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  • Writer's pictureMary

The May List

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

This new normal of isolation is beginning to settle in. All in all, our daily life (when compartmentalizing the anxiety about the state of the world) has been surprisingly and fortunately pleasant. We've established a nice routine between taking care of the pups, working remotely, cooking, working on house things, and hanging out in the evenings. In particular, dog walks do so much to set the pace for the day. I'm hoping that all of those who've taken in foster dogs during this time are finding the same anchor points in their routines, and that it's helped them cope with quarantine.

With in-between time, we make progress on house projects, I work on pottery and catch up on the New Yorker, and sometimes we squeeze in a board game. Lately we've been playing and loving Wingspan. It's a beautifully illustrated game for casual bird noticers and budding ornithologists alike. Our home is full, we feel busy and somewhat active, we're tired by the end of the day, and we're happy.

Some of the pieces I made in April, including a large vase that I just finished last night

I recently listened to a podcast on which an astronaut spoke about handling the mental side of being cooped up. Her advice was to savor the things that are unique about your current situation rather than to dwell on the things you're missing out on. Instead of wishing she could go on a long hike, for example, she would think about how, after she's back home, she'll no longer be able to see how beautiful the earth is from space. It's a lovely piece of perspective-changing advice, and I've been holding it with me since. It truly is so nice to be able to spend this much time with my little family in our new home.

In May, I'm looking forward to longer hours of daylight, more time in the garden, and my to-do list below.

Make a batch of Mona Scoops and Cactus Ring Holders

In April, I made several pieces despite moving homes, including many vases and some mugs as pictured above. Those shapes are comforting to hold while I work on them as well as when they're completed, and so I gravitated toward them throughout the weeks that NYC anticipated reaching its pandemic peak. This month, I'm going to switch to another kind of production that I find soothing, which is the repetition of form.

With that approach in mind, I'll make batches of two popular items from my shop so they're ready to be fired after the studio reopens: Mona coffee scoops and Cactus Ring Holders.

Climb Aboard the Baking Train

Quarantine bakers are cropping up on social media feeds, and for good reason. What else is there to do? The simple tasks of measuring, mixing, pouring, and waiting are what many of us need during this time. At the end of April, we were finally able to score some butter and all purpose flour. We immediately baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and I'm excited to bake more things. I have on my list: cinnamon bread, banana bread, and plain old crusty bread in the month ahead.

Play with Oven-Bake Clay

Guess my oven will be putting in some extra work this month. I recently bought a bunch of oven-bake clay in bright colors to experiment with. It's nice to be able to make something and finish it right away, as compared to my quarantine greenware gang that sits in a state of waiting. I’ve made little dishes with inlaid patterns to start, and plan to try out some polymer clay terrazzo pieces next.

Plant fruit trees

Lilacs from our garden

It should start to warm up consistently around here this month. Our little garden is still a bit of a mess, and there are carcasses of houseplants we'd moved over long ago, stored outdoors, and lost to cold or scorch that we need to dispose of, but it blooms with flowers already, and we're discovering more as the season goes on.

Once we put in more yard work, I can plant the apple tree and a fig tree that will be arriving next week. I’ve long dreamed of having a garden with fruit trees and even though these babies will take a few years to bear fruit (fingers crossed they take to the soil and survive that long), that dream is closer to a reality this month. I'll be using this reference as a guide.

Revisit my business goals for 2020

I think it's time to reassess and revise my goals for Mammoth & Minnow in 2020. Production won't be back on for who knows how many more weeks/months, and I need to adjust my plans and targets accordingly. For example, even if I ramp up making holiday ornaments like I'd wanted to, I can't be sure at this point that they'll be finished in time. Additionally, I have only so much storage space for greenware that's quite delicate.

It's a tough exercise to go through, but it'll be necessary in helping me build a more sustainable business. Who knows, maybe it'll force me to expand my notions of what my shop could offer.

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