works that I'd like to go to someone who would appreciate what they are. If Rand's works aren't yet collectible, they will be.

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Hi Janet. Obviously you want to read Artist on His Island: A Study in Self-Reliance, by Randolph Johnston. Why do you ask?
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Old 23-02-2011, 13:33   #4
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

I haven't been there in awhile. I think the last time was in the early 1990s, but the studio was still going under Pete's direction. It was great fun wandering around amongst the castings and equipment and seeing how the raw materials were transformed into works of art using a primitive-seeming industrial process. Having been an art history major I knew a bit about the lost wax process, and it was amazing to think about how Randolph managed to pull it off out there in the middle of nowhere when they first arrived in Little Harbor. Plus, the story of his adventure leaving a secure college job and sailing off into the wilderness, living in the cave, raising a family, starting the studio, hurricanes, etc. is pretty amazing. We were stuck there for about a week during an incredible rage that sent huge curlers completely through the reef entrance and across the mouth of the harbor. There was no way anyone could enter or leave the inner harbor basin, and the air was thick with spume and spray. Everything on and inside our boats became coated with salt from the air. The roar of the surf crashing at night was amazing. Of course Pete held sway on the beach each evening in Pete's Pub. It felt like we had stepped into a romance novel.
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Old 23-02-2011, 14:33   #5
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

I was there in June 10, talked with him,here's a pic of the sculpture out back of Pete's Pub for those who haven't visited.
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Old 24-02-2011, 14:44   #6
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

This is beautiful. Do you know if they cast it at Little Harbour? They have a problem with a high water table when casting Afro-Bahamian Woman and it had to be cast in halves. This sculpture looks even larger.
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Old 24-02-2011, 15:37   #7
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

My first visit to the Bahamas included a visit with Randolph and Margot in Little Harbour. He was busy in his studio working on...I can't remember. That was a few years ago. We visited the cave that they called home upon landing in Little Harbour.
There is also a blue hole nearby that we visited...interesting features these are.
I can imagine the first landing in Little Harbour would have been an experience as we ran aground as I stood on the bow looking for the darker water as I had learned previously. Seems we were out of the chanel and repremanded by Margot that red is right returning...ooops. Time for lunch til the tide came up and then kedged off using the anchors and winches.

I have not been able to shake the desire to return there one day as I still have not met Pete. On our cruise I read "Out Island Doctor" and loved everything about the Abacos...The night spent in Tilloo Pond being soothed to sleep by the crashing waves of the windward side of the island.

I think Randolph made the correct decision to skip the ratrace and leave the cubicle farm to others like me and do what he really wanted to do. He was an incredible man.
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Old 15-05-2013, 06:50   #8
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Re: Randolph Johnston, Pete Johnston

Sorry to resurrect a somewhat dead thread, but just wanted to say that the studios are still alive and thriving and putting out some great pieces. We're anchored in Little Harbor right now and just saw them perform a bronze casting yesterday.

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