NEW YORK (Reuters) – For 64-year-old New Yorker Victoria Rosenblatt, giving up her calming pottery hobby during the stresses of the coronavirus lockdown was not something she wanted to contemplate.
But her local pottery studio had been forced to close. So she purchased from the studio a mini pottery wheel on which she can make tiny pots and jugs at home.
Mouse Ceramic Studio, in Brooklyn, is among thousands of small businesses that have had to try to find ways to reinvent themselves during the coronavirus lockdown that is now heading into its third month in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
The previously thriving business revolved around in-person classes and parties and has seen its revenue plummet, said owner Pedro Ramirez.
“It’s like a trickle effect. If the bank wants their money, then our landlord wants his money and we have to pay up even though we’re not able to be open,” said Ramirez.
In response, he has moved to alternatives such as online classes for people who wish to try their hand at sculpting without a wheel at home, selling blocks of clay – and a $200 ‘Quarantine Kit.’
The kit features a miniature 1.75-inch (4.4-cm) wheel and tools converted from chopsticks. Demand has outweighed stock, said Ramirez.
Aficionados find that making the pots keeps them going through these tough times, he said. “People say: ‘Clay is my therapy,’” Ramirez said.
“When I am at the wheel, that is the time that I’m not thinking about anything else,” she said. “So it is centering time for me.”
Reporting by Jillian Kitchener; Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Peter Cooney