This is the time of year I'd normally be sending out postcards. Sending emails. Updating my website, glazing and firing pottery, getting ready for the opening of Saturday Market.
Yeah, about that...
I got my spring postcards for Saturday Market delivered Friday morning. Kind of a mix-up--thought I'd ordered them to print locally at Office Depot, so I could just pick them up when finished; apparently, their website had other plans. They're pretty things, featuring a bear (of course) and cherry blossoms. I've bought the stamps, have the mailing labels ready to print.
In the time between order and delivery, the governor declared a health emergency. COVID, of course. Oregon currently has 19 cases confirmed, though none yet in Lane County. For the next four weeks, gatherings over 250 people are cancelled (including the Eugene Home Show, already set up for this weekend).
Saturday Market may or may not be included in the ban--the definition states that "gatherings" are events where it's impossible to maintain a three-foot distance from other participants. As we're an outdoor event spread over two quarter blocks, we may not be included. The director sent an email yesterday, saying they'll try to give us a week's notice if they decide not to open.
Ceramic Showcase is still six weeks away, May 1-3. They're holding off on their publicity until April 8, when the four week period ends. If they have to cancel, they'll get the hall rental back (and will refund our booth fees), but will still have expenses like poster and postcard printing to pay. (And I'll have a non-refundable motel bill.)
Before this all snowballed, I got an email from the Edmonds Arts Festival, saying I'd been wait-listed for their Father's Day weekend show. As Edmonds is Seattle-adjacent, I guess I'm not too disappointed not to get in. Always assuming the show happens.
That's what's stressing me most right now, not know what to do. My current plans were to do a firing in two weeks, to prepare for Market, another in a month for Showcase. I know what I should do--continue making and glazing and firing. I've got special orders to fill (including the second hundred St. Vincent de Paul bowls), and if I can't sell things now, at least I'll have a head-start on inventory for later.
But anxiety and depression keep whispering, Why bother? The world is ending. Go stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and read more dystopian science fiction.
Every now and then, I revisit an old pattern, see if I can freshen it up a little. Usually, it's after a long hiatus, like the sea otter, or refreshing an existing one, like the hummingbird. In those cases, the old version goes away entirely, replaced by the new.
That's not what happened with the Elephant. The original version of my baby elephant, in cobalt blue, goes back almost to the beginnings of Off Center Ceramics. I'd found a newspaper photo of a baby elephant being fostered by keepers at the San Diego Zoo, following one around holding to a bandana "tail" tied to the keeper's belt loop. I painted them on soup and toddler bowls, painted mugs, stew mugs, and a host of other forms. I mislaid the original photo, but kept painting elephants.
I was also drawing them from life. The Portland Zoo has a well-established elephant breeding program, and I've taken my sketchbook up there periodically to draw their newborn calves, mothers, aunties.
But it wasn't until I saw a photo set of baby animals coming over my dash on the internet that I was inspired to update my elephants. A baby African elephant, ears awave, practically dancing along, made me take out my brush and try to capture it. At first, only on big pieces, platters and serving bowls, cookie jars. She's slowly made her way down the inventory: pastas, bakers, pie plates and casseroles. Dinner and dessert plates. Even creamers and tall mugs.
I still haven't retired the original, blue elephant, though. Think I'll keep both options around, at least for a while yet.
After all, elephants never forget.