“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Cracked Vessel was born on Etsy in 2011, at a time when I was really struggling to embrace imperfection by working with polymer clay. At the time, I was supposed to be building a career as a screenwriter. I had written some B movies, none of which got made, then a TV show, which did. Around that time, someone said to me, “Gosh, you must be so happy – you’re living your dream writing for TV!” Hmm. Happy, I thought. Yeah, not so much. At the time, my life was one long endless ball of twined-up stress. That’s how I ended up with my hands in the clay.
A chance visit to an antique mall sent me spinning in a different direction. I’d always been a vintage-y kinda girl, so I rented a booth, and to my surprise found I quickly developed a following. Shortly thereafter, I opened my first brick-and-mortar shop in a tiny 300-square-foot former bail bonds office across the street from my house. I chose a name that reflected that ideal of beauty in imperfection, inspired by a line in a Leonard Cohen song (itself inspired by a Bible story). I took a lot of flack for that name, from people who felt I had saddled myself with something negative. I never saw it that way. Rarely are vintage items perfect, but their beauty is often in their blemishes.
Outgrowing that store took about a year. With the help of an Indiegogo campaign funded by my friends and customers, I moved in 2013 to an awesome former muffler shop with big beamed ceilings and a huge personality, and then took over the adjacent storefront, too.
Maintaining a physical store and selling online takes more energy than I have some days. If I ever change the shop name, it’s going to be Sisyphus, after that guy who kept rolling the rock up the hill: every time I’m near the top it comes crashing back down. But I love it. I love shopping (of course) and finding amazing treasures. I’m also just as passionate about finding those treasures new homes, then (of course) using the money to find something else that brings joy, first to me, then to someone else. Only a tiny fraction of the inventory in the store has made it online – there’s probably a good 5,000 pieces left to add. But luckily I’ve let go of the perfection idea, and every day I focus instead on just rolling that rock.
If you’re ever in Torrance, California, come visit us. We’re located at 2068 Torrance Boulevard, in a quaint little part of town that feels like Mayberry RFD. Peek behind the counter and you’ll see our under-the-radar security chief and shop dog, Cowboy, hanging out in his crate as usual. We’re open every day except Monday from 12 until 7, though we stay later most days because there’s always more to do. Online, of course, we’re always open!