I am a woodblock printmaker, author, and teaching artist. I hold an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and maintain a studio in Philadelphia.
In 2010 I started the blog Words On Woodcuts. I was a new mother learning to balance parenting with my teaching and studio practice. Committing to write three times a week in a blog kept me connected to my identity and practice as an artist. I didn’t just write about my own artwork. I wrote about woodcuts by master printmakers of the past and also discovered and personally reached out to other contemporary printmakers with whom I have since shared ideas, collaborated, and traded prints.
Earlier this year I founded Words On Woodcuts Press, which started with an Indiegogo fundraising campaign that raised nearly $4,000. This culminated in the publication and release of my first book, Cats A-Z, a cat-themed alphabet book featuring my striking black and white woodcuts.
Now that my two children are old enough, I have begun applying for residencies so I can have more time and space to concentrate on particular book projects. This year I was offered a residency at the Arts Center of Yates County Sunny Point, where I spent ten days on Keuka Lake beginning work on a new book.
By publishing books myself, I work directly with editors, designers, and printers to fully realize my vision for each project. There are many challenges, but I am reveling in this new phase of my career.
Words On Woodcuts Press is small press for publishing illustrated books featuring my fine art woodcuts. These books are printed in small runs by a printing company that specializes in well-crafted, artistic books. I sell the books directly to readers online, at arts and crafts shows, and also offer them wholesale to independent book stores and other appropriate retailers.
I’ve successfully published the first book, Cats A-Z, and sold 20% of the first edition within the first month of its release. I also covered all my expenses and paid off all debt associated with its production.
Now I am working out the financing for the publication of the second book, Owl and Cat In Love. It re-imagines the story of Edward Lear’s nonsense poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” in full-color woodcuts. This is the most familiar, published, and illustrated of all of Lear’s poems. Many authors, too, have written and illustrated books expanding on Lear’s poem with prequels and sequels. What sets this version apart from other picture books illustrating the poem is that it is a wordless re-imagining with fine art woodcuts. While the imagery is inspired by Lear’s text, it frequently presents unique interpretations and embellishments.
Building up my inventory and book offerings over the first few years after Words On Woodcuts Press’s launch is important to its long-term success.
The second book, Owl and Cat In Love, is in the final stages of design and almost ready for printing. It will be an edition of 500 Smythe sewn case bound (hardcover) books, offset color printing on 100# paper, printed and bound in the United States. Printing an edition of this size at once allows me to get the unit price down to where I can charge a competitive retail price of $20.00.
What I need from this loan is help covering the cost of printing and binding the second book. I’ve shopped around for quotes, and the cost of the printing and binding to these specifications will be $4,300.