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Friday, September 14, 2007

Otto Heino: an afternoon surprise


Martha's birthday is coming up, but I have a wedding rehearsal on that day. So when I got the sermon roughed out today, I suggested we drive south to the valley community of Ojai where a potter she has admired has a studio: Otto Heino. We arrived at a little showroom off the highway with two older people inside, Otto and his sister from Thousand Oaks. As Martha carefully toured the showroom, she pointed out his genuis: a yellow glaze that has never been reproduced, and especially desired by the Japanese government. As we found out from articles and Otto, he sells $1 million of yellow glaze pots to Japan each year!

This charming and gregarious man still rises every day at 4:30 am to work in his studio at age 93. He told us he just won a Picasso prize in France requiring him to create at least 25 new pots before next August, where his work will be shown in Paris! He also told us about flying 40 missions with the US Air Force over Germany, Russia and Italy in WW II, getting shot down twice in a B-52, parachuting to safety and getting smuggled back into Allied territory. What a treat!

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