Captain of Nothing

Aloha & Howdy, I'm Corey!

My journey to start Coxswain Dunsel began with my fascination with tiki, mid-century design, and ceramics. When I'm not making ceramics I pass my time selling and appraising airplanes and traveling the globe. Sounds odd right? Well it kind of is and that's part of my story.

Tiki in Texas?

Growing up in the rural panhandle of Texas I had no clue what "Tiki" was, beyond the incredible carvings I'd see on visits to see my father and stepmom, in her hometown of Oahu.

Then on a blistering summer day in 2017 a coworker invited me to go to this cool bar. She told me “it’s not like any normal bar, the drinks are deceivingly strong and really tasty". I pulled up to the outside of the unassuming facade of Lei low here in Houston, where the only thing dictating what lies inside is a neon sign shining through the blackout windows saying “RUM”. As-if it was a beacon of refuge to all those rum lovers, lost pirates and weary sailors.

 It was a sensory overload, I found myself baptized in the aroma of burnt cinnamon and the hypnotic melodies of Martin Denny while sipping on a mysteriously complex and boozy drink served in what I would come to find out is a Tiki mug.

Going into Lei Low that night opened my eyes to how being an artist doesn’t have to fit in the box that I had imagined. I thought for the longest time the art only had to be looked at and felt, what I learned that day is that art can be transformative, fun, and connect with the audience directly. Art can be functional. And that I can pour all of my obsessions into it and create an escape out of that obsession.

Which brings me to the name, Coxswain Dunsel, which I affectionately christened myself. It effectively means ‘captain of nothing’. A captain who has been given command of a useless part of the ship - always giving 100% into something that ultimately can change course regardless of any effort or skill. So I went out and bought some clay and started to sculpt.

Today I focus on producing a few projects I’m really passionate about and being deliberate to push the boundaries on what I think I can produce in ceramics and other media.


Corey DeWitt

Coxswain Dunsel