For this month's Clay Buddies, our meet-the-family journal series of employee profiles, meet Thomas: East Fork bookkeeper, number-cruncher, smiler, and all-around calming presence. Below, he shares five of his most precious possessions to let us peek into his inner world.
What do you do for East Fork?
I spend a lot of time in Quickbooks and a whole lot more time in spreadsheets. A typical day for me may include paying bills, categorizing expenses, recording/tracking sales, filing papers, etc. Classic bookkeeping stuff. I also process payroll, review budgets, pay taxes, create reports and so on. An interesting part each month is coming up with the most recent amount it costs us to make each piece of pottery - from Toddler Cups to Mixing Bowls. To sum it up, I do the accounting/bookkeeping at East Fork.
Thomas's Five Things
Let's talk about the objects you picked.
To start, the small card is my membership to the Planetary Society. I've always had an interest in astronomy and this is smaller than my telescope so it worked well.
What’s the Planetary Society?
The Planetary Society is a non-profit originally co-founded by Carl Sagan. There is a lot of advocacy for government funding, community outreach/education, public stargazing events and such. They host a great podcast, too, called Planetary Radio. It covers a lot of up-to-date space happenings that you may not discover without knowing to seek them out.
Do you use your telescope often?
Not as often as I'd like. It feels like such a production to set up, though it really isn't, but when I do I have never regretted doing so. Silly thing to make excuses for not doing because it's quite amazing to see.
What have you been finding or looking for lately? Is this an appropriate question for a telescope-user?
Sounds like an appropriate question to me. This telescope-user likes to look at anything. It sounds cliché, but honestly I just pan around, pause and focus in on what's there and have always been amazed. My telescope is not the best to see nebulae or anything like that, but I have gotten really great views of Jupiter and its moons, which I always look forward to seeing.
Where is your favorite place to go to look at stars?
My front yard! Where I live it's fortunately rural and high in elevation enough to get really dark at night. If it's around the time of a new moon you can see so many stars, even without a telescope. Gives me even less of an excuse to not do this more often!
How about the book?
The book, as you can see, is Salem's Lot by Stephen King, I really enjoy horror novels and this has to be my all time favorite.
What is it that you like about horror novels?
I originally got into Stephen King specifically and read a good number of his books before any other horror novel, then branched out from there and found that I like reading different takes on classic horror concepts. For example, Salem's Lot is a vampire novel that takes cues from all other vampire stories and even references Dracula but remains completely unique.
Do you like horror films too?
I do! A few favorites are Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead, Let the Right One In and Thirteen Ghosts.
What's in the glass jar?
The jar of goo is my sourdough starter. Its been through neglect and has been knocked off the counter by my dog but still keeps living so I can make fresh bread.
When did you start getting into making sourdough? How often do you bake bread?
I got that starter about 7 months ago and my first attempt pretty much yielded a frisbee. Now, I've kept to a pretty consistent weekly routine since that first loaf: I feed the starter throughout the week, mix the levain Friday night, mix dough Saturday, and bake Sunday. It has been very meditative.
Tell me about the pour over situation there.
The coffee pour over and carafe has been with me for going on eight years and though I do love coffee, I really love the ritual of using this each morning.
Okay, now the star of the show - I don't even know what to call that, but I love it a lot. The jug?
The memory jug is something that has fascinated me longer than I can remember. My great-grandmother made it in Salem, Indiana and when I was little, it was at my grandma's house in Georgia. I recall always gravitating towards it and endlessly looking at the random objects stuck to it with mortar. A few years ago, after my grandma passed away, it ended up at my parents' house; when they recently moved, I took the chance to make it mine.
Did your great-grandmother make other things like this? Where do you keep it in your house?
I'm not sure if that particular great-grandmother made much more like this. Other than some quilts, it is really the only thing I have made by a family member. It lives in my living room with books and a bunch of woodfired pottery. It kind of gets overlooked most of the time but if I had to flee my house with only a handful of things in tow, this would always be included.