Usually I avoid talking about current events here, but the arrival of COVID-19 isn't just any event. It is THE event. Practically the only topic of discussion right now. So I feel I have to give an update about how it is affecting my business.
Governor Mike DeWine issued a "stay at home" order for the entire state of Ohio which went into effect at 11:59 last night. It requires all nonessential businesses to close for at least 2 weeks. Though ceramic art falls squarely in the nonessential category, Emu Tile is exempt because it is a home based business with only one employee. My work is incredibly solitary anyway, but for the last week and a half I have been operating without coming into close physical proximity to ANY person outside of my household. Instead of taking packages to the post office, I have been scheduling carrier pick-ups. I leave the boxes of tiles on my front steps, and a few hours later my wonderful mailman picks them up. (Really feeling grateful to all delivery people these days!) Here are some of the tiles he will be picking up today:
The only other point of contact in my job is when I acquire materials like clay and glaze, and that is on hold for now. My main supplier, Ohio Ceramic Supply, was deemed nonessential and will be closed for at least 2 weeks, beginning today. The other ceramic stores I occasionally order from online are also mostly closed. I do have a good supply of clay (and most colors of glaze) so I am able to keep operating for now. If the shutdown continues for an extended period, I may be forced to cease production when I run out of clay. In order to prevent that from happening, my husband and I decided to temporarily remove plain field tiles (like the ones pictured above) from the online store. Large field tile orders use up clay and glaze WAY faster than feature tile orders. I am currently working on a large field tile order that came in a couple of weeks ago, but I will not be taking on any new field tile orders until this crisis has passed. With a little luck, this *should* enable me to continue making and shipping feature tiles though out this difficult period.
No new field tile orders for now!
So there you have it. The world has turned upside but I am still here making tiles. If anything changes, I will post an update here. I feel very lucky and privileged that I am able to continue working when so many cannot, and I am so grateful that orders keep coming in. I also feel incredibly grateful to everyone whose job puts them on the front lines of this pandemic: delivery people, grocery store employees, and OF COURSE healthcare workers of all kinds. Thank you all so much! Please stay safe!