Lynda Weinman rekindles passion for pottery
Lynda Weinman never had to ask the question after she and her husband Bruce Heavin, sold their company, lynda.com, an online software training website, to Linkedin in 2015 for $1.5 billion.
She knew exactly what she wanted to do.
“While I was in high school, I loved to spend all my spare time making pottery. So one of the first things I did was take a ceramics class at Adult Ed,” Ms. Weinman told the News-Press. “But I didn’t like it. It was too crowded. I couldn’t get the individual attention I needed.”
Fortunately, the Montecito resident discovered that there was a workshop at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo. The title was “Digitally Fabricated Molds for Ceramics.”
“Not exactly a catchy name, but a lightbulb went on for me because I knew all about computer graphics but nothing about ceramics. I hadn’t done any for 50 years,” said Ms. Weinman, who worked in the film industry as a special effects animator and has taught computer graphics, animation interactive design and motion graphics at the Art Center College of Design, American Film Institute and San Francisco State University.
She has published more than 20 books dealing with Photoshop, web design and other program development.
The two-week workshop during summer 2019 was taught by Del Harrow, and there were 15 in the group, all women, which was a surprise for Ms. Weinman.
“When I taught computer graphics, there were usually half women and half men, never all women,” she said.
The experience proved to be a “life changer” for Ms. Weisman.
“It gave me confidence. I could leverage my knowledge of digital graphics.”
In fact, while she was still in Colorado, she reached out to Patrick Hall in Santa Barbara. He founded The Clay Studio, a nonprofit community center dedicated to ceramic arts.
Mr. Hall, who began working in clay at age 14, fell in love with the process and earned his bachelor’s degree in studio art/ceramics and his MFA at UCSB. After 28 years as a designer and builder, he retired and returned to his first love of clay in 2013.
“When I came back to Santa Barbara, Patrick and I collaborated on establishing The Clay Studio in a 28,000 square foot building in a rural unincorporated area of Goleta. It was in total disrepair, but with our combined resources, we renovated it,” said Ms. Weinman.
Two weeks before it was due to open for classes, workshops and spaces for artists, the pandemic shut everything down.
“So I bought a 3D printer for the dining room in our house since we weren’t going to be giving any dinner parties. I got good at it. From the time I woke up everyday until I went to sleep, I designed pottery. I made hundreds of pieces and had multiple shows,” said Ms. Weinman.
Along with more conventional pieces like bowls, teacups and “things with lids,” she designed unconventional items such as a 6-foot-tall ceramic cactus and 150 flowers for the gardens at Casa del Herrero in Montecito.
All of the profits from sales of her pieces go to The Clay Studio, which is located at 1351 Holiday Hill Road, Goleta.
Several of her pieces were on exhibit recently at Sullivan Goss: An American Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara.
“They’re art objects that you put on the shelf and look at,” said Ms. Weinman, adding that she has “always loved the arts, supported the arts, and now I’m a practicing artist, which keeps me 100 percent engaged and excited.
“I’ve discovered a new passion — 3D printing — and rediscovered an old one — making pottery. I’m even going to have my own ceramics studio in our custom home that is being built and should be finished by the end of the year.”
She has a blog at www.claybottress.com and a YouTube channel that chronicles her journey as an artist and a maker.
When asked about reaction from friends and family about her new skill, Ms. Weinman said. “Everyone is amazed, including myself.”