1948. Los Angeles. The war is over. Side by side with glamorous and ruthless Hollywood, California potteries pump out ceramics. Hank Cleveland, a fragile young man from a studio family, falls in love with fierce and independent Susan Chagall, an older woman and temperamental designer at a famous California pottery.
In Susan's bohemian lifestyle, Hank finds excitement, sex, and escape. Hank would like more, but he takes a back seat to Susan's devotion to her shell-shocked brother Joseph.
When Hank falls ill and requires the services of a nurse, memories locked deep inside begin to haunt him, urged by the presence of Grandfather Joel's ashes on the mantel. Thoughts of a vanished girl Hank once loved and buried family secrets threaten to unravel Cleveland family historybright as a Bauer bowl, fragile as a Metlox figurine, and layered with a glaze of lies.