Amidst the chaos of 2020, there was one really wonderful silver lining that appeared; the coming together of communities, some big and some small.
When things go pear-shaped, when the whole globe goes asunder, it's quite amazing how people start to pull together, gathering up pale common threads, those connections that bind us, be it ink or presses or food or music. Being somewhat of an introvert, I must admit it's kinda hard sometimes to get excited about "gathering together" in a conventional sense, I really am most contented away from noise and lots of people, but a print exchange, a coming together of artists from around the globe, that I can do.
The exchange was instigated by Bright Press & Fresh Lemon Print in WA, who put the call out around the globe for printmakers to respond to the theme "Good Vibes". At the time, there were a few ideas circling my head; the idea of abundance, the word "flash" and notions of a manifesto, a guiding set of principals to live by. These threads became the starting point for my submission, I wanted to portray the things in my life that defined "good vibes" - my family, simple almost invisible pleasures, everyday acts, humble and poetic things, the land I call home. Small things...but small things are never small things.
In August 2019 our family welcomed the Woods family from the US. Visiting from St Louis, Eric from Firecracker Press and his beautiful crew Laura, Beatrix and Wren spent a few days in our valley and as we ate and laughed and explored we spoke of words from each other's culture that intrigued us; the American word I found curious was "extra", the Australian word curious to them was "flash", as in "those sneakers are pretty flash!" a word that signified something being kinda posh or expensive or "la de dah". I loved that this word had captured them, because I loved it too, it was a word my grandfather used often to talk about cars and houses and clothes and people, and I wanted to use it to signify the things I now thought of as "flash" as a priviledge to have; things like space, nature, sunshine, rain, family, laughter and the warmth of nourishing meals and music and words; these were my riches.
With COVID looming I wanted to reconnect with the things I held so dear and I wanted to give thanks and I wanted to make a permanent declaration of sorts about these things, the things that made my life worth living, the things that bought so much joy to my everyday experience.
As a full-stop, I chose a word from Ken Honda's book "Happy Money" in which he talks of a good friend's habit of saying Thank you or Arigato to his money when it comes in and when it leaves him. He thanks it for the experiences it gives, the momentum it provides, the safety or joy or happiness it gives; the bills become an opportunity for gratitude, the donation an opportunity for compassion - and I wanted to say Arigato to the simple things, the abundance, the energy of being "Flash" without materialism, without the need to hold on tight. In fact, being "Flash" while letting go.
The Good Vibes Print Exchange will be on view from Saturday September 26th to Saturday 7th November 2020 at the Midland Junction Arts Centre in Midland Western Australia.
Shop the Some Kind Of Manifesto Print here.