Sunday, December 17, 2017

Studio #11 - Above the Market

The studio above Carmel Valley Market: 800 square feet with two big rooms and the only unit in the building with its own bathroom.

Others more transient that I lived in a couple of the units: the red-headed, balloon-blowing clown and his wife lived behind their bike shop on the first floor facing the alley, a down-on-his-luck poet slept in sawdust in the woodworker’s back room. I was next door to an alcoholic hairdresser who sometimes slept in her chair at the salon and whose every utterance and popping cork and musical accompaniment was heard clearly through the paper thin walls. I was above the deli and and the pet groomer and down the hall from the chiropractor. The aromas were a mix of bleach, pastrami, flea soap and the herbal tea blend of the week. I added varnish, glue and ceramic glaze dust to the atmosphere.

This studio saw the biggest production of dinnerware, to use in service and sell at Ginna’s Cafe, just down the block. Under and over my designs, my friend and assistant Christine layered coats and coats of color and glazes to cups and plates and bowls, wrapped each piece in newsprint and delivered them to a local kiln for firing. Not too efficient, but our customers loved the colorful stuff painted with flowers and leaves and hearts.






Erin produced beautiful paper vessels and books.





After Ginna's Cafe closed, the studio above the market was my refuge, a place to rest while figuring out what to do next. The twenty years before had been one long catering job: for gurus real and fake, shamans and showmen, for business partners, leaders and would-be leaders, for parties and weddings and overnights in the mountains, always on the move, running my own business and/or managing a staff and driving my jeeps up and down the California coast.

It was time for me, my artist self and I. My writer, who had been not-so-patiently waiting, emerged.

It was in this studio where I accidentally whiffed Marine Varnish and half killed my thyroid and created a bunch of other chronic issues I won’t focus on (but will warn you about Marine Varnish accidentally up the nose).

It is where I settled down to create my cookbook series, Honey Baby Darlin’ -  where I realized I had something to write: 50 years of stories and recipes. The series started with my three year old alter ego, Little Glory, learning about the love of cooking at her mother’s knee on her grandfather’s farm in Ohio in 1951. I saw the project like a vision of a many-colored sunrise or a multi-layered cake with surprises inside.

I met David during this studio period and this became a familiar scene: Ginna at the big oak desk facing her iMac, tapping out ideas and words and scenes into the documents that would become her next books and David on the little sofa, singing ballads and love songs while playing his guitar.



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