5 Questions With Archivist, Artist Kate Teves

  1. Tell us about yourself and your background.

I grew up on a farm in a town of 2,000 people in Central New York. That farm has been in my family for eight generations, so I’ve always had a great respect for small communities and their cultural heritage. But growing up in a small town, I also had a hankering to see the world. When I was 18, I worked five jobs until I had saved enough money to head off alone to Kathmandu. I had no idea what I was doing, and in retrospect, I am terrified of my 18-year-old self. But I fell in love with the place and eventually pursued my PhD in cultural anthropology at Cornell University. Throughout my 20s, I returned to Nepal several times for field research and language training. The kicker is that after several years, I decided academia was for the birds, so I dropped out of the program, moved to New York, and worked in television. It was a dizzying 180, but it launched a very happy chapter: I reconnected with my old high school love, and in 2014 Christoph Teves and I got hitched. We decided we were due for an adventure, preferably a warm one, and we moved to Delray in 2015!

  1. Tell us about your role at the Delray Beach Historical Society.

I joined the Delray Beach Historical Society in 2017 as their archivist, knowing nothing about Delray history. I had a lot of catching up to do, and I found people were really excited to share their stories with me because I was a blank slate. I soon learned that Delray, like most tourism towns, has issues of class and race that are often overshadowed by the image we project to the outside world. In my role as a historian, I feel a strong responsibility to document and share these stories. In January, I am launching our Young Ambassadors Program where students will help us create an exciting city-wide initiative to document history. Stay tuned!

  1. You have a website called Toaster-Tongs. What is it? How did you come up with it?

Just before landing the job at the Historical Society, I was feeling a little down and out, and I doodled a comic out of the blue about how I felt my greatest achievement in life was introducing my husband to toaster tongs. The drawings were terrible, but comics became something I loved doing despite being absolutely talentless. Then my husband and I started our website, and it became a place for silliness. We make and share comics and kid stuff for the young-at-heart. We’re even launching some products in December! It is such an enjoyable thing in our lives, and it came out of a pretty dark place.

  1. We heard you have a new book that recently came out. Tell us about it.

Around the same time that we started Toaster Tongs, we also started working on a children’s book. Meet The Squirbles is about a rodent (“not quite a squirrel, not quite a gerbil”) named Percy who comes to realize how much he loves his little brother Pip. It is written in rhyme, which was really fun to create! We are working on a sequel.

  1. You have some upcoming events in town. What is the scoop? Where? When?

In my job as the archivist at the Delray Beach Historical Society, I’ll be leading the following events:

  • Holiday Card-making Workshop. Work with vintage materials to create handmade holiday cards! Dec. 11. 7-9 p.m.

Through our company Toaster Tongs, Christoph and I will be leading the following events:

  • “It’s A Wrap!” at Arts Warehouse. Dec 1 10:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.. Design your own holiday wrapping paper! Kids 8+ welcome!
  • Pop-Up Store at Arts Warehouse Winter Market. Come meet the Squirbles and shop our line of Florida-inspired comics and products. Preview party Dec. 7th, public market Dec. 8th.
  • “It’s A Wrap!” at Arts Warehouse. Dec. 12 6:30-8:30 p.m.. Design your own holiday wrapping paper! Adults only.

For more information on Toaster Tongs, visit www.toaster-tongs.com