TreeBed Design

Napa Makes

Apr 06 2018

Yes... it has been a while. The past year has been a doozy! About this time last year I was trying my best to hold onto my home/studio in Vallejo (of 14 years), and when that didn't work out... I found a beautiful spot to land in rural Napa on Mt. Veeder. I was nearly unpacked/organized, and ready to start building out a new studio (I had just done my first firing of my ceramic kiln)... when the devastating wild fires swept through and took nearly everything. I lost a great deal of my work, tools, instruments, etc (along with all my household belongings). Whew!

Damaged Ceramics Work

Which brings me to why I am so excited to be participating in Napa Makes tomorrow! I finally started making work a few weeks ago, and I get to share that work with people in a beautiful setting... while serving Ritual Coffee! I'm feeling so grateful that my time in this community is yielding such strong support for all of the things that I love to do. 

If you are in the area... please come and check out all of the amazing vendors (10am-4pm at the Oxbow School in Napa)! If you are far away... please keep an eye out for signs of life at TreeBed Design!!! 

I am welcoming in 2016 by looking back... way back to my college days (Graceland University). Specifically the days working in the ceramics studio. I created a small body of work that leaned against the idea that as a "potter/ceramicist" I was destined to make mugs and teapots. I didn't see anything wrong with creating this type of work, but I didn't like it to be assumed that this is who I was as an artist. So the worked referenced functional ceramic pieces, and had a metallic/machine fabrication aesthetic. I had big ideas for this work and where I would take it... However, I didn't really understand how to tackle these ideas, in order to make the body of work a reality. I got overwhelmed, and the ideas sat on the shelf.

Tea Pot Jams, made circa 2000

 

Fast forward to about this time last year (yes, fast forward... backwards)... I had been getting my hands back in clay. As I dipped my toes (well, fingers) back in the clay... I found myself leaning towards making simple tumblers. These items were something to use, and compliment my life in coffee. I had never seen my skill set matching up very well with those of a "production" potter, but there was something intriguing about tackling that notion... and turning it on its head.

 

Then, out of the blue... I was asked if I, "could make custom ceramic growlers". I had never thought about such a thing, and had no idea how to go about fulfilling that request... so I said, "yes, I think I can do that". I had also just recently made a challenge to myself to "try and fail" at as many things as possible. This meant, instead of shying away from things that I thought I could not do, or might not be good at... that I would GO FOR IT!!!

So... in the last few hours of 2015... I delivered growlers number: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (out of 250 to be made). All were sold before the doors to Mare Island Brewing Co. was even open for business (and there was still a line of people who would have to wait for the next batch). The reason I write this post now, is to highlight the fact that these growlers are tied to that work from long ago. The work I was doing then is present now, both in aesthetic and concept. I had to lean into what I bucked against as a young college student... just now am I learning how to be myself. Letting the work flow out of me, and not simply just pushing against the box that others (or myself) might want to put me in. I can now look back at the patterns of my life, and see that the things people now often say that I am "good at"... are all things I was quite sure I could never excel at. What a wonderful thing it is to be proved wrong... and learn something new!

64 oz Growler for Mare Island Brewing Co. (2015)

Another holiday season is ramping up towards the frenzied, shop-til-ya-drop, crash into the new year, and hope we all survive it… season we know and love (sorta). I often feel very anxious this time of year as a "creative business person", because I sense the need to "take advantage" of the opportunity to sell. I am admittedly not very good at this part, and I can get stuck beating myself up for not being better. So today, I am taking a time out. To simply enjoy the love I have for creating.

Last year I recorded a simple version of the song Silent Night that I have been singing for a few years. Perhaps you can use it as back ground for your own time out. This is a season of darkness, and the opportunity for quiet reflection. Winter is getting ready to settle in, and hold our deeper thoughts. There are things to hold ourselves accountable/responsible for, and there are the gifts we can give ourselves (and others) of being loving, gentle… letting go. I have much to be grateful in this season. Today I am going to sit and soak that gratitude up. I am going to do what I can in my studio, and share as much of it as possible… whether it is during this holiday season, or perhaps in the new year. 

It is my hope you find your own space of quiet reflection during the hustle and bustle of this season… and that what ever lights you up, you find more of in the new year!