Reboot/ Regroup

file0002143843277I needed yesterday. Two friends from Life is a Verb Camp, a retreat I attended in November, came to visit and learn about letterpress printing.

Recently, I’ve been feeling somewhat out of sorts with my creative life. Not sure of how to proceed, I just drifted from one project to another. But yesterday, I worked with these friends and found myself so caught up in not only printing but also sharing what I do and how I do it.

Hmmm, maybe I miss teaching? Maybe I ought to do this more often? Sometimes the Universe talks loudly and clearly. And I am listening.

So what’s my next step? I need to get more organized with my “stuff” and my process. That will happen over the next two months. Then I’ll begin to advertise for workshops. Yay, I have a plan!

 

To write, to think, to reflect– then create

I have an unusual habit– when I am ready to create, I write first. Whatever is on my mind. Then, I think about what I’ve written, process and reflect, and finally create the print or card.

This week I’ve been doing a lot more thinking, ruminating really. And it’s gotten me nowhere. Soooo, I’m back to what works. I am writing.

Not that I’ve been sitting around doing nothing. We adopted a cute Golden mix. She is the joy of my life, but takes some specific care because of health issues. When I’m not walking her, I am printing. These two quotes resonated with me this week– so they became prints!

You may be seeing more of this type of work. As I always say, I print what I’m thinking.

If you are local, please consider coming to the Sunken Well Tavern on December 8 for the Tinsel Town Holiday Market. I’ll be there with cards and prints and taking orders for custom holiday stationery, too.

the-sunken-well

Good is Not Enough

In 1988 or ’89, when I was teaching high school and overseeing the student government, we came up with a phrase for spirit week: Good is not enough. We meant to share it as motivation– to encourage students to do more, try harder, reach higher. Even the football team yelled it during warm-ups before games.

I think about my own work now and ponder the impact of those words. If good is not enough, then nothing can be shared unless it is great. Perfect. No blemishes.

I struggle with that because I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about failure and how important it is to fail well. By that, I mean to take risks, push myself. And if that means something doesn’t work, that’s fine. I’ll learn from it and move on. Yet, sharing mistakes or work that isn’t quite there is risky, too. What will people think?

Photographer Donna Hopkins addressed this in a recent blog post, and I found myself nodding along as I read:

There will always be those who discount my work, places that make me fearful, and things that stir up doubt and insecurity. And this is why mentors are important. These are the people I respect, and I see something in their life and work that can help me to take the next steps.

I absolutely love her quote from photographer Henry Lohmeyer :

It’s not our work at its best that begs to be heard, it’s our glorious falters, our enormous mistakes and it’s our honest brokenness that wants to be heard. It’s not our work that we’re showing, it’s ourselves and we deserve noting.

Working hard, learning more, trying again–these are traits that will help me improve my work. But being honest in the process and not simply showing shiny, pretty results makes the journey real.

Working on a Collection

IMG_5168I’ve struggled with how to define my work as Downtown Writing and Press.

Not that I have to. But I want to.

After a fabulous conversation with Emily Blistein, I’ve realized I don’t have to give up loving traditional letterpress printing OR enjoying designing on polymer plates. Ta da– my two collections:

The Classic Collection

The Fresh Collection

I’m still working out the details, but come along on the journey!

Home and Jane

cardpink

This Jane Austen quote appeals to me, but it was a friend who asked me to make a gift card for a friend. Shhhh, that’s all I can say at this point, and I can’t reveal the back.

It’s fun to be challenged to learn new things– like printing on the back of the card, which means lining up everything.

My next challenge is two-color registration. Stay tuned!