Florida and My Professional Juggling Act
For the past two years my husband, Mike, and I lived in our first home together in a cute, mid-century neighborhood a couple miles outside of downtown Orlando. We loved our home, our neighbors and the close vicinity in which we lived to all of Orlando’s local places. Orlando is where Mike grew up, where we met and went to college and where many of our close friends and family are, but we didn’t want to stay there forever.
During those two years I taught as an adjunct at the University of North Florida, interviewed for an out-of-state job that I was honestly shocked to be considered for, and worked part-time at Rifle Paper Co., a stationery powerhouse located in Winter Park, all the while making artwork and weighing how I wanted to run my practice as an artist. It’s always been my number one goal to make my art for a living, so at the time I felt like my professional life was a juggling act, trying to keep everything up in air with too many commitments in the mix.
A New Opportunity
Bring us to May of this year. As I worked on my art and gained clarity in what I want in my career, Mike was working hard and excelling at his job. He received two job offers at the same time, one in Dallas, one in Seattle, and we had some decisions to make. We didn’t plan on leaving Orlando so soon, but both were very good opportunities professionally and as a family.
I went to grad school in the DFW metroplex (Denton forever!), so I knew we’d love Dallas, but I’ve had this inexplicable dream of living in Seattle for years. When people talked about moving to New York City or Los Angeles, I was always eyeing Seattle. Our gut wanted to go to there, but we also needed to look at things logically.
After much labored deliberation, a visit to Seattle (to compare to what we already knew about Dallas), and factoring in cost of living differences (Seriously, that part is an energy vampire.), Mike accepted his offer in Seattle.
Our New Home
In August we sold our house (with several stressful delays and costly complications), sold Mike’s truck that we knew would not fare well in the mountains here, moved our belongings cross-country and unpacked in an apartment that’s less than half the size of our house. Property value (See, those draining cost of living factors again.) is probably close to three times higher here than in Orlando, so owning a home with a studio in the backyard is out of the question for the immediate present.
So far we love living here and even with the physical downsizing, our life feels ridiculously abundant. Both of my presses made it here intact, undamaged and are up and running. We set up my studio in our detached garage downstairs and I’m currently finishing up projects I started in Florida. With our move as a catalyst, I’ve had time to reflect and appreciate the past two years as a time of development. Testing different aspects of a creative life to figure out not only what I can sustain, but also what sustains me.
In my little garage studio I am focusing on letterpress, relief and bookbinding. I’m creating stationery and greeting cards, an obsession of mine passed down from my mom, and creating new prints and artist books inspired by the shocking change in landscape from our move.
Today is a clear day, so I’m sitting outside as I write, enjoying the last bits of sunshine before the months of cold, cloudy days that are promised to arrive. I'll go in the studio after this and pack my recent custom letterpress stationery for shipping and start on new designs. You would think that after uprooting our lives I would still be settling down, but right now I'm feeling more grounded than ever.
After unpacking I realized most of my work from the past year isn't photographed, so I'll be updating the website soon.