The Loaded Trunk was founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.
inspired by nature
bring it home
The Beautiful Beaches of Laguna
A Luxurious Escape to the Sahara Desert
Swedish Strawberry Cake
An art history and world history buff, Michael Ezzell has been throwing clay for a span of 52 years on 5 continents, including a stint in Bornholm, Denmark, at what is now the Bornholm Museum, where potters would work in wooden shoes and fire their kilns with wood.
His work is extremely varied, from fish and pelicans to figurines once sold by Gumps in San Francisco to contemporary minimalist vases. Looking at his past work in his Laguna Canyon studio, it’s amazing that he is the sole creator of such a variety of pottery, and insists that all the different styles are related. There are even a few pieces made by his young grandchildren, who come to visit sometimes and “work” with him.
He enjoys working in all types of mediums, including stoneware, English porcelain, glass and bronze. As he showed me around his studio, he said, “My mistakes are my biggest advance. Finding your way, finding your paint stroke, finding your materials…Materials fascinate me, that’s why I work with glass, bronze and others.”
As I watched him work the wheel and we chatted, it was clear that this is a meditative work for him, and he feels a great respect for the medium with which he works. “You can’t impose your will on it. You have to be one with it. It’s like carpentry… What is the wood going to give you? If you pay attention, the clay shows you things.”
When I asked him how he finds his clients, he replied, “I’ve always just wanted to create, and it’s kind of a ‘build it and they will come’ situation.” His work is sold in galleries, art shows throughout the west, department stores and private commissions. He explains that the art world has changed over the years, noting that California has lost much of its educated art community. As the economy changes, the art world ebbs and flows and clientele is changing all the time. “Now the younger crowd has more money and they want white, minimalist, simple designs.”
Mike literally has lots of pots on the fire. “I’m a lot like a short order cook. I’ve got things out there drying. This is something I’ll work on tomorrow. Those are pieces I worked on yesterday and this morning. I’ve got the kiln going, and later on I’ll go and make a delivery.”
As a lover of handmade pottery and someone who appreciates its unique qualities, I was thrilled to go home with a mixing bowl and small set of ramekins – beautiful, yet functional items I know I’ll use often.
Website: Ezzell Ceramics
Studio: 2307 Laguna Canyon Rd
October 25, 2021
The Loaded Trunk is a travel and lifestyle magazine founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.