TreeBed Design

Mare Island Brewing Co. is deeply rooted in the story of TreeBed Design, and I am happy to call them friends... as well as instigators of new creative challenges!

In 2015 I was almost ready to let go of my ceramic studio equipment, because my energy was going towards coffee (and some music things). Ryan (co-founder at MIBC) saw some of the tumblers that I made and asked if I could make ceramic growlers. I said, "I have never thought about such a thing... I'll try!"

It took me quite some time to figure it all out, but I did... and the growlers were a hit! This also opened the door to me learning about making production ceramics, and chefs asking for different items for restaurants/wineries/etc!

Fast forward a few years and Kent (other MIBC founder) asked if I could help with their new Whale Boat Room event space by transferring the original building plans for a whale boat built on Mare Island in 1934... up onto the BIG wall of the new space! The actual boat has been donated to them and will be disassembled to be used in the buildout of the room! 

Whale Boat Plans

I had never tackled such a larger mural project and was not sure exactly how to go about it... However, once again MIBC was willing to trust and support my artistic abilities to make it happen! So grateful for folks who are not only preserving stories, but also supporting artists to create new ones. 

After about 10 days, and numerous hours... trips up and down the ladder/lift, several paint pens, paint brush touch ups, re-positioning the projector, head scratches, a couple creative "changes" (see if you can find them all) to the plans, and a few beers...

The whale boat is up on the wall for all the fun events to come to that room!

TreeBed Design and the Whale Boat Mural at Mare Island Brewing Co.

Check out my IG page (as well as MIBCs) for more about this project and story!

The week I moved back to Vallejo (March 2020) happened to be the second Friday of the month, and so there was an Art Walk! I was so excited to wander downtown Vallejo and see the changes that had been going on in the years I had been gone. I had set up numerous times for previous art walks in Vallejo over the years (including the first versions long ago), and was looking forward to being downtown to participate from my own studio! Then a few days later the whole world change, and everything shut down for COVID!

Vallejo Art Walk 2015

Tonight the art walk returns for the first time since that shut down, and I am so excited to open my doors to people! So if you are close enough to Vallejo to come say hello... Please do!

Downtown will be buzzing from 5-9pm, and you can put it on your calendar for every 2nd Friday of the month!

Summer 2021
Welcome to Summer and my first ever newsletter! This has been something I have thought about doing for MANY years, and it is finally happening! What took so long?!? To answer that question I have to go back to the beginning of TreeBed Design, and how it started after the loss of my father. My dad was HIV positive for over 20 years (pretty rare in those early days of the AIDS crisis), and he finally lost that battle on Father’s Day 2004. My brother and I inherited his house in Vallejo, and I was able to set up a small studio space to make ceramics again.

My dad wrote a note to me when I left for college that said, “I don’t care what you do… as long as you treat those around you honestly & fairly. Besides that do whatever is meaningful to you.” I did my best to apply this to what I thought HE might want me to do after his death, and so I rushed into trying to start a business that could sustain my creative passions. I had a lot to learn about grief. I also had a lot to learn about how to apply those words of wisdom that he offered me… for ME.

I was very young when my dad came out to our family as gay, and then a few years later I learned about his HIV (after the loss of his first partner). These traumas shaped my understanding of the world (only beginning to understand the full extent of this in the last few years), and it informed how I started TBD after his loss. I had plenty of passion, ideas, creativity… However, I didn’t understand what I needed to grieve/heal in order to build a proper foundation for starting TBD. So I made mistakes. I stumbled, and got off course. In fact, I was never really clear where I was headed in the first place. I was operating out of a lot of fear (buried deep), and not fully living into all that was possible.

Dad and I (1999)

So as I reflect and move through this potent month of remembering (Father’s Day, Solstice, Pride Month)… It felt important to take a big step towards re-launching TreeBed Design (with love). I am making the newsletter happen now, because I have finally laid the foundation to make it happen (along with asking for support). I have used those stumbles and detours to discover/know my grief. To feel it more fully. To heal (which is a continuous process). To more fully understand the privilege I have in this journey, and be grateful for all the support I have been given. I still can’t say exactly where TreeBed Design is going (it is “TBD” after all), but I look forward to using this newsletter to tell you about where I am finding myself at the moment. My hope is that there is value in the process of sharing my work (for us both), and the stories that the work is rooted in. Sure it is partially about making and selling products/services that I design… However, underneath that it is about creating community in the shared experiences of being human.

Thank you for being the first people to witness and support this next chapter of TBD! Some of you have been watching this evolve (start/stop/pause/etc) since the very beginning… I’m so grateful for the continued interest and investment in my unfolding!

Process:
I don’t need to tell you that it has been a wild year! With no in-person dining there was not much need for my restaurant/winery customers to have ceramic dishes. However, once things started opening up… I am happy to say I got VERY busy. You can interact with my work at: Mare Island Brewing Co. (Vallejo), Compline (Napa), Katz Farm (Napa), Donum Estate (Sonoma), Stone Edge Farm (Sonoma), and more added soon which I’ll post on my FAQ page! There has been a lot to learn navigating my new Vallejo work space, supply chain issues, and shifting a side hustle into sustainable full time work. The goal is to balance all of those logistic/production things with finding the energy to re-spark creativity. I discovering how do I want to be in relationship with my work (especially the work I do in my living space), and nourish/care for all the parts of my being?

Mare Island Brewing Co. "Squealers"

Product:
I have been making a lot of vases lately, and having so much fun doing so! It often feels like getting back to my ceramic sculptural roots… adding details, seeing where the clay takes me, and thinking about how the vase will be viewed/used. I love the idea that people will add their own creativity to the vase: flowers, kitchen utensils, and whatever else might fit! Summer is such a great time to forage in the garden for different colors/textures/etc to add to a vase. Each time you fill it up, a new work of art is created! Check out these new vases with the little “rivet” detail!

TBD Vases

Sale: (gotta sign up for the actual newsletter for that part)

Next newsletter will be in the fall with perhaps a few emails of big stuff in between... if you aren't signed up... click the link so you can get discounts and first access to new products/events!

Thank you so much for reading and following along!

-Micah

TreeBed Design is adding a seasonal newsletter to the mix, and you can sign up right now! My hope is to send out information about what is happening with TBD, and form a deeper connection to... my story, process, and the products being created.

There will also be access to discounts, special releases, and you'll be the first to know about events/classes/etc

Nobody needs more email clutter, and I don't want to be another brand constantly shouting into the void of your digital world. It is my intention to add value to your connections with TreeBed Design, and better share the story of what is unfolding in my creative process... I want you to be a part of my community as I bring my creativity into the light!

ShakyTreeCoffee News

Photo Story: Once upon a time (2007) I helped start a coffee house in the town of Spencer, IA... there was a presidential election going on, and that meant lots of action in Iowa small towns. We held a mock caucus to teach people how to participate in that process, and vote for the drink of their choice (I think the latte won ;) 

Shaky Tree Coffee was a magical little oasis of 3rd wave coffee (more about my connection to that for another story time), music/art, and community! The news article in the photo was about our mock caucus, and we hosted events for different candidates (including one with Joe Biden's late son Beau in the middle of a blizzard). I took this photo as a part of a Flickr challenge to take a self portrait each day for a year (before IG or the term selfie existed)... this was a pretty good one. 

Things have been a little quiet on the site for the last few weeks of winter, but there has been a lot of movement underneath that silence. The light is getting brighter with each spark of new energy and SPRING!

I was nudged to write a poem last week, and it proved to be a sweet little spark of a song... that has come to be a bit of a meditation for me on the last few years. It feels like I am beginning to come out of a darkness that has needed a LOT of little sparks to return to the light, and I'm grateful for all of those who have been "sparks" along the way!

There are lots of things churning behind the scenes right now... I hope you stay tuned (subscribe/follow/etc) as things begin to fly!

2020 is coming to a close, and winter is now officially upon us. Always a time of year for many to reflect, but this year has been especially... well, you fill in a description!

Perhaps one ending gift of this year is that for many this holiday season will be very different due to COVID-19... yes, a gift. Along with all of the struggle, grief, and uneasiness... perhaps there will be a bit slower pace, and more space to slow down, go inward and reflect (which lends itself to this solstice season naturally... despite the normal holiday craziness we are used to). 

For me it has been the year of landing, and planting myself in a new way. Since the 2017 fires, I have been scrambling to find my footing. In March (2020) I moved back to Vallejo to do just that, and give my full attention to TreeBed Design. A week later... everything shutdown due to the pandemic. At first this felt like a continuation/escalation of my disrupted life, but now looking back... it was actually the beginning of the "pause" (plunged deep into the soil) that I needed to look at myself, the world (and how I participate in it) differently. With each new layer of 2020 that unfolded I was given the opportunity to slow down again, and re-evaluate what is important in my life... how I need/want to show up for myself, my community and beyond. This wasn't easy. It still feels pretty uncomfortable... and yet, there are glimpses of the beauty found in turning towards creativity, towards healing, towards racial justice, towards standing up for better ways to take care of each other. These are the things I want to find my footing in, and my "work" will grow out of that. At this transition of the solstice... that is the light I am stretching towards. 

 It was a year that brought me back to projects that I was about to start on right before the fire... a second growler for Mare Island Brewing Company, more TBD Tuesday Tumblers,  and new recording projects have taken shape this year. For the first time in 3 years I have the space to paint (hooray for Stripes!), record music, have hands in clay, and relax/recharge! I am so grateful for that space and feel incredibly privileged to be re-connecting to my own creativity. Thank you for being a part of all of this... with orders from the website, support of places that use my work, following/liking pictures posted along the way, and cheering me on! I hope there is more of all of this to come.

Striped

I can't say I know what 2021 holds... However, I do have the sense that I am ready to press "play", and emerge from my "pause" with new creative energy. I hope to collaborate more, make space for more creativity/healing/beauty, and connect with my community in deeper ways. I want to celebrate more joy as I grow into the light ahead... oh, and hopefully hug (everyone)! 

- with lots of love and gratitude... see you in 2021

SALE!

Nov 17 2020  | 0 comments

It is time for a sale on lots of stuff in the shop! I need to make room for some new things on the way... so I will be posting "seconds" type stuff as well.

I have been learning a lot over the past few years about production, and trying different designs for restaurants, wineries, breweries and other clients... this means I have lots of random pieces that work perfectly well, but maybe were extras, or didn't quite fit in (or didn't exactly hit the mark I was shooting for). Hopefully these items can find a happy home with you! Keep an eye out for such postings on the website (and Instagram @TreeBed_Design) as well as some opportunities to browse in person (limited showings by appt... email if interested)!

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