Petroglyph featured in The Metro News

A ceramic lounge that takes the holiday scene by storm

By Virginia Lee

Petroglyph: Usually defined as a primitive cave painting, in Santa Cruz Petroglyph has taken on a whole new meaning. It's the brainchild of Jennifer and Michael Rubin, refugees from Hollywood film production scene, who after deciding to get married, went on a national search to find the perfect place to live settle down and grow business - and eventually raise a family. After traveling from Santa Fe to Vermont, Boulder to Toronto, they landed in Santa Cruz and decided this was it. Love at first sight.

Now, we vetran locals know what a challenge it is to make a living in this town, so that's when Jennifer Rubin came up with her brainstorm: Petroglyph. "It literally means writing on stone," explains her husband Michael, "but in this case it refers to ceramics." But it's not a pottery store. It's what Jennifer and Michael call a "ceramic lounge," "It's a place to come and hang out with people, and do something creative at the same time." says Michael who readily credits Jennifer with the bright idea. 

"I always wondered why getting together with friends had to revolve around food or booze," comments Jennifer, an a dynamic self-described "fireball" who gave up a lucrative career as a production assistant for Paramount and Disney to move here and live out her dream. Michael left an equally incredible computer graphics and film editing job with Lucasfilm in LA, but was happy to get out of the darkroom and away from the computer and into the ceramiclounge at Petroglyph. "Hanging out here is interactive. It's a great alternative for people who want to do something more creative with their time than watch TV or go to the movies. Petroglyph stays open late and caters to the after dinner crowd. 

How does it work? First you choose a reasonably priced piece of naked bisque pottery from hundreds on the shelves. Then you pick out your favorite colors from the "paint wall." After washing your hands, you choose or make up a design and paint your piece. Yes, they have idea books if you like. Finally you leave your piece so the petroglyph elves can fire it and prepare it  for you to pick up when it's ready.

Speaking of elves petroglyph will transform into a Santa's workshop for those looking for unique I made it myself kind of gift during the week before Christmas catch up with will be open Monday and every night until midnight or to the last patron leaves whichever is first to be ready by Christmas Eve every

Discovering the inner artist.

"But I'm not creative," you say. Actually Jennifer and Michael are not even potters, nor do they have any desire to be one. "Because we didn't know anything, it was easier for us to break the mold," says Jennifer.

"One of the great things about Petroglyph is that all ages and all skill levels are welcome." Jennifer continues, "Tribes of people used to etch beautiful patterns into the items they used in everyday life and they were not trained artists. All of us have the capacity to do this." She adds, "Regardless of how untalented they may feel, most customers are totally amazed when they come to pick up the pieces." Even those who dreaded fingerpainting kindergartner in kindergarten can have a rewarding experience here. It's definitely a great date for you and your inner child.

Speaking of kids speaking of kids, there's a great place for them to hang out too - the' kids cave' is a spot under the stairs where Chaplin and Disney films are shown. That's why it's not uncommon to see moms and kids in the afternoons, dads and kids in the evenings or vice versa depending on the circumstances and schedules. On the weekends things get really busy, especially around the holidays, so it's a good idea to make reservations for parties of 10 or more.  What a great idea for everything from a blind date to a birthday party - and something fun to do when it rains. 

You've got to admit it's a pretty cool concept and not surprising that Petroglyph occupies the same space as the former funky retro café.  Avant-garde vibes ooze from the walls, which are enhanced by the growing number of one-of-a-kind colorful ceramic creations on the display in the storefront window, waiting for their creators to come and take them home. 

There's probably no place like Petroglyph anywhere else in the country, maybe in the world. 

Wouldn't you know it's only in Santa Cruz.

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