Connie is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at East Fork, a ceramics and lifestyle company that she runs alongside her husband Alex; she has two young daughters, Vita and Lucia.
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01 Object (new): a new object that held significance
Vita made me a painted macaroni necklace at daycare. She was so proud to give it to me. My heart jumped into my throat when she gave it to me — one second your kid’s a baby, the next she’s making you wearable art. I wanna wear it every day, but Lui eats it when I do.
02 Object (old): an old object that took on new / different kind of meaning
When Alex and I first got together, we lived in the little, decrepit farmhouse on the property where East Fork pots are made — out on 30 acres in a dark corner in the mountains. East Fork will be moving production to downtown Asheville later this year after having made pots out there for almost a decade. Last week, we sold the property: the workshops, the kiln shed, the house ... everything. Everyone was asking me if I was sad to say goodbye to it, but I wasn’t.
Though the whole thing seemed pretty dreamy and romantic from the outside, I was really sad when we lived out there. Anyway, Alex was always trying to point out how good I had it and though the house was falling apart and there were rats and raccoons living in the attic, he built me a fancy closet in our bedroom, painted the walls gold, and, while I was at work one night, wrote my initials on the wall in at least 150 rhinestones that he applied with tweezers. He had a few left over, so he rhinestoned this turtle shell, too (see image on right). Last week, I unpacked it from a box that had been stuck in the back of a closet for years. I look at it and see a door almost completely closed. When it finally hits me that we’ll never again have lunch under the apple trees in that funny little holler at the end of a dirt road, I think the tears are gonna fall like rain.
03 Utility: describe an occasion when you felt useful.
A woman on our mailing list responded to a newsletter blast to say that while she hasn’t made a purchase yet, every week she prints out the poems I include at the end of our East Fork newsletter and keeps them in a notebook to look at when she’s feeling empty. She said she had never thought to read poetry until she started reading our newsletter and wanted to thank me for introducing her to something that has unexpectedly enriched her life. She’s collected 16 of them, and scans and mails them to friends. That felt really good.
04 Story: What’s the best story you heard?
Vita told me a story — or, as she put it — an “interesting thing,” about a fish whose mama told him he had to take a bath, but he got sad because when he tried to get in the bath, he couldn’t tell if he was in the bath or still in the ocean, because it felt the same.
05 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
We went down to Charleston with our little boat. Alex fished, I held the babies, we watched dolphins, listened to the birds, built sandcastles, collected tiny dead crabs (a whole pile!), jumped in the water, ate outside. We tooled around the bay at sunset, going fast. Hair whipping, the little baby asleep in my arms, the big one holding my leg with one hand and a dead crab in the other. “It’s my new little friend, mama. I have to help him find his family.”
06 Minor secrets: Describe something you did in secret
I’ve been dealing with some pretty next-level insomnia and anxiety since January; I get in bed and emails I have to respond to just start flashing across my eyelids. I have big goals of starting to exercise again/go to sleep earlier/not work after 10pm/not bring my phone into bed/eat better/etc., but for now I’ve been relying on Ambien. This month, if both of my kids manage to be fully asleep at the same time, I’ve been getting into a scalding hot bath around 2:30am. A few times, I DMed with this trapper (like, trap-rapper, not beaver trapper) from Florida named Bukkwheat Bill. We follow each other on Instagram; I’m not sure why. We talk about kinda nothing ... comfort foods we like, making pottery shot glasses with his logo, kids.
07 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe; that you are part of a greater whole.
Bouts of insomnia can make me feel really alone and hopeless. A woman who works for East Fork told me about this podcast called “Sleep with Me” that helps you fall asleep. The guy has this droney voice, and he just kinda rambles. He has a line that he kept repeating, something like “I’m talking to you from across the deep, dark night.” On the couch, kids and husband snoring, 2am, in an AirBNB on Folley Beach, I picture millions of people across the planet feeling just like I feel — anxious, alone, exhausted, overwhelmed — all of us together in the deep, dark night. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
08 Culture: A list of front-burner interests from the last month: a book, a snack, a song, a painting, or maybe just something new to you.
- Because I’m in the business of selling things, I’ve been doing a lot of telling people to buy stuff for your mom for Mother’s Day, but it’s brought up a lot I find really problematic about the holiday. Black Mama Bailout is a nation wide action to bail out black mama’s being held in custody because they can’t afford to post bail.
- This ring from By Nye is new to our shop. I keep accidentally wearing it home.
- Danez Smith is one of my favorite poets right now. Their work is so relevant and important.
- I get decision fatigue when I listen to music, so I end up playing the same song on repeat for a month. This month it was “Song for You” by Rhye and “Die Young” from Sylvan Esso.
09 Absence: What was missing last month?
Time with my kids, time without my phone in my hand, green vegetables, a night alone with my husband, quality sleep, exercise, reading.