Linda Mechanic, a Mar Vista potter, teacher and activist, has died. She was 50.
Mechanic passed away Oct. 29 at Saint John’s Health Center after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Mechanic, who was trained as a recreational therapist at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, first learned to create pottery on the potter’s wheel in 1986 through an adult education program.
In 1999 she opened her studio and gallery, Peach Tree Pottery in Mar Vista. There she taught hundreds of children and adults to throw on the potter’s wheel, and used the gallery at the studio to feature the work of dozens of emerging Southern California artists.
From beginner to the more advanced potter, Mechanic used her guiding, steady hands to teach and nurture her students. The environment she created in the gallery made it a perfect stepping-stone for artists of all kinds, friends said.
Mechanic welcomed regular field trip visits from local school children, their teachers and parents, who enjoyed the happy and relaxed atmosphere of the studio. She had a particular ability to connect with and draw out the artist, particularly in children, friends said.
An activist and philanthropist, Mechanic continually gave back to the community. Each art show in the Peach Tree Pottery gallery included a percentage of sales donated to worthy causes.
Over the past 12 years, she raised funds for numerous organizations including St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the American Cancer Society, MS Society and American Heart Association.
Mechanic provided pottery classes and personalized holiday gift drives to benefit families in need at the Casa Libre Supportive Housing Project, and established the Morton Mechanic Scholarship Program to provide pottery classes for children of low-income families. In addition, she hosted local potters participating in Empty Bowls Projects, a grassroots effort to fight hunger.
Mechanic is survived by Carolynn LaRocca, her partner of over 20 years; her mother Billie Mechanic; sisters Donna and Debra Mechanic; brother-in-law Patrick Cunningham and nephew Kealan; as well as many cherished friends and extended family members. She was preceded in death by her father Mort and sister Cyd.
Donations can be made to a charity of choice or to organizations that fund cancer research and treatment. Friends said efforts are underway to officially create the Linda and Morton Mechanic Scholarship Fund as a charitable foundation.