TreeBed Design

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

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