Saturday, December 16, 2017

Studio #10 - La Mesa

In San Diego, we found a house large enough to handle the entourage, including my son Michael (on the Chopra Center construction team), his five year old daughter, Taylor, two colleagues from Rainbow Ranch who came with me on this cooking adventure, their Dalmatian and two kittens.

My my, what a scene. How did I do it? At least our bedrooms were private and pretty quiet, and the recreation room became my studio, complete with a leather-padded bar, tiny sink and room enough for my workbench (that same piece of 4 x 8 plywood used as a bead table at Rainbow Ranch in the tipi).

I focused on ceramics here, bought time in a local ceramic studio kiln, and began producing dinner plates, chargers and service pieces for my kitchen and catering business. Thus began a long relationship with ceramics, as will become clear in the next blog posts.

The process of painting ceramics: the coats and coats of glaze, drying each layer completely before adding the next, multiple firings for different results, this fit into my hobby motto, “No Hurry.” After-hours hobbies shouldn’t have tight deadlines.  

I covered the workbench with newsprint and set up my first production line of mugs, platters, bowls and plates. For the next twenty years, in every studio and even in the kitchen during times when I had no studio or kiln, I painted plates. If needed, I shlepped my carefully wrapped and protected un-fired dinnerware collection to available kilns and finally, almost too late (i.e., close to the time my interest in ceramics peaked) I purchased my own kilns.

I can set up each of my three granddaughters for life with plates and bowls just from my kitchen cupboards. I could open a store.

The La Mesa house rec room looked out over a canyon of Douglas fir and oak trees. I opened two sets of french doors for the soft San Diego breeze. I cleaned up all my ceramic mess one night, set the plywood workbench on milk cartons on the floor, piled up pillows around it and invited family, friends and staff over for a Moroccan feast. We draped gauzy curtains around and lanterns and candles glowed on the table. We passed around huge Ginna-made platters and bowls of spicy meat dishes, couscous and rice and sweets. We drank wine and copious cups of tea out of Ginna-made cups and told stories in the dark.


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