An Insider Guide to The Bahamas with Ceramicist Florence St George

The English potter Florence St George brings us behind the scenes in The Bahamas

has always been praised for its calming and therapeutic
benefits, so it’s no wonder that this was a hobby Florence St George took up
when she was diagnosed with postnatal depression in 2014. Moved by
its meditative effects, Florence soon upgraded the activity from a
hobby to a passion, and began to forage for clay in the heart of
Grand Bahama, the Bahamian island she and her family have called
home for the last decade. Here, between the old limestone coral
reefs endemic to the island, she happened upon the rich, earthy
clay that she now works with on the wheel to create her
collections. Curious to know more about her finds on the island, we
sat down with Florence to gather her insider tips on where to eat,
sleep and grab a cocktail on the island.

She sells sea shells: meet ceramicist Florence St George

What inspired you to become a ceramicist?

I started playing with clay after being diagnosed with postnatal
depression in 2014 – this began as a hobby but has become my
passion. The first time I really understood how healing and
powerful clay could be was when I started foraging for it in The
Bahamas. The Bahamian islands are made from old coral reef
limestone, so it was really surprising to strike gold and find clay
when we started digging. I use this clay when I work on the wheel.
It has a high iron content, making it a lovely rich red colour –
it’s beautiful to work with.

What led you to the Bahamas?

I relocated to The Bahamas almost ten years ago. We moved to the
northernmost Bahamian island – Grand Bahama – with our young
family, as this is where my husband works. It’s an island of
contrasts: beautifully pristine virgin beaches, shores upon shores
of wildlife and migratory birds. But Grand Bahama is also the main
island for industry.

Describe The Bahamas’ vibe in three words…

Corals, coconuts and cocktails (particularly a Rum Dum)

When’s the best time to visit?

Hurricane season happens between July and September. It can get
hot and sticky, so if you enjoy the heat, this is the time to come.
I prefer the cooler months, between November and June. The north
wind can be surprisingly chilly, so I always suggest that friends
coming to stay should bring a cashmere scarf and a pair of
sheepskin boots to wear with their bikinis, à la Elle

Describe a perfect day in the Bahamas…

I’m sure most people would say the perfect Bahamian day would be
lying on a pristine beach with a piña colada in hand. Mine is on
the dappled-with-shade deck of my studio, making pottery at my
wheel with a piña colada in hand.

Where should we go for a long, lazy brunch?

The Other Side is a
solar-powered glamping site in
across ‘the other side’ of Harbour Island, hence its
name. It’s totally wild over there, with lovely beaches. Bring bug
spray with you if you go in the summer.

What about coffee on Monday morning?

If you want to be up drinking coffee on Monday morning, the
Bahamas isn’t the place for you – you’re better off with a Rum Dum
on the balcony of The
. You can’t ever be in a rush here.

Romantic dinner?

A picnic dinner under the stars on a floating jetty at the
Cove Hotel in

What are some of your favourite independent shops on the

The Tern Gallery at
the island house in Nassau. Owner Lauren Holowesko has a background
at Sotheby’s and a brilliant eye for island talent. You’ll browse
beautiful artworks by local photographer Melissa Alcena or
ceramicist, Anina Major. (You can also find a few of my pots

The Sugar
Mill in Harbour Island
is carefully curated and full of local
treasures, with a sprinkling of designer bikinis.

Tell us about a secret spot only locals know about …

Bonefishing in Grand Bahama. The north shore of the island is
unbelievably wild, quiet and magical. The flats go on for miles.
This is where eagle rays and stingrays breed, turtles nest and
sharks hunt. It’s a fizz of wildlife activity, yet so quiet that
you could hear a pin drop.

One thing we shouldn’t miss while we’re in the Bahamas?

Bring a pair of binoculars – the shorebirds that breed in the
arctic complete a perilous migratory journey every autumn, and they
set up home here in the Bahamas for 10 months. Bird watching on the
island is something to behold. Plus, the birds’ names are
wonderfully romantic; the Northern Parula, the Louisiana
Waterthrush, the Painted Bunting and the Scarlet Tanager.

Visit my neighbours at Coral
Vita’s coral farm
, the winners of this year’s Earth Shot prize.
They use micro fragmenting to cut and grow coral in tanks on land,
then replant it back into the sea to restore our island’s coral

Suggestions for day trips?

Bonefishing in Grand Bahama and lunch at Stoned Crab, a beautifully
decorated, family-run restaurant.

New year in Harbour Island is also a must. Check out The Dunmore
for stunning views of the pink sandy beaches and cocktails that’ll
grow hairs on your chest.

Shark diving with ‘the shark lady’ Cristina Zenato in Grand
Bahama. She encourages large bull sharks in the wild to fall asleep
in the palm of her hand and removes the fishing hooks from their

Where are the best beaches?

Gold Rock beach for a skinny dip and a midnight swim under the
stars, and Lighthouse beach in Harbour Island for its soft, pink

Where can we find the best shells?

Bootle Bay Grand Bahama or west end Grand Bahama. Here you’ll
find the huge conch shells, sea biscuits and sand dollars that
litter these beaches. The walks along these sandy stretches
inspired the designs for my collection of ceramics, named The
Conch. The edges of the Conch bowl reflect the rippling waves of
the sea. My fingerprint marks at the base of the bowl give the
impression of footprints in the sand, while the pinky watercolour
colour glaze of the bowl reflects the setting sun on the pink sandy
shores here.

Where should we wake up?

I have to admit, I love a spin at a roulette table, and Baha Mar in Nassau is just the ticket
for the occasional gambler. We recently stayed at
The Rosewood Hotel
, where our kids loved the waterpark and

Must-try local dishes include…

Good old-fashioned fried snapper with a dollop of sticky rice
and the odd pea flying about, a dish traditionally eaten at

Best local markets?

Look for the local straw markets. The artisan straw weavers here
are so talented at what they do; making bags, hats and fans from
our indigenous palm tree leaves. You can even ask them to make up
one of your own designs in a day or two.

Finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

All the usual bits plus a piece of clay stashed away in an old
kinder egg case. Like a stress ball, I use the clay to knead away
any anxiety that creeps in when I travel. I’m often left with a
lovely little pendant that I then fire in my kiln once I’m home,
and I’m reminded forever of that holiday.

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Simple Pleasures: Harbour Island, Bahamas