Good craftsmen are a rarity these days. I had the opportunity to document Ryan Van Hoy, a potter from Indianapolis, as he shares his story on how he came about to doing pottery, and what influences him in his profession.
2017. What resolutions do you have in mind? Mine, aside from the continuous struggle to be better in all aspects of life, want to accomplish some personal goals I’d rather not say at the beginning of the year. It’s like a jinx the moment you blurt it out to the world. Everyone knows what you desire, and the special bond between you and your secret is lost.
Let me tell you the story of this girl. Meet my long-time friend, Sherri. We’ve known each other since we were 17, in college where we took up the same major, Advertising. For the most part I think we took it cause it was closer to art than most other business courses.
Closer to our graduation, she got her first tattoo done and hid it from her mom, whom she’s super close to. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to keep it hidden, only later to be discovered. Being a girl and having a thing for tattoos is not a common combination from where we come from. Long story short, after a few years of working in an office and realizing a stronger calling for her art, she packs her bags and lands up in LA with an internship in a well-known tattoo studio.
Over the weekend, we got the chance to stay at a very upscale hotel in Beverly Hills, the SLS Luxury Collection Hotel. From a design perspective, the interiors were designed with a focus on fashion and current trends. I was not expecting to see an AK-47 gun or a 5 foot tall black horse as lamps in the lobby, nor the backlit poster of Penelope Cruz adorning the entire wall of the reception area on my floor as I stepped out of the elevator. For designers who love pop art and not just subtle clean design, this is a place to check out.
More than just staying at a nice hotel, we also got the chance to try out our friend’s highly recommended restaurant – Scratch. They make everything from scratch, from their butter, to their breads… not just that, but if you’re adventurous, try out the 16 course meal which the chefs will prepare for you, only letting you know what ingredients they’ll be using, and not telling you the sequence or combinations of how they’ll use the ingredients. They change their menu every month on top of that. It’s a very bold concept created by a group of chefs, there are no servers in the restaurant, and the chefs who create the dish also take the time to explain to you what their creation is.
Right in the heart of San Francisco, I found a gem of a shop that carried precious tea from China and Taiwan. Unlike how we describe wine through different terms like being full-bodied, fruity, etc.; I still cannot put a finger on how to describe my green tea experiences in life. Let’s put aside all the different teas of the world for now and just focus on the humble teas from China and Taiwan. I could relate it to fine tobacco in that only connoisseurs who really take the time to go through the different kinds of leaves and how they are processed get to appreciate the beauty of it.
It’s not the same as getting a bag of widely distributed Earl Gray tea and knowing that every first steep or cup would taste the same, because the flavor is measured to taste the same. When you’re dealing with rolled tea leaves, sometimes the flavor comes gradually and only gets stronger after having a first rinse. Thus the phrase “good things come to those who wait,” applies well here.
Although it does take a little more effort and time to prepare Chinese tea leaves compared to easily dipping a tea bag into a hot cup of water, it only makes sense to enjoy the slower process of it. The art of slow living… as some may call it. If you fancy doing a tea tasting or want to get some good tea in SF, head on over to Lower Pacific Heights and visit Song Tea & Ceramics at 2120 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.