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Here are some of my favourite little and big things. I am often overwhelmed by stuff I have, stuff I want, the general problem of stuff. But I was reminded the other day how important our small businesses are – to the economy, to those around us, to the people we work with and the materials we use – this all has value that is sometimes hard to see. This got me to really appreciating some of the little treasures around me –

Above: Our very best everyday present is our Pearl! We got her from Providence Animal Center last December and not a day goes by where don’t express our gratitude in our silly voices and normal voices, for being paired with the very best doggo in the world!

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Folktale Week 2021, an Instagram Art Challenge, is here!

Grab your crystal ball – the official @folktaleweek prompts are ready! This year we’re guided by the natural and supernatural world of folktales, and as always, let the prompts inspire you to interpret and create in any way you want! Folktale Week is open to creators from all skill levels and disciplines, from artist-illustrators and quilters to poets and puppeteers!

How to join: Follow the prompts, one per day, for each day of Folktale Week, November 15–21, 2021. Use hashtags #folktaleweek and #folktaleweek2021 to show your work. During Folktale Week, hosts will pull work from the hashtag to promote in our stories and in the official @folktaleweek account!

Art by @deborah.j.stein
Art by @kalyquarles
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“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”
—A Tanzanian Proverb

This project started from the #100dayproject challenge on Instagram. I’ve participated in this for the last few years, and it encourages me to make marks daily. I think often of a conversation with a yoga teacher from long ago:

“Do you practice everyday?” I asked her.
“I commit to 5 minutes a day,” she said. “Some days it will turn into hours, other days, merely 5 minutes.”

A weight was lifted when she told me this, and I’ve been doing yoga daily, since. I’ve moved the 5 minute theory into other parts of my life, too – like drawing. Some of the drawings in these sketchbooks took 5 minutes, others took hours. It doesn't matter how long I spend with each drawing, just that I sat down to make some marks. 

 

Here are some scraps of my 2021 Non-Dominant Hand project in my 6″ Anselm Bookbinding Kit Sketchbooks – I am currently on day 231!

30 March 2021, Day 59: It all happens more slowly on the Other Side (the left, for me) and more deliberate. And, it being so unfamiliar, I let it be, I let it move as it wishes to move. I am not judgmental or upset with its way of going about making marks. Of saying things. It isn’t the rightest, but what is? I thank this Other Side, which strangely, is still me.

Trio of Anselms – filled and filling with left-handed scribblings
Day 79: My mom’s house, and an old photograph strip I found in the basement. Previously unseen by me

16 October 2021, Day 225: As the days progress I am feeling so satisfied with the pages in these books. Being pleased with my work doesn’t come often or easy. There is something about using my left hand, my Other, which feels more like being in the presence of a friend’s work – it is easy to see what is good overwhat is bad. Why this brutal treatment of the self which so many of us ease into unquestioningly?

13 + 14 March 2021, Days 43 + 44: Pandemic Birthday Camping Trip in snowy Pennsylvania
15 + 16 March 2021, Days 44 + 45: Emmaus Wildlands Conservancy, Emmaus Pennsylvania

9 October 2021: I’ve been drawing with my left hand nearly daily this year. When I pick up a paintbrush or dip pen, I unconsciously use this Other. Of course, it isn’t as agile as my right, but this Otherness is what gives me the quirks I’ve longed for. And the three of us, my brains and both hands, are settling in and all getting along quite nicely.

I am also now consciously breathing through my nose. I’ve discovered James Nestor’s book Breath, which had me spontaneously taping my mouth shut whilst sleeping – and Walter’s too.

Result: I slept through the night. This rarely happens.

17 October 2021, Day 226: Detail of Clouds from a pre-storm walk with Pearl
Same day, date, another detail

So here I am today – a little clearer and more at ease. This has been a rough year, (Not without beauty and bright spots, but with a weight that I cannot seem to shake.) I often discover that I am holding my breath. Finding this book will hopefully lead me to some Lightness.

There is something similar in the nose/mouth exchange and the left/right hand exchange. There is so much in each of us, I imagine, that we hold tight, stifle even, without knowing.

So begins a simultaneous journey.

Our Autumn collection is full of Violets, Reds, and Grays, just in time to join an adventure amongst the first changing of the leaves! 

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