Wednesday, June 6, 2007

california organic modern

i'm sure there's a much better title previously coined. but what i'm meaning to capture, is that organic, modern feel found so often in central and northern cali. (ojai, cambria, marin, bolinas, etc.) what it brings to mind for me is, reclaimed wood items, old tree trunks as coffee tables and chunky hand woven rugs made on some giant loom-- and wonderful ceramics with earthy glazes. which brings me to this gentleman: Otto Heino is one of the original artists to this movement. Originally from New Hampshire, Heino, a survivor of 40 bombing missions in WII went looking for some tranquilty. He ended up in England under the tutelage of the avant garde ceramicist, Bernard Leach. He later moved to New York where he became an art student of his future wife, Vivika. Eventually he ended up in the town of Ojai, California - a community long known as a haven for artists, musicians. Until nine years ago, no one had been able to create a yellow glaze that would up hold the high heat kiln. usually, the yellow burns out in high heat. Otto has committed to memory the magic process and recipe to create this. It's a beautiful matte lemon yellow; the wood kiln adds a random peach blush to the pots.I was first introduced to his work when a fellow designer/co-worker in hollywood, used his work as a catalyst for her design of an entire house. (it was beautifully executed and is photographed often) She told me how she and her husband had made a special trip up to ojai over the weekend to visit Otto in his studio. She went on to say what a genial and sweet man he was, as he asked her to stay and have tea and conversation. On that trip she purchased a gorgeous piece done in his famous, yellow glaze. "Otto has a very natural, physical throwing style. He is one of very few potters who can keep a refined shape in a large vessel. An eye for form and skill of throwing aside, Otto's potting requires great strength. Despite his senior citizen status, he is able to throw 100 pounds of clay at once!" If you are ever in the area, you must stop buy his studio. this stuff's the real deal (not to be confused with 'a real deal' prices are high). he has his 'pot shop' on-line from which you can purchase his art too. The Pottery is located at 971 McAndrew Road, Ojai, CA 93023. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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