TreeBed Design

Intro/Welcome

Fall has arrived, and so has the 2nd edition of the TreeBed Design Newsletter! I am excited to share a bit about the summer… where I am at now… as well as a look ahead!


I was reading an article this morning that captured what I felt over much of this summer… “Why You Feel  So Tired All the Time?”  The core idea in the article, that many of us have replaced “excitement” with “anxiety,” resonated in a big way. The summer is usually filled with vacations, gatherings with friends/family, and fun things to look forward to! However, this was another summer where all of those things still needed to be measured for risk, and uncertainty. It is exhausting! 


I felt this low level exhaustion trying to navigate increased orders (hooray!), supply chain issues (“it's going to be HOW LONG till I get that glaze?”), and the ever shifting landscape of our current world. 


It has been an intense learning curve to be once again working for myself, and understanding HOW to do that in an authentic, healthy, sustainable way. Usually the lesson starts with the words, “SLOW DOWN… good, now SLOW DOWN a bit more”. I know this is not the intuitive answer for our ever faster world (especially when it comes to work/business). However, I have to keep reminding myself I am not trying to create what IS. I am trying to create what I WANT. Which means asking myself, “what do I want?” So when I don’t see a million Instagram follows or likes… I remember I actually desire an authentic community that is invested in what I am doing (Small is Beautiful). When my work flow feels messy and awkward… I remind myself that my creative outlets are crafts that I am learning on a life long path (I am growing). I keep asking… where do my desires draw me, and where is the joy and delight that can be found in what I am doing at the moment (even when I am cleaning buckets)?


Another helpful tool in finding a new rhythm this summer has been the telling of the #TBDstory (through my IG/Facebook/Twitter). It has been insightful to look back at what I have done in the past, and gain better clarity to where I am now. The past few weeks especially have been about letting go of the (sometimes harsh) stories I had been holding about myself, and embracing the beauty of what I did accomplish/learn/etc. During these challenging times, it has been helpful to look back at how my 20 year old self handled some really tough times, and appreciate all the tools and support that I now have to navigate in even better ways. I hope my 60 year old self gets to look back at this newsletter and do the same!


Process: 

Whew! It was a whirlwind of a summer for TreeBed Design, and as places opened up… they wanted ceramics! There was lots of production happening over the past few months, as well as some design/R&D/collaboration. It is a lot to juggle for one person! Beyond the actual making of plates, bowls, growlers, vases, mugs, tumblers, etc… I was working on my infrastructure. Summer saw the return of the Vallejo Art Walk (every 2nd Friday), and I even did my first pop up event! This meant that my Vallejo live/work space needed to be ready for people to visit (which was my original idea for the space). I’ve been having fun organizing and sprucing things up to invite people in for the Artwalk, and dream into what comes next for the space (keep reading for news about Studio Visits)!


TreeBed Design has always been about creating bridges between worlds, and one of those bridges is between old and new technologies. I invested in a 3D printer this summer so that I could learn about this new avenue of creation… as well as add adaptability and independence to some of my current work flow. I am still in the learning stages of this new tool, but soon I hope to add a whole new level of creative capabilities to what TBD offers (custom branding, making my own stamps/tools/etc, and more)! 


I also tackled a new version of an old skill (drawing/painting) this summer… a giant mural! The folks at Mare Island Brewing Co. asked if I could help with their new event space, by adding the original building plans of a 1934 whaleboat to a 20’ stretch of wall! Murals have long been something I was curious about doing more of, and here was my chance to dive in. I had some nervous days planning, and working through how to execute such a job (I really had no idea how it would work until I started in). However, I got in a groove once I made the first mark on the wall, and ended up being quite happy with the results! Check out this video of the process, and if you have a mural idea for your space… get in touch!


 

Product: 

At some point this summer I realized that most everything I have made up to this point has really been R&D. I suppose this is always true to some degree, but in the early stages of learning a new craft (of which production ceramics still feels like) everything made adds new understanding. Now that I am working on TreeBed Design full time, and building the business side of being an artist… it is time to refine and settle into a bit more structure (not always my favorite ;) 


In the coming months I will begin to roll out a more streamlined version of products on the website and introduce new custom pieces. It is my hope to have a mix of affordable ceramics that are easily replicated, and on hand… as well as fold in other unique offerings that are made to order in a wider spectrum. This will allow some customization of color, or surface treatments. The long term goal is to have a “community” of offerings that all feel connected, but also allow for creative collaboration! 


There will be an extra newsletter edition coming in between the Fall and Winter, to highlight holiday gift giving possibilities. So look for that in Oct/Nov. 


In the meantime… I am opening up my Vallejo space to Studio Visits, and I would like you to help me test the systems for that! I just set up the capability on my website to make the appointments, but it is not fully on display yet. However, this link will get you there, and you can help me with the soft opening of my studio/showroom! My goal is to create a comfortable space to visit, check out what I am working on (and how I do it), browse what is in stock (my work is meant for you to pick up with your hands), maybe have a coffee/tea to sip on, and get access to special pieces that don’t make it on the website! Come visit me soon, and keep an eye out for special offerings. 

TreeBed Design Studio

 

As I mentioned above, much of my work up to this point has felt like R&D. I have learned so much in the last few years about the pieces that I have been making, and so grateful that I have been able to test those pieces out in some of the best restaurants, wineries and breweries in the world (how lucky am I)! It is time to clear out what I have on hand to make room for what is coming down the line, and I want you to help! Use the discount code: (sign up for the newsletter for this part ;) on the website to receive 30% off ANYTHING in stock on the website!!! This code will work until October 22. If you know someone who might like my work… please share this newsletter and access to the code (help me grow the small and beautiful community I hope for :)


Thank you again for being on this journey with me. There are so many amazing things happening, and more to share as they unfold: new collaborations, new products, new recordings, hopefully a new studio space (does anyone have a lead on a vallejo/napa warehouse space?), and most importantly… new ways of caring for myself, and my community as TreeBed Design moves forward! Hope to see you soon, and please take care.

-Micah



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!

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