Posh Hobby

Is it okay for a working gal to have a posh hobby?

Such is the key question after you discover that current batches of hand-crafted pottery make you go all girly-bonkers. 

Having grown up in California in the 1970s, I’ve long associated hand-thrown pottery with the sort of yawn-inducing, earth-toned hippie drippings you’d expect to find during a mescaline bust.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the kind of bold, modern ceramic treasures you can now find in Japantown, indie bookstores branching out into giftware, and of course Harmony, California.

If you’ve never heard of Harmony, there’s a reason.  The town is so small it’s been bought and sold several times.  You can also rent it for weddings. 

But the real reason to go—besides its sculpture garden and other laid-back charms—is its working glass and pottery studios.

That’s where I found this incredible vase by Southern California potter Jon Price.  The deep blue “fireworks” come from a rare process called crystalline glazing, in which crystals actually bloom inside the glaze.  Getting this right is an incredibly painstaking and difficult process; few potters undertake it.  But a talented artisan can produce glorious results like these. 

Reiterating:  Is it okay to have a posh hobby like collecting excellent pottery that just makes you want to … you know, quit your job and collect more excellent pottery?  This fine piece of work did set me back more than any single housewares item in recent memory, so how do I rationalize the splurge?

Truth is, I feel justified every time I look at this little beauty.  My desk becomes more alive just because it’s there, even if there’s nothing in it.  It radiates love, care, and attention to detail.  I think it has a positive impact on my work.

So maybe posh hobbies are cool as long as a) you don’t indulge too often, b) you make sure others get some enjoyment out of it too, and c) you ensure that talented people get their props.  Well done, Jon Price and Harmony Pottery.

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