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John Sage / FinchHaven Photography Archives

Epoch Ceramics Inc,
Compton California 1974

Click for information about Reprints, custom Blurb photo books, and digital photo eBooks

You might also enjoy:

Mexican Mask Folk Art, the Art Galleries, California State University at Long Beach, early 1970s

the Foundry, the Sculpture Department, California State University at Long Beach, March 1971

The High Fire Works studio, Long Beach, California early 1970s

Wild Oats, Huntington Beach California 1973

Background (such as I recall it): So if the High Fire Works in Long Beach California was the idylic hippie-potter paradise, Epoch Ceramics was the hard-core industrial future of commercial production high-fire stoneware in Southern California in the 1970's.

Epoch Ceramics was founded by two Otis Art Institute (1970's name; now the Otis College of Art and Design) graduates and was working in direct competition with the slightly older Christopher Robin Pottery, where other of my potter friends from Long Beach State worked.

Epoch was pure production and pure business: we threw to a specific product line where each item had set dimensions and a set appearance, and we were paid by piece-work.

Piece-work is an interesting wage system: when you were not working, you literally were not making any money. I threw almost exclusively round-bottomed hanging planters called "pods" -- for which I was paid $0.22 cents each. One dozen pods per ware board, maybe 20-22 ware boards on a good day. Roughly $290.00 per week, maybe $1,000.00 take-home per month. Not bad for a single dude who was paying $90.00 per month for rent.

I worked at Epoch for maybe two-and-a-half years or so. That's how I made enough money to move to Seattle in 1975.

Ektachrome slides.

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Epoch Ceramics Inc, Compton California, 1974

Epoch_Ceramics_Inc_Compton_CA_1974_011

Epoch Ceramics Inc. The street sign and the address numbers were "8205 Compton Ave". I've never been able to find anything that even remotely looks like this in Google Earth now...

Epoch_Ceramics_Inc_Compton_CA_1974_003

Clay storage on pallets outside. The shell of the building where the clay was stored (and I parked my car) was burned-out and left over from the Watts Riots in 1965

Epoch_Ceramics_Inc_Compton_CA_1974_015

Steve Smith (l) and Mario Mortara (r), throwing planters outside on a "nice" day. Mario was one of the High Fire Works potters; both Mario and Steve were in the Ceramics department with me at Cal State Long Beach

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Four new but unfinished car kilns under construction as part of the factory expansion. The factory size was doubled. When I left in June of 1975 the four kilns were firing daily

Epoch_Ceramics_Inc_Compton_CA_1974_013

The owner Bob trying to drive us back to work. Bob was an Otis Art Institue graduate and pretty much the same age as the rest of us. Back to front: Steve Smith, Mario Mortara, and me

Epoch_Ceramics_Inc_Compton_CA_1974_014

Back to work. Left to right: Mario Mortara, me, and Steve Smith. This was taken before the factory expansion: the back wall on the right was opened up and the factory extended back, doubling the size. The potters (maybe five or six of us) ended up along the back wall at the very far end

Epoch Ceramics Inc, Compton California, 1974

Epoch Ceramics Inc,
Compton California 1974


Return to FinchHaven Photography Archives: the Nineteen-Seventies: California

Return to FinchHaven Photography Archives: the Nineteen-Seventies

Return to FinchHaven Photography Archives

John Sage / FinchHaven Photography Archives

Epoch Ceramics Inc, Compton California 1974

Click for information about Reprints, custom Blurb photo books, and digital photo eBooks

You might also enjoy:

Mexican Mask Folk Art, the Art Galleries, California State University at Long Beach, early 1970s

the Foundry, the Sculpture Department, California State University at Long Beach, March 1971

The High Fire Works studio, Long Beach, California early 1970s

Wild Oats, Huntington Beach California 1973


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