Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jill Gerlach



"I am originally from New Zealand and have been in the States now for about 35 years; my husband and I came over. My husband graduated from the University of New Zealand and came over to the States to further his education, for his post doctorate. Once he got his degree he was too educated to get a job in New Zealand, they didn't have the industry to support the higher educated back then.

We have raised 4 children here and we still have one at home.

We have lived in several different places here in the U.S. and about 15 years ago we settled in Miami. I am in the Keys to support my friends at Gumbo Limbo Pottery. I love the drive down every day; luckily my phone doesn't work on the stretch so I listen to stories on my ipad and enjoy the relaxing 45 min drive while drinking my coffee. I spend the day enjoying the company of the people in the Keys, and then I go home.

I got involved in ceramics about 15 years ago at the Ceramic League of Miami and met Jeff and Maite. I started coming to the Keys a couple of days a week to help them with a large order they received. As a result this mosaic I am doing on the front of this shop came about because of the firing. The blue pieces I am using were a first run of a plate he was making for a restaurant order and the plates cracked; he was going to through them out. Maite and I looked at them and thought it was a shame to waste all those pieces, so I am recycling them. The mirror I am using is recycled from a mirror that was left here and they found when they got here, and the green glass in the grass is from beer bottles generously donated by my friends!

A lot of people have stopped by to talk to me about this project. I have had 3 people ask me to do commission jobs but I am semi-retired now and I am past that. Commission work is very demanding but I love doing mosaics for friends. It feels so great being able to say 'No', but I love that people appreciate and love my art.

My dream, once we are retired, is to move to Oregon; it is the most like New Zealand. It is beautiful country, the people are great, and it is a communal type of living. It isn't really cold there but it rains a lot, like New Zealand, and hey, we have friends in Miami and the Keys. We will be like snowbirds but we will be rain birds!"

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