In the Studio with Rebekah Miles
Born in Santa Barbara and having grown up near the foothills in Carpinteria, nature has always inspired painter and ceramicist Rebekah Miles’s work. “I come from a long line of California ranchers, and as a kid, I had free range to roam and forage for fruit in the orchards,” says Miles, who studied painting in school. “These experiences have given me a wellspring of imagery to draw from again and again.”
Miles’s heirloom platters — which are on display in our Montecito Country Mart store — have been lovingly collected by Margaret and Katherine for years and are the centerpieces of many Kleveland family holiday gatherings. The molds for Miles’ signature plates and platters are based on antique china sets from Haviland Limoges and Spode that belonged to her grandmother.
When we were dreaming up the design for our Montecito Country Mart store, which opened last month, we went to Miles first to see if she’d be willing to hand-paint one of her signature borders for us. The pattern, which edges the archway inside the shop, is inspired by a motif found on one of her plate borders. “The pattern evolved from an antique mid-16th-century Turkish plate in The MET Collection,” she explains of the inspiration for the final simplified pattern of dahlias and sprigs of heather. “It feels very feminine and very ‘70s.”
We dropped in on Miles both while she was at work painting in our shop, and then over at her family’s ranch near Ojai, where she works and lives with her daughter Inez and their two bunnies. Rebekah generously offered a glimpse into their dreamy everyday life, which is filled with lots of workwear, bouts in nature (and wildflowers!), homemade meals, and, when Inez goes to sleep, a long bath to wind down.