Earlier this month we experienced a record-breaking heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest that is now linked to hundreds of deaths and the loss of over a billion sea creatures. This may not be the best opener for a furniture design-related newsletter, but experiencing that heat makes it hard to think of anything else.
Our family was safe in a house with a cool basement surrounded by the Salish Sea. We ate no-cook dinners. We jumped in the ocean before bed and slept with wet hair. We made it an adventure for our kids. In the same way we tried to make Zoom school an adventure. In the same way we made staying inside due to wildfire smoke last summer an adventure.
As a business, we have adapted to a tremendous amount over the past 16 months. We are still navigating post-pandemic realities that have slowed our lead times and have made sourcing materials and working with artists and other vendors more challenging.
While drafting this newsletter, our governor, Jay Inslee, proclaimed a state of emergency for the entire State of Washington due to high temperatures, historic drought and dangerous fire conditions that have already led to the development of fires all across the region.
In this moment, we are thinking about what we need to do to adapt to the climate crisis. What are the levels of heat and wildfire smoke that are still considered safe for our employees to work? How many days can we close every summer for heat and/or smoke and still keep up with our lead times and pricing structure? What kind of air filtration or other supplies can we provide to protect our employees? How are our material suppliers and vendors going to be affected?
To ground ourselves when uncertainties become overwhelming, we find ourselves going into the woods. We really enjoyed this guided forest walk from Kimberly Ruffin if you need some inspiration. If the woods aren't accessible, any pocket of nature will work - even a potted plant. Spending time in right relationship with the natural world is one of the few things that still makes sense to us. Starting there and just being is our practice right now.
What are you doing to prepare as well as ground yourselves as designers, parents and citizens? How is it changing the way you work and the way you envision the future? We’d really love to know!
Photography: Charlie Schuck, Grain, Charlie Schuck, Grain and Charlie Schuck.