When your side hustle has a side hustle
Why I hand-made a limited edition mug inspired by my newsletter.
First, I wrote about the phenomenon of the “Trad Wife” for my (paying) job. Then, I wrote about the “Rad Wife” for my (non-paying) newsletter. Now, I'm selling Trad Wife mugs for my new ceramist hustle—and here, writing about potterycore. —Kate
Few articles have spoken to me more than a 2017 Strategist blog titled “What to Buy to Look Like: A Brooklyn Ceramist.” At that time, I fit pottery around my full time job, but would spend weekends in the studio with people who looked and talked exactly like the picture the Strategist painted.
“Do you know the gender of your baby yet?” I remember overhearing one studio member asking another as I struggled to center my clay.
“We know the sex,” the floppy-haired Park Slope dad responded. “We don’t know the gender yet.” They then split a homemade weed brownie and went on with their creating, unaware there was probably a scrapped Portlandia sketch in Fred Armisen’s trash that began with that exact same exchange. (Which, by the way, I totally agree with, even if the whole thing was a little on the nose.)
A few years later I was at VidCon, where a representative from a new app called TikTok was convincing me it wasn’t all just Musical.ly videos and teens dancing. After learning a little bit about what I was into, she explained that there were tons of people on the app making videos about pottery.
Potterycore is now a full-fledged internet genre. Small businesses document their day-to-day on Instagram, ceramicists take requests for creations on TikTok, and during lockdown tutorials on how to make your own pottery at home popped up all over YouTube. Last August, I became a full-time member of a studio near my apartment.
When nofilter, the publication Nick and I ran before Embedded, was unexpectedly shut down earlier this spring, I went straight to said studio. I’ve been there almost every day since, and am now making inventory for my first ever shop drop.
But first, I wanted to make something for Embedded. And you can now find it in my shop: eight limited-edition mugs that say Trad Wife—a nod to one of nofilter’s more popular articles and a follow-up I wrote for this newsletter. But really, the mug is for anyone who has spent this godforsaken year wishing they could flee to the woods and never think about viral loads or the electoral college ever again. Shipping is free, and each order comes with an Embedded sticker. Ten dollars from each purchase will also go to Bed-Stuy Strong, a mutual aid network that supports the Brooklyn neighborhood where I live and make my pottery.
If you buy a mug, I’d love for you to tag us on Instagram when you use it, so we can see our community in action. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, so I’d recommend placing your order ASAP!