A year ago, at a windy roadside stop in South Dakota with a couple flickering bars of reception, I checked my email. There was a message from the manager of a gallery in downtown Seattle, whom I’d met at a couple openings. She was wondering whether I wanted to join next year? I gasped and rubbed the sand out of my eyes, read it again. [Read more…]
I first read the poem “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte on a Friday, at the end of one of the worst weeks of my life. Husband demanding separation, step daughter screaming, mother gone missing. With rain and wind and a million shouting voices of need all around, I got to those last three lines and the bottom fell out. It was a sucker punch to the gut, aimed straight at all the things I already knew and didn’t want to.
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”
I watched the election results come in with increasing sickness. I went to bed early and woke up numb. The rollercoaster ride since recalls the early days after my brother died: anger, shock, despair, and overall a grand penetrating sense of pure disbelief.
It’s this disbelief I’ve been sitting with, and asking after from inside out. [Read more…]
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my voice as an artist and my role as a publisher: how they inform and whether they inhibit each other. I feel a strong insistence (born of insecurity?) that I should divide these actions and define them. You know, really nail down what it is I’m doing. Then I forget. I keep making things the way it naturally occurs to me, and I watch how these activities of artist and publisher weave together.
The most recent overlap is a new series called “Broken Broadsides.” [Read more…]
People often gawk when I give a typesetting demo, sliding each metal letter one by one into the composing stick, tilted at an angle to keep them in line, upside down and backwards. It’s a perfectly natural process to me, and the less I think the quicker I can set. This is how I first learned to work with letterforms and practice typography, the arrangement of text on a page. It’s much more awkward for me to sit in front of a blank screen and try to conjure up a beautiful design amidst endless pixels. [Read more…]
I’m just back from two weeks in Italy, the first in Milan, the second at Tipoteca Italiana and then Venice. I am sitting here back in New York feeling a little sad, missing all the lovely new friends I made and knowing I won’t see them for quite some time. Oh time. But what a time!
I spent the last two and half weeks printing up a storm in the Wells Book Arts Center, at Wells College in Aurora NY. I camped out in the new press room with five Vandercooks, reams of Mohawk Superfine, a 3lb can of black ink, and tunes, snacks, and a water bottle. On my cross country drive to New York, I thought a lot about partial/broken letterforms, watching paint peel away on many a weathered building across the western mountains and midwestern plains. Plenty of thinking time. No books, I decided. Too much work. I knew wanted to make things bigger, like the signs I’ve recently done, but vaguely thought no, no, I’ll be printing of course. And I thought, I’d like to work with those forms in print. But can’t break the type. Cut the paper? I just really wanted to build, not break. [Read more…]
Halfway through my cross country drive, I had the great honor to spend two evenings and a full day with the very talented tough-as-nails Jen Farrell of Starshaped Press. She has built a business based on exquisite precision of handset ornamented images from metal type, constantly pushing new limits for our rigid old craft.
I’ve been on the road for almost a week now and I have seen and learned more than I imagined and just as I expected. Following ones gut always leads to the right places and if you are just open enough, you get the gift of wide open spaces both inside and out. [Read more…]