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Saturday
Nov282015

Quietly, This.

For months I have been saying to myself, (usually in the mornings, walking, with coffee) that I should start writing again. I think that is what is beginning here, today.

Millions of People Happy, (the Old News) still exists, but was neglected for over a year, and it feels right to start all over again.

These are busy times, and it's hard to believe that it's only been four-and-a-half months since I started this newest new chapter in my life.

In mid July I moved from the mountains of western North Carolina to my new home in Iowa City, Iowa. I have a tiny little house with my big grey cat and the potential for a big garden after the approaching winter. My neighborhood has sidewalks, big trees, and gangs of kids on bicycles. Iowa City is a much more pedestrian-friendly than my North Carolina home; I can walk to the grocery store here without much fear of being hit by a car.

There's curb-side recycling. There's a washer/dryer in my kitchen. I have a garage.

How did I get here?

I went to the Paper and Book Intensive in May of 2014. Remember? It was an important adventure, and set all this in motion. When I got home from PBI, I remember researching opportunities, workshops, internships, and residencies that would allow me to keep learning about papermaking. (Yes, yes, I was working at the Penland School of Crafts at the time, but that doesn't mean I was learning or making as much as I would have liked there.) 

After conversations with Julia Leonard, Sara Langworthy, and several alumni from Iowa, I started considering an unlikely course of action: to pursue a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. I say "Unlikely" because I'm in my mid-thirties. And because I already have an MFA in Printmaking. 

Then a week-long letterpress workshop at Penland (taught by my pal Margot Ecke) made me absolutely sure that I was going to apply. For all the books I have made, there is so much I have yet to learn. About paper, about letterpress, about books. Book Arts is a complicated and varied area: many niches inside other niches. There's a lot to do and learn and think and talk about.

So in the long Wyoming January spent at the Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts, I spent days walking, finding antlers, drawing, and listening to Nick Drake and Joanna Newsom. In the chilly vastness of Brush Creek's Lodge, (surrounded by taxidermy, leather, and more antlers) I put the final touches on my Iowa application. It was the only place I considered pursuing this undertaking. And as you already know, it worked out.

Let's skip ahead. I am so grateful to have received an Iowa Arts Fellowship, and here I am at the end of a very good, much needed Thanksgiving break. Two weeks until Finals Week of my first semester, and so much to do in that time. 

But hey, look! I finally wrote a blog post, the first of many after a long, long silence.

Thank you for reading.