Though it's not water or sailing related, I had intended to write about this experience anyway, but now see it in a context of recent events on this blog. Many of you may be aware of the flurry of comments yesterday to the Jay Fitzgerald post following a comment from Patri Friedman. Jay ( in response?) has written two short pieces at Sensible Simplicity which relate, one specifically and one more broadly, to the issues at hand. One directly addresses the seasteading "debate" while the other considers community. Last weekend I participated in something I have been doing twice a year for many years: helping a friend fire his huge noborigama woodkiln. And not just me. Many people join in this effort, lots of familiar faces and always some new folks as well. People come to this tiny Pennsylvania hamlet from as far as California, Germany and Japan, just to lend a hand and join in the party afterwards. Many are artists and potters, many are not. The firing of this kiln takes about four days and is fueled entirely with wood. Many hands , and minds , are needed. It is precise and exhausting work. These people come together from all over the world to participate with nothing more to gain than a great barbecue, some excellent handmade beer and the wonderful exhaustion of working mentally and physically to achieve a goal and job well done.
This is, in my eye, the essence of community. Much like the nomadic vision of seasteading, artists work most of the time in seclusion. Woodfiring ceramics offers an opportunity to come together for a collaborative effort, exchange experiences and discoveries...communicate! I envision the 'small cap' version of seasteading in a similar light: people working and living, often on their own, but coming together to achieve a goal and share experience. And party. And share and communicate.
Willi Singleton has this kiln at his Pine Creek Pottery. The top photo is of Jasper Brinton, (owner of Jose and my sailing and pottery mentor) and Lisa ?, working together, never having met before. Bottom is Chris and his daughter Emily also working together. Chris is a bovine veterinarian; his daughter is , I believe, in her college years. The menacing silhouette in the background is none other than Willi himself. Not in the photos but a presence hovering over this entire proceeding is the guiding intelligence of Kenton Baker, kiln designer and master woodfirer.