A handmade gift is always a good idea

A handmade gift is always a good idea

Jan 16, 2023MaryMar Keenan

MM Memo: A Brief Commentary by MaryMar

Currently I am reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s an incredibly beautiful book and her writing is thoughtful, elegant and insightful. It’s also a great book for me as I can put it down and pick it back up anytime. Reading is a guilty pleasure of mine as I rarely find the time to read without feeling like I should be doing something else. I’m one of those overly motivated and productive people with several home and work projects going on at all times so finishing a book is a rarity. Admittedly, there are about 10 half read books on my bedside table…they will be there for a while. 

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer draws meaningful relationships between the natural world and the world we are living while offering up the profound idea that nature is our greatest teacher. Towards the beginning of the book she addresses the idea of gift giving and how a natural gift or one of the earth can be received with much more meaning than one that is purely a commodity. She compares the notion of receiving a gift of wild strawberries hand picked and made into a delicious dessert to that of a pair of socks. The socks that are simply bought from a store don’t have the same feeling of connection or bond between the giver and the receiver and certainly not the same kind of bond that would be created by hand picked wild strawberries. However, if the socks were hand knitted then they hold a different meaning and connection. They were made with intention and offer an intense connection between the maker, the giver and the receiver. 

Handmade pottery offers that same connection. Whether making it yourself or purchasing handmade pottery, it holds the connection of the hands that make it, to the hands that purchase it and then to the hands that use it. These connections create a bond that may be peripheral but is unmistakably present. To me, it goes without saying that a handmade gift is always a much better idea. In her book Kimmerer takes a moment to quote the scholar Lewis Hyde, “It is the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange that a gift establishes a feeling-bond between two people.” In referring to handmade socks she writes, “A gift creates ongoing relationship.” I believe that a handmade gift does just that, especially pottery. We use pottery in our everyday life. It holds space in our everyday rituals of eating and drinking to nourish our bodies and–sometimes without notice–our souls. It maintains its importance through its functionality and when we use a piece that has been given to us by someone, we think of them. The thought might be fleeting, but it is most certainly there, creating that beautiful connection. Kimmerer also writes “The more something is shared, the greater its value becomes.” I couldn’t agree more. 

I do hope that you all had a beautiful holiday season and found yourself giving and receiving gifts that create these kinds of connections for they are invaluable. Stay tuned for what we have in store for Valentines Day and Mother’s Day…two fantastic opportunities to connect to those we love and adore. 


Studio News:

It is with immense gratitude that we bid farewell to our fearless Shipping Lead and Customer Service extraordinaire, Chava Benioff-White.

Chava has been on the MMclay team for almost 4 years and has been through so much with us. She started when we were in the small studio on Linden, made it through the pandemic with us, moved shipping into my home garage and then to the temporary space in the mission while we re-built from the studio fire and has almost single handedly made our shipping department into what it is today. We are tremendously grateful to Chava and will miss her around here as she takes this time to devote to her graduate degree. We will miss you Chava!

It is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce our new shipping and retail Manager, Claire Randazzo.  A long time friend of mine and the one that kept our Marin Pop Up alive during the holidays, Claire has taken on the important role of Shipping Lead and Retail and Customer Service Manager. We are super excited to have Claire join the team! 

With the New Year comes New People and New Ideas! Locals, feel free to come on by and say hello when you have a chance!

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Comments (1)

  • Good luck to Chava,
    And a great beginning with Claire !
    I just recently got back from Greece .
    Looking forward to seeing you back !


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