Monday, July 27, 2009

r.i.p. Otto Heino

A few years back, while visiting SoCal for a wedding, I decided to make a day trip out to Ojai in the hope I could visit Otto Heino at his studio. He could not have been more welcoming, or more inspiring - and what a character! He spoke proudly of his work and his success as he showed me the throwing area, his kilns, and some pots, and then we made a little detour into the garage, where lurked the tarp-covered shapes of (at least) six hulking vehicles. I remember a little wink in his eye when he lifted up the cover to show the beauteous Rolls; " all of 'em Rolls and Bentleys", he chirped; " I like a drive in the hills on Sundays". Uh-huh. Then he said something cute about there being plenty of doctors that could afford those rides, but precious few potters. There are lots of videos online worth checking out of Otto speaking about his life or demonstrating his working methods. He was one of the great craftsmen in clay of our time, and it is undeniable that he enjoyed his time here, and spent it well.

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