The word on the street is art

UPLIFTING MESSAGES—Tall, colorful sculptures offer messages of faith and peace, some in English and others in Persian. The sculptures are displayed in the yards of homes on Paige Lane and are created by resident artists who own the Clay Studio and Gallery on the street. The studio has open houses every Saturday.

Paige Lane is a street stuck in time.Absent on the quiet connector between La Granada Drive and Hodencamp Road are streetlights and sidewalks, but present and noteworthy is something far more creative.

YARD SCULPTURES—The works of husband and wife Ali and Esther Alinejad decorate several front yards on Paige Lane in Thousand Oaks. Photos by RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

Susan Sonderhet doesn’t know the origin or the meaning of the tall, colorful sculptures that dot the peaceful street, but she likes them.The 34-year-old Thousand Oaks resident makes the section of Paige between CombesAvenue and Wilbur Road part of her running routine most days, even though it requires an extra uphill stretch.

“I didn’t even know they say anything,” she said of the colorful sculptures that stand in residents’ front lawns. “They just make me smile with the fact someone put this whimsical, happy art out there for the community.”


Bright ceramic letters roughly 2 feet in length are stacked and skewered on poles in the ground. In all, they stand about 8 to 9 feet tall. Painted in oranges and yellows, blues, greens and reds, they are the creation of Mohammed Reza “Ali” Alinejad and they spell out messages of love, hope and faith in both Persian and English.Alinejad, 62, and his wife, Esther, 54, are working artists and the owners of Clay Studio and Gallery, which they moved from a Thousand Oaks Boulevard strip mall some years ago and now run from their home.

“This is a more peaceful setting with the trees and plants,” said Esther, who works in mixed media most often these days. “People seem to like it more.”

The couple have lived in the home for just over a dozen years, but they’ve been T.O. residents for nearly two decades.

Both are trained in the fine arts—Ali holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Paris, and Esther holds a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s from the University of Arizona—and in addition to producing and selling art, they teach ceramics classes in their backyard studio.

“A lot of our students are scientists from Amgen who come to relax, and sometimes we have to work on getting them to think more like children,” Ali said. “Children use their imaginations and don’t limit themselves.”

The two teach lessons for all ages and needs, including group lessons for autistic children.

“There is the tactile part of it, but there’s also no pressure of the outside world,” said Esther, who beams as she describes shy students who’ve begun to interact with other studio visitors.

The idea to post Ali’s sculptures in neighbors’ yards initially came from another homeowner on their close-knit stretch of street.

On her travels, that homeowner had seen another artist display his own work in his own neighborhood and suggested the Alinejads do the same.

Ali’s art appears in eight yards, though that’s subject to change as he switches the pieces around, sometimes removing them to take them to an exhibit or art show.

“Art is an expression of feeling and it makes people smile and slow down and wave,” he said. “We like to be a part of the community and help make them happy.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi


         Clay Studio + Gallery Inc. located in Thousand Oaks, CA specializes in teaching pottery classes for all ages. Clay Studio instructors Esther Alinejad and Ali Alinejad teach “Creativity with Clay” classes for ages 5-17, as well as Adult Pottery Classes. Have fun learning how to “hand build” with clay and/or learn how to “throw” on a pottery wheel. The classes are taught in a fun, non-competitive, supportive atmosphere. 


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 Open House Saturdays

 Come and visit our studio and/or our gallery on Saturdays from 10:30-1:00.

For those interested in our classes, you are welcome to come and see our studio.

And for those individuals interested in purchasing our functional ceramics and/or sculptural works you can visit our gallery. We sell handmade cups,

bowls, berry bowls, vases, pitchers, and large serving platters. All of our functional work is food safe, dishwasher safe, oven safe, and microwavable.

You are also welcome to view, and/or purchase our fine artwork i.e., sculpture, garden sculpture, and paintings.



 Esther Granata Alinejad

Hearts 2 Happiness

HEARTS 2 HAPPINESS: This Holiday Season turn hearts into happiness! I have SUPER EXCITING NEWS!!! We’re creating ceramic hearts and making a difference in the lives of homeless women and children. For every $25 heart sold, $10 will be donated to the Lighthouse Foundation for homeless women and children. The Lighthouse helps homeless women and children by providing them with food, shelter, educational training for jobs, and bible studies. Basically, they help women get back on their feet. We feel this is a wonderful cause, and hope that you join us in supporting them. The hearts are now made with holes so they can be hung, and/or used as ornaments.

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’  Gandhi

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The Clay Studio + Gallery Inc. in Thousand Oaks, CA specializes in pottery classes for children and adults. Owned and operated by artists, Esther & Ali Alinejad, the studio has been a local favorite for 16 years.

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