Monday, June 13, 2011

Palm Springs Weekend Retreat

This weekend I went with my friend Judith to visit her son Adam, daughter-in-law Hong, grandaughter Leilani (11 years going on 30) and Hong's mother Wei Po, in Palm Springs. Adam and Hong are potters. Hong's work is museum quality pottery and several of her pieces are currently shown in Museums.

Their garden is full of surprises. One of them is each clay pot in the garden (and their are many of them), holds a tiny surprise  - such as this tiny chinese man among the plants. I found myself chuckling as I check them all out to see what I would find next and taking as many pictures as I could.

Hong and Adam are both artists, Adam, in addition to pottery, is an incredible Medical Illustrator (illustrated the entire surgery of Betty Ford for documentation purposes) and also for veterinarian medical literature.  Checkout their website ""  Their work and story is quite captivating.  Hong is from China so Cantonese is spoken regularly and fluently by Leilani and Adam as well. Wei Po speaks no English at all. But her smile is enough to fill all of the outdoors.   

I took my glass making equipment down because Hong had mentioned to me how she had wanted to learn how to make glass beads.  We set up in the pottery workshop attached to the house and fired up my torch. I taught Hong, Leilani and Adam how to pull a stringer, and make a twistie, wind the glass around the mandrel, form a bead and decorate the bead with the stringer and/or twistie they had each made. I taught them safety precaution issues in using the torch, propane and oxygen concentrator and proper safety attire and glasses to use when working with the torch and glass.  They did amazingly well and are each showed a talent in melting and manipulated molten glass into the shape of their choice.  Leilani was the first (naturally) to use her twistie.

It was an incredible afternoon of teaching.  They were in awe at the process involved in making and decorating a glass bead. Hong had a handful of lampwork beads she had bought at an Art Fair where they were selling pottery. She said she was infatuated with the glass beads and had been wanting to learn how they were made for a very long time.

I was so happy to play a part in making a dream come true for her and that the rest of the family was equally as interested in learning the process as well.

Here are a few more of the surprises I found in the garden along with the figs, green beans and many varieties of chili peppers used in the meal Hong prepared at our request to have a genuine Chinese meal. Yummmmmm  She is truly a gourmet Chinese Chef.  The cooking is authentic and delicious so I picked her brain as best I could for tips.  My kind of food for sure.
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Saffron Rice, Seaweed Soup, Cantonese shrimp dish and beef dish (with macadamia nuts !)  and asparagus.  Desert was equally delicious.  Sweetened Rice (coconut milk) and Mangos.

Hong in the Kitchen preparing our genuine Chinese meal

For dinner, Sunday, the evening Judith and I returned to Los Angeles, Hong treated by taking us to the annual local potters dinner at the Indian Wells Restaurant "Vicky's".  Many of the local potters live in Palm Springs for a season and then return to their permanent homes elsewhere.  This is their opportunity to get together one last time of the year to say their "see you next season fairwells".  The food was delicious but visiting with fellow artists made the evening a grand finale.  We talked of glass, pottery, kilns and, in general, our love of the arts all evening long.  Hong shared how excited she was about the lesson in glass she had had and everyone became as excited about it as she was.

Of course, the weather was absolutely my kind of weather.  Hot and Sun Shiney!!!

Now, back to the torch for me.  Thank you for letting me share.   hugs - Suzanne

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