Sunday Reflections: Sabbatical Part I

Sunday Reflections: Sabbatical Part I

October 13, 2019

On Sundays I reflect.

I didn’t drink alcohol this week.

This last week was Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday where we atone for our sins. I went home last week to spend Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) with my family. Yom Kippur was hard for me to be present for as I prepared for my trip. For me the most important part of this time of year is addressing what I’ve done that was wrong and how I can make up for it. I’m not perfect but I’m trying to be conscious of how my actions and behaviors affect others. This has been a time of deep reflection for me.

The Trip

I find myself in Humboldt today, thinking back on my last trip here. I definitely drank alcohol that week.

I flew to San Francisco a few days ago, amidst the first snow storm of the season in Colorado. My flight was delayed getting to LAX where I missed my layover by three minutes, despite sprinting across the terminal. Fortunately I was put on a flight just an hour later. When I got to San Francisco, I grabbed my rental car and headed straight for Garberville. One of my best friends Joey Burger left the door open for my post midnight arrival and the big brown leather couch that had welcomed me so many times before was ready for my much needed slumber. I woke in the morning to spend a few short hours with Joey on the couch before he had to open his store Trim Scene Solutions (if you have processing or trimming equipment needs, Joey is your guy). I never get enough time with Joey but I cherish those rare occasions.

I brought him breakfast to the shop where I saw some pieces he bought from my teacher Huffy back when I worked at Volta Glass Studio. Those took me back, let me tell you.

From Garberville I made my way up the Avenue of the Giants through the Redwood Forest to Trinidad to see my old friend Jared Delong and his family. Immediately I thought back to years ago when I met Banjo who invited me up to Humboldt after learning about my philanthropy project. I remember pulling up to Jared’s studio and falling asleep on the concrete floor after a few beers and shooting the shit with his old shop mate Bluegrass Man Ari. I remember having no idea what to do, and being invited to a cookout at Ari’s. They told me Banjo would be there, who at the time was also their neighbor. We hung around Trinidad for the week waiting for that cookout and my chance to lock down plans to collaborate with Banjo, Tristan Hodges and others.

This time around Humboldt is quiet. The vibe is much different than it felt in the past. The industry is changing and I feel it here more than ever. These are the things that have filled my conversations with Jared over the weekend.

Monster Trucks & The Races

After a nap at Jared’s, he took me with his family to the Monster Truck Jam which was a first for me (and his four year old son Blue). I’ve never seen anything like the crowd at a Humboldt County Monster Jam, and the show was out of control as well. We saw a truck flip, one stood on its front wheels, and another soared 30 feet through the air. But this was just a warm up...

Yesterday we woke up before the sun for a day at the races. Jared rebuilt an old Datsun and got into an auto cross league, and I was his copilot. We got to the track to join a Tesla, some BMW M3 varieties, a roll cage with a metal can and some kind of serious engine underneath. I rode along with a few drivers, including all six of Jared’s heats. By the end I could anticipate the track and lean into his turns, feeling the intensity with every turn.

Why the Sabbatical?

Some people have been asking me what this trip is about. The honest answer is that I don’t know. Sometimes you just have to buy the ticket and take the ride.

Part of this is like a reset for myself. I’ve been going hard for years, and I haven’t had much time to stop and smell the roses. Despite my fear of the unknown, these trips always help me to experience a revitalization in my work.

A lot of this trip is about building community. From artists to collectors, I’m meeting with people all the way from Garberville, CA to Bellingham, WA. Some are old friends, and some are new artists I’m hoping to bring onboard my project. Some are collectors who have been buying from me online for years but we’ve never met in person. Some of them are just the people I bump into while I’m out exploring another corner of the world.

I’m grateful to J. Cost for holding down HQ while I make this journey. Thanks to him, orders will continue to ship and bills will be paid. I hear he’s even practicing blowing glass while I’m gone, and might have some prep for new collaborations when I get home.

Where to Next

I dropped some prep with Jared and will be heading up to Eugene next. AK and I will be spending most of the week together, and I’ve been dying to share his cup collection with you. Hell, I’ve been dying to see it myself and finally the time has come.

After Eugene I’ll head to Portland and then Seattle. Rumor has it Quave has been making some cups and I’m going to see if I can wrangle any up!

There’s a lot else on my plate for this trip, but I don’t want to spoil too many details. I’m posting to my Instagram story along the way but otherwise I’m pretty much not using my phone. What a feeling! Writing this essay is the longest I’ve spent looking at my screen since I got here.

If you’re between Humboldt and Bellingham and want to connect, please reach out and J. Cost will make sure I get the message.

I’m keeping myself open to whatever experiences this trip brings and looking forward to sharing it with you. There are a lot of cool cup makers up in this area and I’m excited to bring some fresh work to the page.

Thanks for tuning in as always,

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