Who knew it would take me a year and a half to actually follow through on that tidbit of advice my brother gave me? In some respects, everything has changed and yet nothing has. I’m still a slow poke. I still do things the old fashioned way. I’m still fiercely homemade and reluctant to think of this as business rather than pleasure. Money still makes me cringe. And yet here I am.
I have a real glass palette for my block printing ink, for one, which may sound inconsequential, but isn’t.
I finally finished my first box of 100 Fabriano cards and had to buy a second, along with envelopes.
Then there are my beautiful business cards, my customized “ink blot” stamp, and my clear A7 card sleeves.
I’ve moved on from printing with merely my two bare hands to printing with my two bare hands and a metal teaspoon pilfered from my mom’s silverware drawer.
I caved in two weeks ago and finally bought a brayer that isn‘t minuscule, which not only improves my printing but makes it take less time.
And then there’s the store thing. It was technically yesterday it happened, but today was the day that it sunk in:
Today I saw my work displayed in a store with price stickers and ISBNs. Eight designs, with six copies of each. Sitting there on a metal rack. Fresh, clean, and mind-bogglingly finished-looking. It seems strange to see them anywhere but scattered across my room or in the big bins I use to organize my stuff, or occasionally being fitted into a padded envelope to send off to an Etsy buyer. To remember how each image found its way into the world, whether from a photograph I took six thousand miles and a year and a half away, or a vague idea I sketched onto a piece of paper… And then to see them with kinks worked out and edges polished and smudges fixed and my name on the back…
I can honestly say I never imagined it would happen. I never really thought I would get from A to B. Most people would say that’s been my biggest problem – lack of vision, or lack of ambition, but I’m not sure that’s true. I think of myself and I don’t see cards sitting in a shop. I see myself at the work table with a gouge and a sponge and a spatula. I see myself with inkwells and forks and nibs and child-proof scissors and glue. I guess I see the process, rather than the result. I know that needs to change at least a little, but for the time being, I’m pretty happy with that.
Next week I have an appointment with the owner of a stationery store in Santa Monica. As delighted as I am to have my work at Distant Lands, a stationery store would be major. It would feel affirming in a way that little else would, I think. That I deserve to be with the best. That my work has value not because it’s made by a nice, kooky person with connections, but because it’s beautiful, strong, and well-crafted. Fingers crossed, friends!
The eight designs:
Tomorrow I’ll post a picture of my cards in their new home.
Stay tuned, friends… this is only the end of the beginning…?