April 2022 Update
Throughout last month, spring always seemed to be just around the corner, but never here. Buds and shoots appeared in the garden but it took until this past weekend for our first daffodils to bloom. It made me realize that a part of me has been waiting to begin again.
It's Friday night and with the weekend ahead of me, I'm glad to take some time to share my update for this month.
For the past few Fridays in a row, I've spent some amount of free time in the garage going through our belongings as I make room for my kiln. Reorganizing has also allowed me to pick out some things to pass along in my local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. It's really nice to be able to clear space while also knowing that items are going to someone who could use them rather than the trash.
I'm still working on starting seeds for the garden, including tending to a few strawberry seedlings that I'm hoping will eventually live in hanging planters on the patio. Our patio furniture is out again, though there has been mostly rain in recent weeks as well as a few below-freezing days. That's behind us, I hope, and Kev and I are planning to have our morning coffee out there tomorrow with Jazzy and the dogs.
My day job and the childcare schedule that supports it have been the primary focus lately and a slow first quarter of shop sales has allowed me to shift my attention and energy in the interim. I don't plan to keep pottery on the back burner though, and to that end I've really picked up the pace of sculpting at home in the evenings. What has helped is re-invading my kitchen counter with clay so that I can easily stop to add a coil here and there. Although I love the workspace I'm slowly making my own in the basement, there's something about crossing a threshold, going from upstairs to downstairs, that takes a touch more conviction that I can muster these days. I've created clutter upstairs, but it's working for now.
Pottery & Shop Updates
Since we're on the topic, let's move on to shop news. Sales are down year over year. While it is a reminder of just how small this small business is, I'm not discouraged at this point. I've been slow to restock my shop and add new designs since before the holiday season. In fact I didn't even recover from the 2021 holiday season until quite recently - it'd really stretched me thin - and so I think there's a part of me that expected and even welcomed this quiet time.
I'm not yet sure what the rest of this year will look like for my shop, since the list of things to make in the foreseeable future virtually all go toward fulfilling wholesale orders. However, I have a trickle of items in progress at the studio that will be listed in the coming weeks. Even though at-home sculpting slowed down, I've continued to keep up my once-a-week trips to the studio. Perhaps this month, as I try to continue to increase the pace of my at-home work, I'll be able to fit in some items for the shop too.
There is a Chinese tradition, called Ching Ming, or the Tomb Sweeping holiday, that takes place in early spring and is meant to honor loved ones who have passed. Family gathers at graves to clear off old leaves and spruce up the gravesite before burning incense and fake paper money to send well wishes and riches to the deceased. Often, a meal is presented and enjoyed as well to symbolically dine together. It’s a lovely event that brings extended family together and keeps close thoughts of departed ones. Ching Ming for this year has technically passed, but this tomorrow we'll be joining Kev's side of the family at the cemetery in Brooklyn where his great-grandparents and other family are buried for this annual tradition.
One of my dogs, my littlest, Fitzgerald was recently diagnosed with a heart condition. A murmur revealed issues with a heart valve that cannot be corrected, only slowed with twice daily medication. Our vet says that he may be able to live many years with this condition, but that congestive heart failure is a real risk, perhaps even an eventuality. I took the news hard, and am still processing, but I gain some comfort from having at least identified the issue and gotten him on the medication he needs. Fitzgerald is my tiny protector, a mama’s boy who has cuddled me to sleep since the day he came home with us. He has an outsize place in my heart and it makes me so sad that he has any condition that threatens him at all. I’m saddened and concerned but also relieved that we get to be the ones to take care of him. He's curled up on my lap now and all is well in this moment.
On a brighter note, iced coffee season has begun in my household. Trader Joe's sells a very well priced cold brew concentrate, but in a pinch I'll also get one from Chameleon Cold Brew. I like to mix mine with agave syrup (first diluted with a splash of hot water) and oat milk, and I drink it out of an insulated cup.
Jazzy's 15 month checkup was this morning and he weighed in at 25.5 lbs., officially surpassing the bags of dog food that I could barely pick up, let alone lift over my head previously. This little boy of mine has made me the strongest I've ever been!
Some pictures from March 2022.