I’ve been traveling. To printers’ fairs (Lancaster, PA), workshops (Chicago, Starshaped Prss), classes (Charlottesville, Calligraphy) and a short trip to New York.
Needless to say, my head is spinning.
But that’s ok because I’m learning. Still. After two years of having my presses! Today I had great success with less ink, figured out a better way to layout a card, and used the cute star ornaments Jen @starshapedpress gave me.
I love the way the shadows hit my type case in this photo by Khirstie Smith, our intern. I’ve said, being my my shop is meditative, calming. And I’m looking forward to being home for a while.
My husband is in the middle of the volunteer project in which he must ask for money/call people/sell an idea. He was wringing his hands over making the calls.
“I’m the farthest thing from a salesman there is,” he said.
I know that about myself, too. I’ve tried to sell– toys, books, programs, ideas. I don’t sell easily. So why do I letterpress print cards and posters and try to sell them? I love what I do.
But that doesn’t make the selling any easier. When I look at statistics for my shop, I have to ask myself the tough questions: do people like my work? is it the way I present the cards? have I advertised enough?
These questions are important (I’m about to re-do all the photographs on the site). But I know something else. I print because I love to do the work. So, no, I am not a salesperson. I am a printer who really enjoys getting her hands dirty and creating something. There are hundreds of letterpress shops out there, so I have to do this because it matters to me.
Yesterday I spent hours troubleshooting a card I was working on for Fredericksburg Main Street. Though the process was frustrating, when I finally finished I felt a huge sense of satisfaction. Yeah, there it is, I thought.
I guess I’m learning to have faith in myself and my art. And that’s a huge step.
photo: Print Magazine, The Foolproof Press
I don’t know which I liked more at the Lancaster Printers Fair– meeting/seeing old friends or getting new stuff! Wood type from from John Barrett at Letterpress Things and Virgin Wood, a handmade book from Leland Manufactory, cards from Sea Heart City Press and Typecase Industries, and a letterpress t-shirt! Mostly, though, I loved connecting with like-minded printers, who continue to amaze me with their willingness to share and help.
I’ve always said I print what is in my head. These days I’m thinking about peace. Rick Hanson, author, wrote in his recent newsletter:
“I’ve been reflecting about my tendencies to get attached to views and outcomes: to how I see things and what I hope happens. Normal, sure, but this attachment – this fixation, drivenness, holding on past the point of wisdom . . . no matter how subtle – is still a source of tension, stress, conflicts, and suffering for me, and often for others.”
I think that’s true for so many of us. I am working on being less in the past or future and more in the present. It sounds like such a cliche these days when it seems that mindfulness is so much in the news. But there is a calm truth about the benefits of staying in the moment.
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”