saying goodbye, settling in

We made our big move almost two weeks ago, and the time has really been moving fast. In some ways it seems like we’ve been here for a lot longer- so much has happened already. In the next week or so I want to post some before and after photos of the apartment that we moved into in Northampton. We had only seen pictures of it when we decided to sign the lease, and although it’s turned out for the best, I’m not sure that I’d do that again, or recommend it. It’s a neat little apartment with an unusual layout, and there were a lot of small issues that came up immediately…but more on that later.

Other than my insane home-improvement campaign, I’ve been working on trying to get settled in the area, meeting people, and spending a lot of time outside. We live close to downtown and I am really into how flat the roads are here! It’s been great to be back on my bike after a long hiatus in the mountains. A few days ago Andy and I rode to Amherst on a neat bike path that goes over the river and past lots of pretty farms. Last night I saw lots of meteors from a blanket in the back yard, and I love that the weather has been cooling down at night.

The things I’ve been missing about Asheville are the abundance of local food at restaurants and the farmer’s markets, running into friends all the time, the narrow streets (somehow the roads feel so open and exposed here at times), and our old garden. Overall I am really enjoying experiencing life in the Northeast. We are planning a quick trip to Maine for some time in the next week, and I spent the weekend with my dear friend Emily in Providence, where we made the best blackberry peach pie ever, ate Indian food like I haven’t had in years, and danced funny dances to some really bad hip hop.

I’ll be blogging more often now that my studio is finally unpacked and my home is finally starting to feel like my own. Stay tuned for photos of our new place and our going-away party in Asheville, during which I really saw how wonderful and full of beautiful people my life is.

More adventures in Western Massachusetts to come…

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lately…

Here are a few more photos from our trip to Massachusetts.

I’ve always felt a certain degree of reverence for New England, and it will be interesting to notice how the influences of this new place affect my way of living from day to day. We saw so many beautiful things in our days up north last week, and considering my serious need for lovely surroundings (give me beauty or give me death!!!!), I think I should be right at home after the move.

PS This is Andy’s niece…serious cutie pie!

what my mind dreamed up…

What would you envision for a customer who requested a book for an ‘intellectual soul mate’ lost at sea?

It look me a little while to land on a motif for this one, but one of the things that helped my creative process was the obvious passion of the person requesting this custom book, which would be a gift for someone special. He wanted me to incorporate the phases of the moon, and the sea…so after a few weeks of methodical brainstorming, I landed on a big idea, and started to get to work.

I love custom orders because I end up making books I’d never create otherwise. And I loved that I was able to take my time on this one, enjoying all the symbolism that it involved and the subsequent ways that it helped me to make meaning in my own days of late.

A week ago I watched a beautiful Taurus baby come into the world. And though I have wavering interest in the influence of the planets and sun and moon, I appreciated the meaning created around this brand new person’s timing of when to be born and lock eyes with her mama for the first time.

In short, my love of making significance out of circumstance loved this nice juxtaposition of the moon, lost and found companions, and all things beyond our control…each a lovely part of life under the sun.

March

Last night we slept with the windows open. The kitties are going crazy watching the birds and I love waking up to the sounds of Spring. Andy and I have traveled out of the state twice in the past month, and it’s been so nice to observe the changing of the seasons in two time zones. Driving back to Asheville yesterday, it looked like Spring had come in the two days that I was away, and this morning my car was covered in pollen.

I always value the insight that I gain when I return to Asheville from faraway places, and sometimes I wonder how I’d ever get any true perspective on my life if I didn’t travel from time to time. I usually come home with inspiring new ideas for how to live and interact in my world.

Several years ago I heard someone say that while it’s traditional to make resolutions at the turn of the new year, Springtime resolutions come more naturally, and we’re more likely to follow through on them. That rings true for me. Maybe it’s that I’m seeing so much new life in the natural world. Maybe it’s just easier to be creative and imaginative when I’m not wearing three or four layers of clothes.

I know for sure that my recent travels, and the warmer weather, are making me want to make stuff. I’m loving being in my studio this morning, wearing shoes without socks, and feeling excited to get to work. Doesn’t the vitamin D feel good?

December Stuff at Rockpile

Hello my dears. The holidays are always an overwhelming time of year for me, but December has gotten off to a wonderful start with lots to feel thankful for. I’ve been teaching Beginning Bookbinding at the shop and I have another class of star pupils. It’s neat to learn from my students; not only do I learn more about how to be a better and more effective teacher, I also get to learn more about bookbinding. I can get so stuck in my ways that I don’t see alternative methods and avenues in binding, and new students often have really unexpected insights into the creative processes of making books. So far in this class series, we have made coptic books with linocut printed covers, Japanese stab bindings, and concertina dos a dos books, some with a few creative variations.

In this class I’ve put a lot of emphasis on processes that can be replicated at home, without big, heavy, or expensive equipment. My artistic path took an unexpected turn when I graduated from college with a true love for printmedia, but had very little in the way of space or resources for artmaking. I turned to bookbinding because I felt a kindling of creative love in the art and processes, and didn’t have any printmaking equipment of my own. Learning so many structures by trial and error at home in my studio after having minimal bookbinding instruction has been a wonderfully empowering process, and I love how portable and compact the art of making books can be. If it weren’t, I don’t know if I could have ever begun binding in my sunny little studio on Cumberland Avenue.

Now, five years later, I have a life of creativity that I couldn’t quite have imagined in its entirety. Having the opportunity to teach has given me a push to do something that scares and inspires me in equal proportions. On good days, the encouraging words that I hear from the people I love mirror the pride that I have in my work. And these days, one of the greatest gifts of my life as a maker of things is that I always have more ideas for things I’d like to make. It’s so lovely to feel wealth and abundance in that area, wouldn’t you say?