Well, some of it anyway.
Here’s the story: In 2016 and 2017 when the world’s turmoil was accelerating and it was hard to figure out which side of arguments close friends might be on, I turned to art for solace. I made drawings, prints, photographs, and paintings as an expression of my feelings at the time – feelings I often couldn’t find words to describe (though I did write about it, more than once).
The work that felt most cathartic was printing: Block printing, silkscreen printing, gelli printing, and other forms of printing on fabric and paper, including, of course, cyanotype printing.
Some of my favorites were the block prints. I carved into rubber blocks different designs that came to me in the moment. Some were abstract others quite representational. The process was physical in ways that other types of art-making weren’t. If you’ve carved and printed this way, then you likely understand without any further explanation. If you haven’t experienced this particular creative outlet, then you’ll have to take my word.
The physical process of carving the block was enjoyable. Decisions that went into paper and ink color were enjoyable. There was creativity, but there was also a comfortable (therapeutic) repetition.
Some of these block prints were my very first offerings for Larksome Goods. An early idea there was to make, and sell, cards that were original pieces of art, available at reasonable prices for anyone to buy, especially people who like to write notes and who also like art (meaning they would pay $8 each for truly hand-printed work.)
In addition to fun, “design-y” block prints for cards, I also made prints that I considered art prints, a distinction that was (still is, probably) only in my mind.
One afternoon I laid out all of my blocks and photographed them as a journal entry for myself. I walked away to do some other things, and a few hours later came back upstairs to find the table mostly empty. One of my dogs, the now-late, great Charlie Brown, bless his heart and God rest his batshit crazy soul, had eaten almost all of the rubber blocks. I was furious and disconsolate.
Since then, I’ve saved (hoarded) almost all of the prints made from those blocks, hanging on to ideas and possibilities that were suddenly no longer available to me. The beauty of block printing is that it’s replicable. You can use different paper or different ink, but the image is still essentially the same. No more for me with the blocks gone.
Could I scan and digitally reproduce these works? Yep. Tried that. Not at all the same, in any way.
With these monoprints, I’ve also held on to (hoarded…) cyanotypes (“ooh, I could make an entire wall of these!” (but really?)) and paintings that I liked from a couple of shows that I had.
Hanging onto these artifacts has done nothing but anchor me to a time and place that I need to let go of. I realize that now. And so as I’m looking ahead for this blog, for my creative work, and for Larksome Goods, I must do a bit of housekeeping before I can move on. In moving on, I am offering up the contents of the vault, including many of the prints that will never be printed again.
I’ve loaded the work (actually, still loading – as of 6/7/22 at 7 a.m.), from tiny block prints to gigantic cyanotype botanical prints, in a new section on the Larksome Goods site – where there will also be some changes coming for the stationery, cards, and reproduction prints. I’ve got some new designs and am retiring others. So all of the original art is on sale, 25% off, starting today through June 15th. Code for the sale? ARTHARDER. (I mean, you knew that’d be it, right?)
The photos of the work? They’re not great, but they’ll have to do. If you have questions, drop them in the comments here and I’ll take it from there.