Clay Buddies: Britta Baker
Mar 31, 2020 • Alex Minkin
Britta Baker is on East Fork’s fulfillment team. You can thank her personally for packing up your pottery and sending it to your door with so much love and care. Read below about distant memories of Syria, her tiny home project, and her mead making hobby.
Where are you from?
I grew up mostly in Minnesota, though I was born in Germany and lived in Syria from around 1-4 years old.
What were you doing in Germany and Syria? Do you have any faint memories of that?
My dad was teaching math and science at international schools. (My parents were also low-key missionaries, which I now feel kind of weird about, haha.) I don't remember Germany at all, but I was four years old when we left Syria so I do have some lovely memories from there.
I remember having a water fight on our back patio, and the way the water sparkled in the sun.
I remember getting separated (temporarily) from my family in the Souk, a chaotic open air marketplace full of people and the smell of spices. I remember scrambling around on ancient ruins. The history there is very rich and old, and nothing was cordoned off, at least back in the 1980s. It is devastating to think about that incredible country being so ripped apart, and our friends and neighbors possibly now being in refugee camps or worse.
How did you come to work at East Fork and what were you doing before?
I followed Cierra to East Fork! (Cierra Bateman is our production manager) We had both been working at a honeybee supply and gift store in Weaverville before she left to work at East Fork (back when it was on the farm). When it became time for me to move on from the bee store, I basically pestered Cierra and Richard, who my partner worked with previously, until I got an interview! I was attracted to the company because of its ethics, its vibrant sense of community, and its pretty pots.
Does shipping pots to people ever get hectic?
Haha, yes. It's very cyclical, so sometimes things are slow and looking around for tasks and ways to help our coworkers. Other times we're absolutely slammed for days or weeks, working top speed to meet the shipping window.
What are some of your interests/hobbies?
My interests and hobbies include making art (mostly painting), brewing mead, natural/earthen building, and making costumes. Lately, most of my time has been taken up by building a tiny house on wheels in my driveway. I'm almost finished with the outside, and this time off is helping speed things up!
Your T-Rex costume for Halloween was off the chain. And that’s really cool about your tiny house! What are your plans with it? Can you give us some features/tech specs?
Thanks! I had a lot of fun with that costume. I made it from an army sleeping pad!
Plans for the tiny house are still up in the air. My partner and I would like to buy land, and the tiny house could be our starter home. Or if we manage to buy a standard sized house, we could rent the tiny (or the big house!) to help with the mortgage. My hope is that it'll give us options.
The tiny house is 18 feet long by 8 feet wide on a double axle trailer. It'll have a sleeping loft, a lounge area, a small kitchen and bathroom, and the tiniest wood stove you can imagine.
I've done probably 90%+ of the work myself so far, plus a couple of work parties and my partner helping whenever he has time.
Is making mead something you learned at the bee store? Can you give us a quick walkthrough of how you do that?
I'd actually been brewing mead for years before the bee store, but having ready access to honey certainly was nice! A brew buddy and I used to make gallons and gallons of mead and beer when I lived in Montana. And sure! Mead is fairly simple to make, but requires some patience while you let it age. You dissolve honey into warm water, add any spices or fruit to flavor, pitch your yeast, pop in an air lock, and let the yeast make delicious alcohol!
What are your five favorite things?
So, I don't know if these are my all time favorite things in the world, but they are five of my favorite things:
Books (preferably fiction)
The first of each flower in the spring (I make a pilgrimage every year to find Lady Slippers)
Butter (especially when combined with garlic)
Getting totally immersed in the process of making something, and then being pleasantly surprised by it when I emerge.