Fiat Lux

I drove by the Masonic Center of South Pasadena this afternoon, and saw the giant “Let There Be Light” engraved on the building’s façade. After the initial conspiracy theories came to mind, the Latin translation for the expression did: Fiat Lux. I’m a geek. I know it.

The last 48 hours have been illuminating indeed, and in the best way possible. I stumbled across this amazing video via an Australian photo blog I follow, and I remembered why I love life. Having never had the privilege of seeing a Turkish artist at work, or seen any finished specimens in the motherland, this documentation of Ebru in process was a real treat. I know it’s a widely respected art there, but I’m afraid Iznik took hold of the popular cultural art sector when they realized just how popular and profitable it was with tourists. Alas. I showed this video to my mom, and after it ended, she turned to me and asked, “how are we going to track him down?” I can’t express how lucky I am to have a parent who 110% supports my dreams. In this case, about 90% more than I do, myself. I laughed and told her I could under no circumstance have that conversation. And then, me being me, I found the artist’s son (who made the video) and emailed him about his father. Damn you, universe! I have a non-stop ticket to Istanbul in three weeks and I have no intention of using it!

 

In even more brilliant news, I received a message on Etsy asking whether I might be interested in selling my cards wholesale! Umm… SO AWESOME! Not only is this the first time I’ve ever been approached by a shop, but this shop happens to be located in southeast Portland. The lovely Charlotte of Palace apparently saw my balloon and stained glass cards and thought they’d be a good addition to her merchandise. Checking out her blog, I see a lot of our tastes overlap and I have every confidence that my work will find good homes at Palace. The cherry on top – the store is right off of Belmont, which in my brain, is home to biscuit breakfasts, cupcakes before they were cool, and the Stumptown Annex. Delicious, delicious memories. Despite the four years that I’ve been gone from Portland, it still tugs at me. It still feels like home. (One of four, I grant you.) All the drizzle, the coffee slinging, the fierce knitting. The cute boys with their plaid shirts and tattoos. I was a goner. So hooray that a small piece of me can return to a city I so genuinely love, and a neighborhood as well. 

I think I see the sun rising.

Also rising: (shameless plug ahead) my new necklaces.

Image

from A to B

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…?

Carte, Ahoy.

I have a project, and a rather large one at that. My brother suggested I create a blog to document this project for myself and others, and though I cringe at the idea of shining light on late night tinkerings and the cups of tea to be consumed, I think it’ll be a fun way to process it all.

 

The task at hand:

-200 postcards, probably block printed. 25 of which will be customized.

-the design and execution of said block print.

The time at hand:

TWO WEEKS.

 

Can she do it?

YES.

 

Join me on this voyage and witness the transformation of Anya into Sainte Carte Postale.