NOTE: Many testimonials on this page use my previous name. I considered updating from John T. Unger to Rachael Que Vargas but elected to leave them as they were written to preserve some history and honor my previous self.


Can’t wait to see them… Of course, and I will keep you updated on how everything works out, with photos, etc. Thank YOU for everything, we are thrilled to be using your creations!

Benee Meade, Special Events Manager, Calvin Klein, Inc.

On behalf of the entire production staff here on the DIY landscape-renovation series Extra Yardage, I want to thank you for having featured your amazing firebowl product in Season 2 of the show. We are so pleased to have accomplished a dramatic yard transformation with your Bowl O’ Fire firebowl. It’s more a work of art then in firebowl in our opinion; a perfect balance of function, form and affordability. We work with a lot of different companies on our show, but organizing our fire feature portion of the episode 205 build with the John T. Unger Studio went particularly well. The firebowl was so simple to work with and the quality is beyond the standard we strive to use on camera for the series. It’s evident that you hold yourself and your work to a higher standard, and we’re honored be associated with the John T. Unger brand.

Sean Boyriven, Senior Producer, Extra Yardage, The DIY Network

Again, the Fire Pits are a perfect fit for Seaworld, San Antonio! They look great! They were amazing and the buzz around here is people want them for themselves!! You really do great work! The pits are absolutely amazing and fit very well with the park! When I get out of a apartment and into a house, I will be buying one of these for my backyard!

Paul Carter, Seaworld San Antonio.

Someone who has embraced the idea of fire as an art centrepiece is John T. Unger, an American sculptor and artist who produces dramatic steel fire bowls, hand drawn and cut, with flame-shaped outlines.

Jo Croft, The National [Abu Dhabi]

Each firebowl is hand-cut from recycled materials and finished in natural patinas of fiery reds, oranges, yellows, and blacks. Its raised configuration allows gatherers to keep their feet toasty beneath the rim, and warm the rest of their bodies around it without having to lean forward, possibly singing errant follicles of facial hair, or falling in entirely, thus negating the firebowl’s metaphorical profundity about not killing things. Unger’s artistry—and effortlessly-communicated passion—are so apparent in his work that the Great Bowl O’ Fire has decorated the pages of publications ranging from The New York Times to Casual Living magazine.


The Great Bowl O’ Fire looks good! We will have a fire burning in it by the weekend. We then plan to video it and get it loaded on our website. It was encouraging the truck delivery man said he had delivered over 30 of the units to individuals in our area. Hope that’s a good sign of a big market interest. Thanks for the professional follow-up. We hope to have many re-orders.

George, Buyer for Pond and Fountain World

It is with great pleasure and pride that I read your reaction to Endrée’s work with your fire bowls. While Endrée designs homes from a clean sheet of paper, her true passion is landscaping. She felt that your bowls in the proper setting would provide the pop to make this project stand out. Clearly they had the right effect.

Gilbert Rashi, President, Vision enVert Inc.

I’m very excited to display your work outside of my restaurant… I appreciate you speeding up the process for us. Can’t wait to see the end result!

Alan Crowder, Fiamme

We are very excited to put it up next to our back-lit sign and right next to our patio with flames coming out of the pillars!!! The firebowl looks awesome and we can’t wait to see it all set up!!! The bowl looks AWESOME!!

Ryan Craig, Executive Chef at Fiamme Pizzeria Napoletana.

We love this space and the Great Bowl O’ Fire has created a lot of conversation. It is on permanent display. We have memorial pavers as a base. There are 7 rays that radiate away from the bowl that are made from marble blocks. The end of the ray (away from the bowl) are etched with one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We also have speakers in the area that can heated inside & outside the church. It is a wonderful space that we are very proud of! Will do my best to get you more photos soon.

Mary Doris McCubbins, Coordinator of Ministries & Volunteers,
St. Lawrence Church

The brazier worked great! We’re really pleased. It added a wonderful element to our Vigil and the lighting of the paschal fire. People like its symbolism and functionality!

The Rev. J. Brian Ponder, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection

I just had to call a Liturgist friend of mine in Des Moines and brag a bit! I told him “I now have the coolest Easter Vigil firepit in the country!” He said, “It’s not a contest, Vicky,” and I said, “Oh yes it is! Haven’t you been paying attention!?!”

Victoria Tufano, Director of Liturgy, Ascension Church

Love, love, love my Great Bowl O’ Fire. I put wild flowers in it for the summer and have a pile of fire wood waiting for it this Fall. Yahoo! I’ll try to take some pics this weekend. It’d be fun to be featured on your website. Just so you know, I bought the firepit with inheritance from my dad, Vernon. He died last summer after a brief bout with cancer. I think of it as his last gift to me. In fact, I paid a pro to design our entire backyard into a really cool garden and your firepit was the very first element I picked out and received. I get soooo many compliments on it.

Cindy B.

This will be placed on the bank of the Black River, Georgetown County, SC, a tidal river in the woods, an area my family has lived since the 1700’s. It will be beautiful among the poke weed, passion flowers, snakes, ants, and everyone will love it! My 70th birthday present to myself, a few months early! I live in Missouri where my husband is from, but my soul still lives in SC. We will send pictures. Thank you for enriching my life.

Bernice B.

I am the 81 year old woman whose extreme garden makeover was the subject of a front page article in today’s Home section of the New York Times. I tell you this only to convince you to move me to the head of the line! I have a new, used-brick paved 12 by 15 space in my renewed garden where I want to roast peppers and eggplant, and I’ve rejected everything I’ve seen until I saw your fire bowl. What would I need to do to get one? I know this is a long shot!!! You are such an artist!

[later email] Thanks John. I ordered your Great Bowl O’ Fire and will send you a picture of it when the garden is completed and your bowl installed. I never make impulsive decisions, especially expensive ones— but this was one. A bunch of people put up a website for me and others contributed money to help rebuild my garden (see what the garden looked like the day it was destroyed!) I’ve got just about enough for your firebowl and it seems the most appropriate use of it. I’m thrilled.

Joan Gussow

Traversing the downward slope of my front yard in a southwest to northeast flanking movement, I met the driver at the rear of his semi as he came around the blind side of his rig. After greeting each other with a hello, the trucker reached for the locking mechanism on the trailer’s rear door and said, “What the hell did you buy?” With such a reaction from him I knew I was about to gaze on something special. As the door began to roll up its guide rails, I told him, “It is a fire pit,” but what was being revealed to us as the metal curtain rose was no mere fire containment system; it was a sculpture, a work of art.

Though upside down and secured with jute twine to a shipping palette, we stood for a moment and admired it. Then cutting it free from its bonds we lifted it, sat it down in the road and stood there again marveling at your work. “It’s called The Great Bowl O’ Fire,” I told the trucker without taking my eyes off of it. “Yes. Yes it is,” was his reply also with his stare locked in place. Finally realizing that more had to be accomplished this day than looking at the beautiful contours of the flames and the Phoenix wings that you cut into the rust patina coated bowl’s thick metal, we grabbed the handles and carried your piece around the house and placed it on the new flagstone patio that the Great Bowl O’ Fire is now the centerpiece of.

Needless to say Karin, my wife and the driving force in our purchase of your wonderful sculpture, was overjoyed when she got home from work and saw it. We decided then that The Great Bowl O’ Fire needed to be shared. On the next Saturday, a crisp autumn evening, we had friends over for the inaugural first fire and to share in a big pot of chili, drink hot spiced wine, or cold crisp beers, and toast marshmallows. It was a great celebration that went on until 3:00AM Sunday morning, when we finally put the fire to rest. Your Great Bowl O’ Fire truly enhanced the festivities that evening.

A spoiled-sport might say that the Great Bowl O’ Fire would be superfluous to the enjoyment, that people are drawn to fire and would have a good time regardless of what the flames are burning in. But I watched my guests sitting around the Great Bowl O’ Fire. Their eyes didn’t just look into the flames blazing in middle of the bowl, their sight kept moving following over the edges of the scrolling cuts and watching the interplay between real fire and metal fire; they could envision your Phoenix perform its shadowy rise from out of the flames. It was more than an evening in front of a campfire toasting marshmallows, it was a happening. Your Great Bowl O’ Fire will be the place to gather in a circle and share in the outer warmth that it will radiate, and in that close knit gathering, inner warmth will also be generated and shared amongst our family and friends. The Great Bowl O’ Fire will be the focal-point for many more happenings in our future. Thank you for making such a splendid, fun, and thought provoking object of art.

Karin and Keith I.

John, I am so pleased with my Firebird Grill — it’s a delight to the eye as well as being great to use. And what unbelievable service — ordered on Wednesday — received on Saturday!

Laura P.

My middle-son— a college sophomore home for Christmas break— and I built a big fire last night and enjoyed the Bowl o’ Zen from about 9:30PM to past midnight. It was 15 degrees out. We had a lot of fun. The fire became intensely hot. It burned blue flame. It appeared that the sides of the bowl funneled cold air into the coals. Additionally, cold air may have been pulled into the coals from the bottom hole. It was very interesting. We have been burning white oak which leaves almost no ash.

Zenas H.

Just want to say how proud and excited we are about our Blaze O’ Glory Brazier. We love having an adjustable height for the fire, and it has added a new focus to our evenings outdoors that was much needed. It’s beautiful, mysterious, and a perfect compliment to the flames. We absolutely love it, and our friends do, too.

Robin W.

Just received the Great Bowl O’ Fire and the only thing we can say is AMAZING!! It is incredible and exceeded our expectations. The freight driver was also so impressed that he too was planning to check out your website. Now we have to begin the landscaping project so it can be enjoyed for years, decades, and maybe even centuries to come. Thanks for sharing your creativity…we could not be more pleased!

Geoff and Lisa J.

We finally finished updating our deck with the Great Bowl O’ Fire as the focal point. Compliments have been plentiful and this addition has pulled our project together beautifully. As promised, I’m attaching a picture for you to see. Thanks for helping us create an outstanding gathering area on our deck.

Dave and Jill K.

Surfing around the Web and Googling fire pit trying to figure out all the details on how to build your own out of concrete, brick, etc. Then, happily, your link came up and my search and troubles were both over. I am so stoked about it that I hired a guy to build a 10′ x 12′ screened porch, and he is just about finished. The Bowl will go just beyond that for excellent fall adventures. Thank you!!

John, I received my fire bowl today and can’t wait to christen it. It is beautiful and perfect! I’m pretty sure I got the best one you have ever made! The FedEx guy said it caused quite a stir at both the warehouse and the dispatch dock—no one had ever seen anything like it! Thank you for your excellent work and I certainly appreciate your creativity and talent. I hope you will be getting many more customers as my friends visit and see and enjoy my fire bowl.

Ralph P.

We just had to email and tell you how much we LOVE the new firepit we purchased from the little nursery in Pontiac, MI. Of course we are loving having outdoor fires, but also it is a beautiful piece of art to enjoy in the backyard as well. You made our summer!!

Don and Sue C.

We are very excited about our firebowl! The evenings here in South Carolina have just started to cool down. I was online trying to find a fire pit for our new deck and ran across your site. I just had to have one! I have told my friends I have ordered a piece of art and not a fire pit! We are looking forward to nights out on the deck watching the flames from your creation!

Juanita S.

John, What a great fire pit! Received Friday… had a fire going Friday night and kept it stoked til late last night!

Randy E.

Wow!!!! I am looking forward to having it – saw the piece in the New York Times yesterday, looked at your website, acted on a whim and now it’s on its way. Magic…

Mary Carroll P.

Thank you thank you thank you John! I’m so excited because guess what, I’m having a birthday party for my daughter (which I do every year) in my garden/yard and this year—one of our friends asked to do a joint party so we have people like the ex/mayor of Ketchikan, a retired judge and director of Allen Tours coming! So your brazier will get a lot of exposure!


Just wanted to let you know that the firebowl is awesome and we are getting great use out of it. Many of our friends have inquired about its origins. You may want to open a small shop here in the Hamptons.

Doug C.

Hi John, Thanks so much for emailing me back. Great customer service. I’m really excited to have one of your pieces of art on my patio. I think your work is beautiful! Can’t wait to see it in person.

Tammy B.


It’s here and he’s not (my husband). This could not have been timed better. It’s already “wrapped” and hidden from sight.


Word has it that you’ve been moved to the top of “Santa’s Greatest Elf” list…It’s absolutely beautiful, and I’m ever so grateful that you were able to make this happen…

John, again, thank you soooo much for your help and your art!!! … You are truly my Christmas Angel!
THANK YOU, bunches!

Joan D.

The Great Bowl O’ Fire proves that taking a torch to a flammable gas storage tank can occasionally create something besides a massive explosion. A closer look at sculptor John Unger’s poetic take on flames housing flames reveals one stylized blaze in the shape of a phoenix rising through the embers. It’s just one part of his firebowl’s multi-layered metaphor for rebirth, and transforming entities and elements of destruction into beauty that enhances life.

The Great Bowl O’ Fire is just brilliant. Very Celtic. I would strip naked, paint myself blue, stock it with peat, and dance around it under a full moon.

Seriously … that’s some cool work. I believe Perez Hilton would use the term amazeballs, which makes no damn sense and is more than a little precious.

Wish I had the bucks. I’m not kidding about the peat. That would just be perfect. And maybe a glass of single malt.

Jeff Meade

We purchased a Waves O’ Fire firebowl a few months ago as part of a renovation to our home in Atlantic Beach, FL. It is a beautiful work of art, and has drawn numerous compliments. More importantly, it has become the spot that we gravitate to with friends for great conversation around the mesmerizing flames. Thank you for creating such a great piece of functional art.

E.K. Cottrell

Just a quick thanks for your wonderful work and prompt delivery of our fire pit. It was just what we’d hoped for and the perfect addition to our patio. Many thanks for your fine work. The Waves O’ Fire fire pit was exactly what we’d hope for and is lighting up our Jersey Shore community wonderfully.

Fred B.

Greetings from Iowa. Glad to hear we filled your desire to have your works in all states in the US.

We finally got the natural gas ran to the Isosceles firebowl we purchased a few weeks back. We placed it on a simple pedestal on our new paver patio.

My wife and I spent months researching the right fire effect within our budget and our search always returned to the Isosceles. Though I had reservations when we purchased, you crafted a design that we couldn’t be more pleased with. It has met all our expectations. It is all about how the fire interacts with the firebowl – awesome…..

We appreciate the additional gift in the Eternal Flame Sculptures and have incorporated them in our patio design.

Keep up your exceptional work.

Greg G.

Lots and lots of rave reviews on your firebowl John! It made a great addition to our New Year’s party! We’re very happy with it— thanks.

Paco A.

Thank you for your beautiful work. The Big Bowl O Zen brings us great pleasure and I am continually asked where I got it and I of course pass on the website.

Lara I.

WOW! The Waves O’ Fire arrived last week, Thursday. It’s beautiful!! Thanks so much for your creative talent and your professional business management. Combined they’ve given us a beautiful work of art that will be the focus of many happy memories.

Terry S.

We’re really enjoying our Great Bowl O’ Fire, whether burning or not. Almost without fail, whenever someone sees it for the first time, they comment, That’s the coolest firepit or something to that effect. I always tell them to check out your site. Keep up the good work.

Pete A.

I received the Great Bowl O’ Fire a week or two ago – still assembling the last few pieces in order to set it up and light it for its first fire, but I just wanted to complement you on it – it is an absolutely great sculpture! Better than I hoped. We plan to have many nice nights around it over the next few months… Thanks and regards,

John G.

I had seen a reference to you a few months ago and thought a gift to my sister would be appropriate, She has recently built a beautiful summer home on Puget Sound. I also just returned from a vacation India and saw cremations taking place along the sacred Ganges River. I suggested to her that we could use the Waves O Fire for a new family tradition of ritual cremations! (I don’t think she thought that was a good suggestion).

Tom B.

We contacted John Unger when we were completing a renovation of our backyard in Redlands, California. With the hardscape and most of the landscape complete, we were looking for just the right accessories to set things off. We love and appreciate artisan-made items and when we saw John’s fire bowls we knew one of them would be perfect for the space. We chose the “Great Bowl of Fire” and were very pleased with John’s efficient response and prompt delivery. His artistry has enchanced our outdoor space and brings joy every time we sit beside it. It’s so beautiful! We’re really pleased. Thanks so much for adding to the beauty of our backyard renovation.

Lori S.

LOVE the firebowl. We’ve had a couple of fires & are planning a get together this weekend. Attached is a pic of bowl and a portion of the landscaping we’ve completed – grass seeding is close to follow!

Jeff G.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I received the fire bowl today and it is sitting in my foyer waiting to be installed!
I love it, I keep thinking that it is perfect, but then I have to remind myself that it should be, when designing the backyard the dimensions for the bowl were the first design I spray painted into the dirt, everything else came after.

Janeice S.

Saw the fire bowl today….wow….was only upside down on the pallet and still looks amazing!!!!!! We can’t wait to see it installed.

Antonia P.

I think your fire bowls are amazing. Have you heard of a event called burning man? Are your bowls transportable? I noticed some of your designs have the Phoenix incorporated in the design.My Goal is to go to burning man this year and join my Brother and Sister in law who have gone for many years. My Mom passed in May so this my way of helping me move forward. My brother has a amazing picture of the Golden Gate Bridge that has a vision of the Phoenix that looks like it is on fire. He has sad connection with the Bridge, his only Son jumped from the Bridge 5 years ago. I just went to a spiritual ceremony he has started for other people who have lost loved ones the same way . It would be really cool to take one to burning man and be able to set it up at his camp. I would probably be able to find someone to load it to get it there.A smaller version would be more affordable at this time.

D. H.

I got the bowl! It is magnificent!! I feel that it really was meant to be here. Absolutely perfect for our house and happened at such a right moment. Thank you, thank you thank you! And one more THANK YOU for your generous and beautiful gift! I found a great place for it. I will be in touch, tell you how the fire starting ceremony will go and sent you the new pictures.

Valentina K.

I chose the bowl of fire because it’s a perfect piece of art. You have made something beautiful out of recycled material. As much as I like eco friendly art, it all too often falls short of being something spectacular, which is what you have achieved. 

Our family enjoys our yearly 4th of July celebration here at our home because we have a beautiful 180 degree view of the San Francisco Bay.  The fire bowl adds a warm place to sit when the winds are a bit chilly. 
You have helped me create a place that I truly love. Thanks ever so much.

Patrick B.

Please know that we are loving your firepit , it is beautiful and you are very talented to create these beautiful designs.

Paula S.

I’ve been meaning to let you know…our fire bowl arrived safe and sound and we love it! We’ve gotten so many compliments, and couldn’t be more pleased with how it looks on our patio!

Julie M.

Just wanted to let you know that I received the bowl and must say it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I couldn’t be more delighted with this piece which seems like it was designed specifically for my home. An amazing piece of living art. A thousand thanks.

Kamran K.

We’re moving into a high rise apartment and have converted our 37 Firebowl O’ Zen into a coffee table – placed cherished pebbles brought home from Positano in the bottom, added thick glass top, and woo hoo!. Hope these photos serve your purpose. Moving from a house with lots of outdoor space to a high rise is causing us to make some tough decisions on treasured possessions. We’re happy that this worked so well.

Dick & Vicki M.

I purchased a 30″ Waves of Fire sculptural firebowl from John in 2010. It looks stunning next to my patio and pergola.

Matt W.

Placed an order for the King issoceles 37 inch firebowl and am extremly pleased with the quality, craftmanship, and timely delivery.

This was an exceptional addition to our back patio area, which has caught the attention of neighbors as well.

Jim P.

John’s work is not only gorgeous, he’s a pleasure to work with. He answered my emails quickly, professionaly and warmly. I was very impressed with both the quality of his work (our firepit is gorgeous) and the quality of his customer service. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

Lisanne S.

The fire bowl is absolutely amazing! We are in awe. Thank you so much for getting it to us so quickly.

Nicole N.


The artist I admire the most, in terms of taking the internet-enabled global microbrand idea and running with it, is my good friend, John T. Unger. Four years of blogging later, and he can’t make his Great Bowls of Fire fast enough. Though a lot of the ideas he uses he first got from reading my blog, unlike me, he actually applied them and took them to the frickin’ sky. Well done, John.

We’ve been talking a lot over the last couple of months about this new art phase of mine. His advice has been invaluable.

Hugh MacLeod

I have come to know John Unger well over the last year. John is one of the hardest-working, most selfless artists I have met. Whenever we speak on the phone, he inevitably will turn the conversation to how he is helping other artists to be successful at their business.

Matt Trifiro, CEO of 1000 markets

We’ve watched and learned over the months from sculptor John T. Unger, creator of Artisanal Firebowls. He’s been a great source of inspiration and information for artists who want to make a living with their art and forge their way into this brave new world of marketing and selling art online. In fact, we have relied on John’s experiences to illustrate the effectiveness of the marketing ideas we teach in this space, including quoting him here and here. John was also featured a few months back in an interview on the Lateral Action blog: an interview we linked to, tweeted and recommend all artists take the time to read.

In short, John has always been a friend to the art community… sharing his artwork, his ideas and his stories. We’ve all learned a lot from him. We’ve all benefited from the help he has generously provided.

Clint Watson, Fine Art Studio Online

John has been featured in the New York Times as one of a new breed of artist, creating sculptures in his studio and leveraging the internet to sell them worldwide. He’s also a great guy who’s very generous with his expertise– so he was kind enough to give me an hour-long audio interview for The Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap.

Mark McGuinness

An inventive and talented artist with a generous spirit, Unger not only makes a good living by using the web, he shares his knowledge and experiences out loud on his blog for the benefit of other people on the same path. What’s more, he does it with as much style, humor and care as he seems to put into his art; I’m a sucker for any fine artist who can also write his ass off.

He even cares about his ecological footprint! Unger’s main art these days takes the form of these delightful firebowls, one of which is pictured above. Rather than create them from new materials, he works with salvaged materials from the scrap heap, and fashions them into usable works of art durable enough to last for generations. And he’s doing all of these from the sticks in Michigan, helping to pump money back into the local economy. Making money and making art while he changes the world in his own small way? When I’m ready for a firebowl, count me in!

Colleen Wainwright

This social media savvy sculptor is probably best known for his fire bowls, but also has a collection of other works. If you’re interested in someone that uses their lab to make a difference (by using only recycled materials), visit John’s site.

Jonathan Wondrusch

You can’t build a reputation on talk. People know who John T. Unger is because he builds remarkable stuff.

Consider the title this artist, creator of artisan fire bowls and once famed designer of spanking paddles made from recycled tires (no joke) gave himself: Impossibility Remediation Specialist. Heard that one before?

As John explains it: “If it can’t be done, I’m on it.” It’s a joke, mostly. It has little to do with how John pays his bills. John doesn’t need a title for that. So in this play, he’s reminding us how little titles actually mean.

See, John didn’t build a reputation by worrying about his reputation. He didn’t ‘personal brand’ his way to having a personal brand. He built things that he found interesting, built them in his own way and had the spine to stay away from the middle ground in the process.

Mike Tekula

I’m now going through your audio and thinking of ways to write a narrative. Truly, I’ve never worked with so much good audio before. I have so much that it’s taking me longer than usual to pull a story together from it.

I heard part of your [Art Heroes Radio] show. Great topic and I got good information from it. In fact, I’ll probably buy Austin’s book as a result. I had to visit his site just to see his technique. As I was listening I realized that I wanted to hear more from you. After all, you have lots to say and your views on most art matters is unusually fresh and genuinely interesting. That’s what’s making it hard for me to pare down the audio I got from you recently.

I want to hear more, more, more of you, you, you!

Don’t get me wrong, now. I loved the show and if you can keep up that level of interesting guest, I won’t want to miss a single episode.

Brad Aspey, Interlochen Public Radio

I’ve know John for many years. I used to sell his original artwork at my shop Beloved (which I closed in 2005) here in Chicago. I showcased and sold Intuitive and Outsider Art.

John has used found objects and recycled materials in his work way before upcycled became a marketable term. He used broken glass, rusty nails, old wood, tin cans, bottle caps and anything else he could find dumpster diving in Chicago. If you knew his style, you would see that his Firebowls are a natural progression from his previous works of art. Not only the designs, but the very idea is a natural progression. He used to make these beautiful lanterns out of old metal cans, he cut out designs very similar in style to what he’s doing with his Firebowls.

When John left Chicago and moved to the country, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one of his friends who wondered how the hell he was going to make a living as an artist in the middle of nowhere! Believe me when I tell you it was his passion for art and his inventiveness that kept him going during some very hard times! (If I remember correctly the first winter he spent in the country, the roof to his studio collapsed due to heavy snowfall!) It was during this time John started working on larger works of art like his Firebowls. Not only did he have more space to work, but much better junk to make art with!

I was so happy to hear about John’s success when his Firebowls took off! It was a long road to success. He earned it with his own two hands, a creative spirit and by taking risks only a true artist would be willing to make!


Want to make a living making art? John T. Unger will get you fired up (so to speak). Please don’t miss this hour of fun and inspiration, which felt like I’d been dropped right smack-dab in the middle of an action-adventure movie.

Maureen Anderson, The Career Clinic

I’m sure you could tell in my voice how much I enjoyed our conversation Saturday. I don’t know if you could tell in my voice just how much we can identify with your story. It was such a treat to make your acquaintance, John! I can’t wait for the movie.

Maureen Anderson, The Career Clinic

You were such an incredibly cool poet, the epitome of poetry in a Kerouac kind of way. There was something about you being a poet that seemed a bit scary and dangerous.

Adrian M.

John has been featured in the New York Times as one of a new breed of artist, creating sculptures in his studio and leveraging the internet to sell them worldwide. He’s also a great guy who’s very generous with his expertise– so he was kind enough to give me an hour-long audio interview for The Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap.

Mark McGuinness

If you think “successful,” “artist” and “badass” don’t belong in the same sentence, then you know zip-all about John T. Unger. His Sculptural Firebowls are both incredible art and a great business for him, showing how an artist can market and make it today. John also has some of the most balls-to-the-wall, fist-pumping, jump-up-and-say-hell-yeah tweets in the entire twitterverse.

Anthony St. Clair

Surfing the web tonight, I came across your beautiful, rockin’ sculptures (the fire pits)! I love that they are cool to look at, AND they’re from used materials. You are awesome. As an artist, I can appreciate taking a trashed object and making it attractive & useful once again. I took a metal sculpture class in college and ADORED it (I mainly used the oxy-acetylene torch and plasma cutter) so I’m quite envious of your job. LoL. You are one of my favorite muses now, congratulations! =0)


I connected with John with a project problem. I wanted one of John’s amazing gas fire pits in my garden in Minnesota, but needed someone who could be flexible and adapt his design to the requirements of the Minnesota gas code. John was the guy. He was creative, passionate and built and sent us a great fire pit that passed code here. Check him out!

Frances D.

I like to share and combining creative talents can be an absolute blast. If the right opportunity comes along to do a joint product then of course I will examine it and take it under serious consideration for the brand. The BCX “Vulcan” Firebowl collaboration with John T. Unger is a good example. Not only do I love what he produces I truly like the guy – he’s awesome to talk to about business and life…he is someone I feel very lucky to be associated with. I am, and always have been a team player so if the right parts come together at the right time with the right people…magic can happen!

Graeme Cameron

When I first saw John’s fire pit sculptures, I was so excited! I knew there was something unique about the way he approached his art. Knowing now that he is a poet explains everything. These sculptures delight the senses but also have a soulful authenticity. They are timeless. John, I’m so glad you put down your pen and carved out this beautiful niche for yourself.


I just watched Desperate Landscapes and Jason was showing your firebowls and he mentioned your name. I found you on the Net and viewed all your firebowls, which all are not only fine metal art but they feel very sacred to me.

I just wanted tell you that I am not only impressed with your creations but I feel a sense of healing and well being when I view them. Very powerful energy. I am curious if you have heard this from others and what your response might be.

Karen M.

As always, I sincerely enjoyed reading your latest newsletter. Your updated web page design is great as well – all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies to explore wrapped up in a really nice design, well done.

I noticed you threw out the following invitation for comments at the end of you last email: Here is my 2-cents worth: I think your newsletters are great – perfect length (not too short and not too long), nicely formatted, informative and interesting. And definitely I love to hear about your background, other projects you have completed or are working on, your philosophy on the artistic process and your approach to your work (even the more technical aspects of what you do). To me art of any form is much greater than the finished object; it encompasses the entire process right from the artist’s background and evolution, his (or her) inspirations and values, philosophies and state of mind, all of the technical hurdles involved in sourcing and working with materials, as well of course the actual creation of the end product. The more that someone knows and understands about the entire process, the more someone is able to understand and fully appreciate the end result. And besides, artists and others heavily involved in the create process often offer observations and insights (even unrelated to their art all together) that are unique, interesting and come from a much different perspective that those that most of the rest of us are most often exposed to on a regular basis. So by all means feel free to wander off in any direction you want to in the content of your newsletters (and website).

John G.


Old bottle caps as an art medium? Why not, says artist and designer John T. Unger, who compares the process of using recycled materials in art to alchemy.

Vicky Sanderson, The Toronto Star

Wow, I’m speechless. I absolutely love it! I am so thankful that you were able to part with that fin because it is so unique!! After 5 years I know it must be hard but I am glad you wanted to use it on this particular fish! And the tail….It’s perfect!!!! When I first found your bottlecap fish I was so drawn to them. I am so pleased with what you have done for me, it’s going to be such a great addition to my home. Thank you so much John. If you need anything else, please let me know!

I received the fish in the mail this past Friday and I must say it is amazing! So much better in person, the pictures just do not do it justice! I put it on my wall and just looked at it for a while. The uniqueness is wonderful and I know it will be a conversation piece. Thank you for working so hard on it and I’m working on getting a pic to you!!! I am so happy with this fish…words do not describe! You do amazing work!

Sara D.


Eternal Flame sculpture arrived… It’s great! Thanks for your fantastic science/art collision… it will be a wonderful representation of our “make it glow” culture and serve as a terrific staff recognition icon.

Joanna E. Haas. Executive Director Louisville Science Center

Received the Red Barbell Mug I think Monday… It’s GORGEOUS. My husband is quite the beer guy and a former chemist, he’ll love this. I predict he’ll fill it once in a while and get an arm workout trying to drink from it, but mostly it’ll look great on a shelf in our basement bar.

I’ll hopefully be talking to you in the spring, we’re planning a new addition to our patio with an outdoor fireplace and I’d really like to do a Goblet o’ Fire as part of the design! Best of luck on your move. Always happy to spread the word about good artists doing fabulous work.

Karen S.

Fire Imp No. 8 arrived a few days ago. Thanks. She is wonderful. I smile every time I step out onto my deck and see her. No. 8 and a few other things I’ve gotten from other 1kM artists will be wonderful reminders of a too short but beautiful era, 1000markets.com. Glad our paths crossed.

Ann B.

I am enjoying the fire imp! Thanks so much for your nice work! If I had a place for it I’d likely get one of your firebowls, too, but alas, I’m an apartment dweller.

Matthew R.

Hey, just wanted to let you know the family really enjoys our sculpture. We came home a couple days after getting it and the electricity was out in our building, so we put a candle behind it and were amazed at how great the projection of it looked on the ceiling and walls.

Tracy R.

It really does look like a little fire imp.

Radical Vixen

Received my Fire Imp. Love it, very fun and free flowing. Sits on the bar/counter in front of my sink, so I can ‘talk’ to it while I cook, eat, do dishes etc. ?

Lynda L.

Just received my Fire Imp today. It’s Beautiful!!!! It packs quit a wallop right to the heart!!! I have put it on the dresser for now, (it will have a new home when we move) so I can see it every day and be inspired by it. I admire what you are doing and I equally admire HOW you are doing it.Thank You for the beautiful Fire Imp! Thank You for inspiring and showing me how to stand up for what is right and how to do it with such integrity. I hope I have the courage to do it in my own life.

Cheryl W.

Just set up my 5 Fire Imp sculptures in our home office courtesy of @johntunger—thanks! They look great!

Erica D.

My Fire Imp arrived today. It’s beautiful. I’m in heaven over it. Thank you!

Carolyn J.

The piece (pictured below) is created from the negative space used in producing the firebowls (you can see the shape of the flames at the top of the piece). It’s a great, abstract and colorful piece. And I’m thrilled to add it to my collection.

Ryan Barton

Hi John ? I LOVE my Fire Imp! It sits on the rustic wood and iron coffee table in my family room, so I enjoy it daily. And the best part is that my husband loves it as well.

Carol S.