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Clarey Clayworks

Written by Clare McCallan

Like most businesses, Anne Clarey’s began by recognizing a need she had in her own life, and then realizing that she wasn’t alone in that need. In 2011, Anne was invited to a baptism and wanted to get a meaningful gift for the child, but she couldn’t find anything handmade or long-lasting. Where others might have seen cause for frustration, Anne saw an opportunity for creation and she put her pottery skills to work in order to create something beautiful and enduring for the baptism.


After the success of her first clay gift, Anne realized that she had more than a talent or a hobby - she had a business idea. So she waited until her kids were old enough to go to school and then she started selling handmade baptismal bowls on Etsy.


“You can do anything”, she told me. “And most women want to do everything. And you can. But you don’t have to do it all at once.” 


Anne might not have realized it, but this was the exact advice I needed to hear right now. Honestly, I think it’s advice that most people, especially young women, could use right now. Young women have more autonomy and opportunity than ever, and I am so grateful for that gift. But that gift also often comes with the feeling that just because you can have it all, you should have it all...and all at once. 

 


 

Anne’s advice, as an artist, business owner, wife, and mother gave me the reminder I needed: that it’s ok to take life in seasons. 


She expanded on how she grew her artistry and business, telling me: “I was smart about it. I reinvested any profits I made back into the business, until I outgrew my basement workshop.

Now I have a staff, usually three or four part time people during the year and then three full time people during high sacrament season”. And now here she is, creating the hand rolled ceramic diffuser for this quarter’s Little Catholic Box.


I jotted all of this down, humbled and impressed by just how bountiful her season of growth had been and continues to be. 


On the topic of seasons, I asked her if there’s one scent that draws her back to a special time or place in her life. She told me that she had a special love for incense and musty old churches, because they brought her back to visits with her grandmother in queens. Anne lives in Indiana now, where most of the churches are very modern. So whenever she travels, she makes a point to stop in at older churches and breathe in all their dust and must and the history that comes with it. Just as she recognized the need for something lasting all those years ago, when she made her first baptismal gift, she recognizes the value of immersing herself and her senses in the eternal and - despite life’s many seasons - timeless.

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