Sammy has been a friend for a few years now. We met each other in Costa Mesa and kept in touch throughout the years even though we’ve only spent time together in person a handful of times. We both share many interests, marketing and photography being some, and I always remember talking about relationships and the twists and turns of life. Looking back, we always talked about healthy rhythms and the power of rest, slowing down, creativity, and being a confident and humble individual without worrying too much about the opinions, affirmations, and judgements of others. We both share similar questions, doubts, and values in regards to the love for people, inclusion, social behavior and justice, and all around are just seeking to go through life enjoying every moment, working hard, and finding little ways to stay passionate.
Sammy recently got married to Christian and I actually got to photograph their intimate wedding in 2020. In the past few years, they have launched Lunch Time Ceramics: a hobby turned small business. Their pieces are beautiful and we’re so happy to be using their pieces everyday for our wine, mezcal, or espresso. Outside of ceramics, Sammy works in marketing and photography, and Christian is finishing up a PhD in Earth Systems Science. Read more about LTC below and check out their website, lunchtimeceramics.com.
WHO ARE YOU GUYS? & WHAT DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?
I guess you can say Lunch Time Ceramics was started almost 2 years ago, but in reality that’s just when we began learning ceramics and started an Instagram account to document our progress. We took some lessons at a local pottery studio and were both hooked by our second session. Hooked because it was incredibly therapeutic and so satisfying to make something functional by hand. This was before we lived in Costa Mesa, so we looked for a closer studio to us which ended up being IFAC (Irvine Fine Art Center) – a larger ceramic studio with over 20+ wheels, glazes and 2 gas kilns. Our time at IFAC was very formative, many of our studio-mates were generously full of knowledge and we had access to so many materials and weekly firings. We practically spent every weekend there, learning simply how to center, pull, trim, and glaze our pieces.
Then the pandemic hit, and all the studios shut down. We were going quite mad being stuck at home, without access to a wheel, clay or kiln. We decided to make the investment of buying our first wheel (a Shimpo Whisper, it’s the best) and have slowly since been adding more equipment and resources to our mini half-studio (which in all fanciness is our half garage). Bringing ceramics into our home has opened up a whole new world of learning for us. We began to explore mixing our own glazes by hand, became familiar with new tools and methods, and had more space and time to try new decorative techniques such as sgraffito and underglaze designs.
At the moment, we have no kiln, so our firing schedule revolves around another local studio’s availability which makes testing new clays and glazes and production style pottery difficult. But the exploration of different forms, clays, glazes, and styles is actually what draws us both to ceramics, so we hope that one day we will have the right resources to explore more! We primarily focus on wheel thrown pieces, and are drawn to forms that are functional and can be used and incorporated into daily life such as mugs, cups, bowls, teapots etc. These forms can seem so simple to make, but in reality there are countless aspects of the design that need to be considered. Aspects such as wall width, height, internal curvature, angle of the walls, the type of foot (if you choose to add feet), the type of clay, and then the glaze possibilities are a whole other ball game! These are things that Christian and I spend hours discussing, planning, and envisioning.
Tea ware is something that we really enjoy in our daily lives. I grew up drinking loose leaf tea most nights after dinner, and sharing a hot pot of tea with my family was and still is a time that I really enjoy. Christian was initially drawn to the challenge of figuring out all the components of a teapot, and now that he’s become quite good at it he loves the meticulous labor of measuring each and every piece to ensure they fit, hold and pour well. It’s really cool to reflect that these days, most nights spent with my family include drinking tea out of tea ware all made by our hands.
We work in very small batches, and are consistently evolving our style and interests which is evident if you take a look at our collections – they are all very different from one another. I suppose one day if we find our “style” we would buckle down and take a more production type approach, but for now we are taking it slow and seeing where the clay takes us so to speak. I think we are learning to like taking it slow, because the inherent slowness of ceramics honestly forces you to take it slow. You really can’t speed up the process too much, at the risk of quality.
In a world of constant production and productivity, we really love being able to do pottery as not only is it therapeutic and rewarding, but it teaches us patience and how to slow down. It’s a unique craft that forces us to focus on the process, rather than the output. And typically, the end results are functional pieces that we enjoy using every day!