TreeBed Design

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!

It has been a while since I have posted any news (or done much of anything with my online presence), but things are changing... I have been extremely busy the past few years finding my footing after the wild fires of 2017. At the beginning of March I finally landed in a place that felt like it might be the stability I was seeking, and it also felt like a homecoming of sorts back in Vallejo! And then everything changed...

Our new reality with the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown things right back into uncertainty for me and most everyone else in the world. However, I am grateful to have a stable place to be, and a space that I can continue to create. I am taking this slowed down time... to rest, resource, and re-evaluate what TreeBed Design means in this new time

In the meantime... I will be cleaning out some old stuff from the website, and beginning to add some new things. There is no great announcement or unveiling to be done, but simply me calling in what is important. So, I share with you a song I wrote some time ago, and recorded for my Kitchen Sink Concert series. May the work I've done over the past few years (and beyond) to find a new way of being... allow what I am doing in this next chapter to be of service to the health and happiness that is possible in this new world.

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 have been wanting to get better at regular blog posts... It looks like today is as good as any to begin!

Maybe you've seen a tumbler or two pop up in my Instagram feed. What is going on? Well, I decided that I needed to do something to get myself posting work consistently, and since the tumblers are what got the clay ball rolling again... it felt like a good fit!

Each Tuesday you will find a unique tumbler (or set) posted in the shop... when it is gone... it is gone! I really like it when people pick up my tumblers and find the one that seems to fit them. There is something tangible about the connection of my hands to theirs. The goal of TBD Tuesday Tumblers is to try and translate that to an online experience (not an easy task). I think that is one of the things that has limited my online productivity... It is hard to get all the senses involved, and to feel that connection. My hope is that these transactions happen off of some spark that occurs when you see a certain tumbler. For that reason I am willing to post experiments, and accidents... things that might not appeal to everyone, but may speak to someone. So far the response has been amazing, and so much fun... Thank you!

Follow along every Tuesday on Facebook, or Instagram... or check in on the site to see if a tumbler sparks YOUR interest!