In the idyllic downtown area of Saratoga, CA, there is a coffeehouse with soaring ceilings and large windows, a calming wood-accented interior, and a patio out front surrounded by plants. Sue's Gallery Cafe has two rooms with seating: one where you order and one that houses the eponymous gallery of ceramic housewares. On my first visit, the mugs displayed behind the counter caught my eye: they were extra large and the handles were shaped like human stick figures in crawling poses. My cappuccino came in a plainer but lovely ceramic cup. I learned from the barista that the ceramics used for the food and those in the gallery, which can be purchased, are made by the cafe owner's wife.
Cafe-ceramics is an uncommon but inspired marriage. The cafe can serve its food in unique, beautiful vessels; the ceramicist sees her wares in use and gets marketing and a storefront; patrons experience art with their coffee. Seeing this partnership made me wonder what other fortuitous combinations aren't yet mainstream.
I imagine it would be gratifying for one person to do both activities: to make and serve coffee for part of the day and throw pottery for the rest. One activity is social, the other more cerebral and solitary. It makes me think, in the likely future in which robots do much of the necessary work that maintains human existence, and humans must work not to survive but to occupy ourselves and maintain a sense of purpose—at this point, "work" will have to be fulfilling or it will not be done. We will still have specialists who have the innate interest and mental fortitude to pursue one thing deeply, but we are all some parts social, some parts mentally curious, some parts excited to work with our hands. My guess is as the need for fulfillment from our work increases, we'll see more Ceramicist's Coffeehouses.