Hidden Leaves… from where?
In the earliest days of Ilan-Lael, we decided we needed a newsletter. But James Britton, a writer in San Diego who I respected a great deal and hoped would volunteer to help, had recently died.
Kay Kaiser, who I did not yet know, wrote a moving farewell to Jim that was read at the memorial service.
I quickly went to Kay’s office in Lloyd Ruocco’s Design Center and found her watering a cactus. I knew she was a good writer and that we had similar interests, so I asked, “Kay, would you do our newsletter?”
“Sure,” she answered. And Hidden Leaves was born.
Kay and I would choose a subject, then break up the tasks. For me, it was better and more fun than any class I ever attended. We wanted to discover what San Diego was about, where its dreams were, where its vision was. A lot of these issues still remain unanswered.
But because of Hidden Leaves, our membership grew to over 3000 and we became embedded in San Diego and its future. Thanks Kay. I would do it all again.
It all began in the fall of 1969, when James and Anne Hubbell, architect Sim Bruce Richards and Janet Richards, architect Ken Kellogg and Marilyn Kellogg, ceramicist Rhoda Lopez, architect Spencer Lake, and I were on a bus together taking an architectural tour in Arizona of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and Paolo Soleri’s Cosanti. Only half a lifetime later would I realize the unique seeds planted in that gathering.
This cast of characters became a new family of thinkers, artists, writers, poets, and architects—a cast that wrote its own script by asking questions about nature…and people…and the discovery of beauty.
The quiet one, the show one, —Jim Hubbell—became my mentor for the next ten years or more. I first lived under an oak tree in my VW bus next to a pear orchard below what was their home…and what would become the birthplace of the Ilan-Lael Foundation. The magical family life of Jim and Anne and their four boys became a daily dose of wonder for me, a 23-year-old idealist just out of school.
“He has a vision that reaches far beyond art and architecture, ” I thought. “Vision unbridled by any inhibition, and unlimited in scope and possibility.”
I remember him saying, “Every day is a discovery, every mistake an opportunity, and event pulling weeds is a study of nature and beauty.”
The next ten years and more found Jim exploring form and ideas in schools and workshops, restaurants, homes and civic buildings. The community had grown an dhe, as were many of us, was concerned that San Diego was not developing properly.
Concerns became a collective voice. Hidden Leaves was that voice—the first full-throated shout of Ilan-Lael and all we stand for. We wanted to foster discourse that would help shape a community in search of its soul into a great city. Jim, by then turning 50, met journalist Kay Kaiser, and with them as co-editors the pages you now hold in your hand became reality. It was a joy. It still is today.
Robert Thiele (with Kay Kaiser)
|Hidden Leaves Anthology|