Equal Clay is the functional, activist, small-batch ceramics of San Francisco-based artist Kate Rotondo. My pieces invite you to expect, discuss, and advocate for better conditions at work.
Watching the pottery wheel spin—and having my hands immersed in clay and away from screens—interrupts my rumination over the systems and people I couldn't change.
I left my job, and the tech industry, in March 2020 after talking with eight male colleagues with my job title and discovering I was paid less than all of them. I gave my company the opportunity to fix the gap internally, but they refused to acknowledge any problem. I then pursued resolution at both the federal (EEOC) and state (PAGA) level, but neither process achieved justice. Instead, both opened the door to additional retaliation, and I had to close it so that I could begin to heal.
I've been asked if I regret finding out I was underpaid and taking action. That's complicated. I'm glad I escaped a toxic workplace that hoped I wouldn't notice I was paid less than my peers, then expected me to accept it once I knew. I sleep well at night having stood up for myself and my coworkers. But the existing accountability mechanisms aren't sufficient, and left me more harmed than healed. So that's the work ahead of me now.
I hope my mugs help you discuss pay equity in your homes, workplaces, and communities! You can also read more about my activism on the blog, view photos and videos of my maker process on Instagram, and stay notified of shop updates by signing up for my email list below.