Categories
Creativity flash fiction Storytelling

Grandmom!

A 100-WORD STORY

Last night I dreamt of my grandmother. She was sitting next to my dad toasting champagne in a luncheonette on Broad Street. You know, the kind with leather stools spinning around a counter and formica tables? I knew she’d be waiting, but the front door was locked, so I found a back entrance, pushed past the steel workers having lunch and ran to her. My heart was so full it felt like I was drowning, swallowing air and love; racing towards that hug that almost knocked us off our feet, her arms as tight as mine, holding on ‘til morning.

 


©2022, Jen Payne.  Photo: John’s Cafe in Portland, Oregon

Categories
Creativity flash fiction Storytelling

Spring No More

A 100-WORD STORY

Not that long ago, at mile marker 86.5 near East Lyme’s Pattagansett River, you could pull off the highway into a small dirt turnout, grab a container from your trunk, and fill it to the brim with cold, fresh water pouring from a natural spring. The spring was pretty popular. You’d always see a car or two parked precariously on the side of the road — traffic slowing more for the incline of the hill ahead than the waterseekers themselves. It’s gone now, save for the old turnout, replaced by a cement culvert, its condo complex runoff too foul for thirst.

 

 

 


©2022, Jen Payne.

Categories
Creativity flash fiction Storytelling

Harry Anderson Saved My Life

A 100-WORD STORY

Harry Anderson saved my life. At least that’s what my wide-eyed younger self remembers. The man had a gun, after all. I saw it as he paid for his coffee, hitched up under his arm. I was working the overnight, back when a girl could do that on her own. And besides, the cops watched out for me. That’s why I called them. Harry was there in minutes. Dragged the man to the parking lot. Discharged the gun in a moment of midlife bravado that almost got him fired. I never forgot it — overfilled his apple fritters every time thereafter.

 


©2022, Jen Payne.

Categories
Creativity Zine

Surprising Gift Idea (+ video)

MANIFEST (zine)
Consider a Gift Subscription. It’s a
one-of-a-kind gift idea for the holidays!

Imagine a magazine that’s like a mini art installation. Each issue is filled with unexpected images and creative rabbit holes, poetry, quotes, a curated Spotify playlist, and so much more! 

$25.00

Gift subscriptions include a custom holiday greeting/gift acknowledgement and four printed issues of MANIFEST (zine) starting with the Winter 2023 issue, Great & Small.

Categories
Creativity

Creative Gift Ideas

A Gift Subscription to MANIFEST (zine)
is a one-of-a-kind gift idea for the holidays!

It’s like sending a mini art installation that features interesting images and creative rabbit holes, quotes, poetry, a curated Spotify playlist. Layered with colors, textures, meanings (and music), the result is a thought-full, tactile journey with nooks and crannies to discover along the way. Gift subscriptions cost $25.00 include a custom holiday greeting/gift acknowledgement and four printed issues of MANIFEST (zine) starting with our upcoming winter issue, Great & Small.


MANIFEST (zine)

Visit our Etsy Shop to order individual issues as gifts or stocking stuffers. Each costs $8.00, which includes some cool extras and shipping. (Each Etsy listing includes a sneak preview video.)


Our Books

Perfect for the book lover in your life, consider giving a book from Three Chairs Publishing. Each comes signed by the author with a few creative extras.


Don’t Miss Holiday Expo!

Looking for a festive shopping experience? Then be sure to visit the Holiday Expo at Guilford Art Center (411 Church Street, Guilford). You’ll find many of our Three Chairs Publishing creations on display, along with ceramics, pottery, glass, jewelry, homewares, fiber art, ornaments, accessories, toys, specialty foods, stationery, leather goods and more. More than 200 American artists, makers and designers are featured in this year’s event. Click here for more information.


Thank you for your support!

Just like shopping local during the holidays, shopping at Three Chairs Publishing’s online shop has ripple effects. Your purchases help to support the women-owned printing company that prints our books, the locally-owned print shops that print our marketing materials, and the U.S. Postal Service which reliably delivers our products to your doorstep. You also help the self-employed editors, proofreaders, typesetters, artists, and tech support folks who help turn my ideas into things I can put into your hands to enjoy.

For all of that, and your continued support of my creative work, thank you. Happy Holidays! — JEN PAYNE

Categories
Creativity

Thank you.

This past year has been a whirlwind for my little publishing imprint, Three Chairs Publishing. In February, I published my fourth book, Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story. It kicked off with a warm welcome at the Guilford Art Center on Valentine’s weekend, and was featured by the Independent Book Review as part of “45 Books We’re Excited About from Indie Presses & Indie Authors.” 

Close to my heart has been my zine project, MANIFEST (zine). I created five issues this year — WaterEndemic, Heroically Found, and The Lola Poems — each with a different tone and theme. I think that’s what I love most about the zine format. It allows my creative voice to speak its peace — maybe loud, maybe sweet, maybe rambling — hopefully always interesting.

Participation in THE EXCHANGE this past fall introduced my work to a new audience, as did a mention in the 25th anniversary issue of Broken Pencil magazine and reviews by Ken Bausert and Silver Nyx. My writing was included in Sunspot Literary Journal’s Geminga 2022 Contest for Tiny Prose, Poem, or Art, the Connecticut Bards Poetry Review 2022, and the Poetry Institute’s zine Circumference. Good stuff, right?

This Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about good stuff like that, and about all of the people who have supported my work in 2022…from my regular zine subscribers and the folks who bought my books, to the staff at the Guilford Art Center and the Blackstone Library.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ongoing influence of my friend and mentor, author Dale Carlson, who passed away in January. And I am ever grateful for my ongoing creative conversations with Judith Bruder, Tara Buckley, Joy Bush, Laure Noe, and Mary O’Connor.

If you’re reading this, I am grateful for you, too! I could not do what I do without your kind and generous audience. Thank you.

With love and wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

— Jen Payne —

Categories
Creativity Storytelling

Fairytale

A  100-WORD STORY

Last night, while I slept in the just-right bed, my feet pressed against the tower wall, the Bears came and ate what was left of the wise Scribe’s apples. His favorites, he told me, bewitchingly red and wild, but rare these late fall days.

It’s quiet enough here to hear the wings of the Crow King as he flies through the stars, but not — apparently — the sound of Bears crossing the meadow in Moonlight. It seems they ate the Mountains too, or so the Fog might tell. Tell if it could speak that is, but all I hear is birdsong.


©2022, Jen Payne.

Categories
Books Creativity

Looking for something to read?

I am always inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. When I’m not exploring our connections with one another, I enjoy writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.

Very often, my writing is accompanied by photography and artwork. As both a graphic designer and writer, I think partnering visuals and words layers the intentions of my work, and makes the communication more palpable. I hope you will agree!

Categories
Creativity

Banned Books Week 2022

Three Chairs Publishing

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week 2022 will be held September 18 – 24. The theme of this year’s event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual…

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Creativity

NEW! Limited Edition Issue of MANIFEST (zine)

Issue #10, The Lola Poems

“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats,” writes Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. “Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now. Let it teach you Being. Let it teach you integrity —which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real. Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
 
THE LOLA POEMS is a limited edition, memorial issue of MANIFEST (zine) that honors the passing of my own little Zen master, Lola, by considering the lessons she taught me in our time together.

16-page, 4.25 x 5.5 booklet, Cost: $8.00 or subscribe and get 4 issues for $25.00.


You can pay through PayPal using a PayPal account or any standard credit card. If you prefer the old school approach, please send your check, made payable to Jen Payne, P.O. Box 453, Branford, CT 06405.

Categories
Creativity Storytelling

Sleeping on Arch Street

A  100-WORD STORY

I slept on a cot near my grandmother’s bed in a room that smelled like eucalyptus. The aluminum frame squeaked when I moved, despite my small size and efforts to keep quiet. My grandfather slept in the adjoining room, his presence as unnerving as the Jesus portrait on the wall. The story goes he woke her once with a pitcher of water, threw it on the bed so she’d make his breakfast. I wonder if the train whistle ever disturbed him, pulled him down the tracks to the steel mill, back to the stacks and hot slag where he belonged.

 

 

 


©2022, Jen Payne.

Categories
Creativity

Upon the Death of a Friend, 1986

Of course you were the one to call. It was late, I remember, a rainy night like the last time we met. Cars on the wet, weathered pavement, wipers marking time. Starshine in puddles and you, light years away, saying you knew I’d want to know, knew he’d been important. You knew despite the distance in our orbits, despite our final kiss that birthed a galaxy between us. My heart. You knew.

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. Image: Mark Plötz.

Categories
Creativity Poetry

Summer Song at 4 a.m.



Lone Seagull

due east of the

Bell Buoy at Mermaid Rocks

is background vocal for

katy-did
katy-did
katy-did
she-did

and the
cicada cricket
chorus

while the frog
in the marsh
sings solo tenor

only
interrupted
by the
footsteps
of a deer

so I,
barefoot too,
ask her:

do you hear
the sound of stars?

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne

Categories
Creativity

Subscribe to Manifest (zine) today!

Three Chairs Publishing

I hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating International Zine Month 2022 and have learned a little more about zines and zine culture along the way.

Want more? Then be sure to subscribe to MANIFEST (zine) today! This hold-in-your-hands art installation features writing, photography, and artwork, along with bits and pieces of whatnot that interconnect with themes like change and transition, solitude, time, storytelling, and finding refuge in these turbulent times. Each issue includes fun inserts and a curated Spotify playlist. Layered with colors, textures, meanings (and music), the result is a thought-full, tactile journey with nooks and crannies for you to discover along the way.

The Fall issue, coming in September, includes an interactive component and I think you’ll have fun with it, so subscribe soon!

SUBSCRIBE NOW AND GET 4 ISSUES FOR JUST $25
To order individual copies, click here.

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Creativity

Now that you know about zines…

Three Chairs Publishing

Order copies of your favorite issues now!
Buy one at a time for $8 or subscribe and get 4 past or future issues for $25.

Issue #8, ENDEMIC
MANIFEST (zine): ENDEMIC is a response to the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, the proceeds from which will be donated to Sandy Hook Promise. Includes a curated collaborative Spotify playlist. (Color, 12-page 5×7 booklet, $8)

Issue #7, WATER
Inspired by the release of Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story by Jen Payne, this 7th issue of MANIFEST (zine) is a collaborative effort featuring work by friends and fellow creative spirits Tara Buckley, Joy Bush, Jimine Camille, Anne Coffey, Juliana Harris, Rhonda Longo, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, Kristin Merrill, Mary O’Connor, and Laurel Valli. Includes a full color, 24-page booklet, inserts, and a curated collaborative Spotify playlist. (Color, 24-page 5×7 booklet + inserts, $8)


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Creativity

Swan Song

The swan has lost her mate,
so I wade ankle-deep in the
shallow pond and

with breath like water

crossover
lie child pose
in her nest
surrogate heart
close to her side
and whisper

Far away, there once
lived a king
who had eleven sons
and one daughter…


Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. IMAGE: The Wild Swans, illustration by Joseph Smith, Tales from Hans Christian Andersen, 1965.

Categories
Creativity

Want to Know More About Zines?

Three Chairs Publishing

CURIOUS? Want to Know More About Zines? Then check out these links for even more of the zine scene!

Find out What is a Zine?

Visit Wikipedia: Zine

Read Stolen Sharpie Revololution

Check out a Zinefest near you!

Then…Make a Zine!

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Categories
Creativity

Preview: Cat Lady Confessions

Three Chairs Publishing


You can pay through PayPal using a PayPal account or any standard credit card. If you prefer the old school approach, please send your check, made payable to Jen Payne, P.O. Box 453, Branford, CT 06405.

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Creativity

MANIFEST (zine): Cat Lady Confessions

Three Chairs Publishing

Poor Cat Lady. She always gets a bum rap. No one ever makes fun of Ernest Hemingway, whose Key West home was filled with cats — and he of a certain age. His strapping action figure includes a typewriter and a shotgun. Cat Lady? She gets six cats, bed head, and a ratty bathrobe. Doesn’t she earn points for opening her heart wide open? for loving even the most unlovable? for her strong, independent nature; Her patience and acceptance? for her superpower ability to nurture trust, stillness, solitude, balance? This issue of MANIFEST (zine) explores the oft-maligned life of the cat lady: crazy or contemplative? recluse or dancing to the beat of her own drum? You decide.

OTHER INGREDIENTS: acrylic paints, appropriation art, collaged elements, color copies, color scans, colored markers, colored pencils, cracker box, crazy cat lady action figure, Golden gel medium, hand-drawn fonts, hand-dyed paper, handmade cat mask…

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Creativity

Zines Should Be Treasured

Three Chairs Publishing

“Creating zines is a radical act. People create zines to provide an outlet for their inner voice in a raw way. That should be treasured.” — Zahra Swanzy, artist, activist

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Creativity

MANIFEST (zine) Part of State-wide Art Treasure Hunt

Three Chairs Publishing

MANIFEST (zine) Part of State-wide Art Treasure Hunt

I am totally psyched to announce that I am one of 15 artists selected by SomethingProjects.net as part of their Connecticut statewide art treasure hunt called THE EXCHANGE, supported by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and Connecticut Office of the Arts!

THE EXCHANGE is the brainchild of New Haven-based artists Suzan Shutan and Howard el-Yasin. In the New Haven Independent article “Artists Map Our Treasure Hunt,” Brian Slattery explains: “The idea behind The Exchange…is ​to encourage artists to embrace and promote curiosity and precarity as action, to support and explore; ​to enliven and challenge the communities at our landings; ​to be the spark that ignites possibilities; ​to dually highlight local artists as well as introducing communities to new viewpoints and practices by national and international artists; and to ​encourage artists to step outside their boundaries and…

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Creativity

Hold-in-Your-Hand Art Installations

Three Chairs Publishing

When I published my first book, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, I imagined a complementary art installation: framed photos from the book, poems printed large and hung like tapestries, a CD of woodland sounds in the background.

I had other ideas, too. (I still do.)

A show at New Haven’s Kehler Liddell Gallery (2017) was a start. “Random Acts of Writing: Common Ground” — featuring three of my poems and one photograph — was included in INAUGURATION NATION, an open forum exhibit that responded to the political and social climate of the time.

That same year, large framed photos from my second book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, were featured in the exhibit WHERE THE WHOLE UNIVERSE DWELLS at Perspectives, The Gallery at Whitney Center.

You might recognize the theme of my very first art installation effort. Random Acts of Writing: Pushing…

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Creativity

What is MANIFEST (zine)?

Three Chairs Publishing


According to Wikipedia, a zine — pronounced zeen — is a small circulation, self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. It has no defined shape or size, and may contain anything from poetry, prose, and essays, to comics, art, or photography.

A zine is a multi-purposed publication form that has deep roots in political, punk, feminist, artistic, and other subculture communities. Original zinesters are rumored to include Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller.


Let’s consider…

MANIFEST (noun): a list of contents

MANIFEST (verb): to make a record of; to set down in permanent form

MANIFEST (adjective): easily understood or recognized by the mind

Then see alsoMANIFESTO (noun): a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer;

and see also, especially, MANIFESTING (noun) : the creative process of aligning with…

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Creativity

I wanna publish ‘zines…

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Creativity

But I Love The Zine

Three Chairs Publishing

If you think the digital age destroyed print culture, this short documentary may surprise you. But I Love The Zine explores the thriving zine scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. To devotees, zines are more than just self-made publications, they’re tools for building community and offer an antidote to the disconnectedness of internet culture. In this film, viewers are taken to studios, galleries, and zine conventions where they’re introduced to a dynamic small press community. Publishers like Jeffrey Cheung (Unity Press), V. Vale (Re/Search), Tiny Splendor, and Jess Wu (Mixed Rice Zine), share their process and explain why self-publishing matters. A film by Fiona MacDougall.

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Creativity

Preview: It’s About Time

Three Chairs Publishing

,


You can pay through PayPal using a PayPal account or any standard credit card. If you prefer the old school approach, please send your check, made payable to Jen Payne, P.O. Box 453, Branford, CT 06405.

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Creativity

MANIFEST (zine): It’s About Time

Three Chairs Publishing

We humans sure are creative with time, aren’t we? This arbitrary turning clocks backward or forward twice a year, assigning time to zones and lines and frames. I myself try to trick time, setting clocks randomly wrong and always fast as if I can somehow control the hours, beat the Kobayashi Maru of time. Even Albert Einstein said time is an illusion — “a stubbornly persistent illusion” — that time and space are merely “modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.” Of course, if you think too hard on things like that you end up down rabbit holes and worm holes…want to come along?

Then check out the next issue of MANIFEST (zine).It’s my favorite! It’s about time this time — time travel, time loops, time passing — a 28-page, full-color book filled with artwork, photos, poetry, and a curated Spotify playlist just for…

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Creativity

How Zine Libraries Are Highlighting Marginalized Voices

Three Chairs Publishing

Zines have long been a way for marginalized communities to record their stories and organize. Zine libraries are making sure those histories aren’t forgotten.

by Rosie Knight, BuzzFeed Contributor, December 2018

“Sweaty music venues, photocopiers, riot grrrls — these are the images that likely come to mind when you think of zines. Though the women-fronted punk rock movement of the early ’90s is often thought of as the time when zine culture thrived, the reality is that zines have long been a way for marginalized communities to record their stories, spread information, and organize. From the wood-printed abolitionist pamphlets created by the American Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s to La Catrina satirical cavalera cartoons made and distributed by José Guadalupe Posada in the 1900s to the handouts the Black Panther Party disseminated in the ’60s, zine culture as we know it today was created by, and built to fit, the…

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Creativity

Girl, Cat, Fish

Some days, I feel like the girl in the tub with the fish in the comedy show hitting so close to home but so far out in left field that eating popcorn while I watch doesn’t seem nearly as awful as eating chicken wings during an episode of Criminal Minds. Me and my dying cat curled up on the floor, my hand stroking her tail — and only her tail because otherwise she thinks I’m about to stick another pill down her throat and she’ll run to hide from me. It’s a terrible thing when a part of your heart runs and hides from you, but I don’t blame her. She likes me best now in the mornings, too tired and stiff for any chase. Instead we curl up, like the girl and the fish in the tub, floating there in the early morning hours as if nothing will ever change.

©2022, Jen Payne. Scene from Hulu’s Life & Beth.

Categories
Creativity

3 Chairs at Quimby’s in Chicago!

Three Chairs Publishing

3 Chairs at Quimby’s in Chicago!

When I come back in my next life I want to be an artist AND I want to work at Quimby’s in Chicago. Quimby’s is an independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines and ephemera. They favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow — and they are super enthusiastic about what they do!

Since I’m not dead yet, then I just have to enjoy Quimby’s vicariously through their website and weekly “New Stuff Saturday Livestream.” Check it out!

BONUS: If you watch the recent New Stuff Saturday and stay tuned to timestamp 20:20, you’ll notice a couple of familiar things in the pile: Manifest (zine) and Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

That’s right, as of now, several of Three Chairs Publishing’s creations are for sale at Quimby’s. Get your butt to Chicago now…

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Creativity

Preview: Crickets

Three Chairs Publishing

24-page, full-color 4.25 x 5.5 booklet, inserts + curated Spotify playlist, $8.00


You can pay through PayPal using a PayPal account or any standard credit card. If you prefer the old school approach, please send your check, made payable to Jen Payne, P.O. Box 453, Branford, CT 06405.

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Creativity

MANIFEST (zine): Crickets

Three Chairs Publishing

Storytelling is in our DNA says Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong. We share our stories because “we feel most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories.” That process, she explains, causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin, the chemicals that “trigger the uniquely human ability to connect, empathize, and make meaning.” So we write. And we create. No matter who listens or responds. Crickets be damned.

MANIFEST (zine): Crickets is a riff and a rant about the consequences of creative bravery. It’s a 24-page, full color booklet that includes a curated Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

• Read the BROKEN PENCIL zine review.

INGREDIENTS: appropriation art, black-out poetry, collaged elements, color copies, colored markers, ephemera, hand-drawn fonts, ink jet copies, laser prints, vintage illustrations, watercolor paints, and “11 Cute Facts About Crickets.” With THANKS to to the British Library Digital…

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Creativity

How to Zine — Three Chairs Publishing

Now that you’ve been learning about zines all month, are you thinking of making your own? On her website on “Hooked to Books,” Grace Plant suggests How to Make a Zine in 10 Easy Steps: Decide on your theme Choose a name Plan your features Choose a format Use a template Print a master copy […]

How to Zine — Three Chairs Publishing
Categories
Creativity

Preview: Refuge, A Quarantine Zine

Three Chairs Publishing

36-page, full-color 5.5 x 8.5 booklet, inserts + curated Spotify playlist, $8.00


You can pay through PayPal using a PayPal account or any standard credit card. If you prefer the old school approach, please send your check, made payable to Jen Payne, P.O. Box 453, Branford, CT 06405.

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Creativity

MANIFEST (zine): Refuge, A Quarantine Zine

Three Chairs Publishing

Thisspecial “quarantine zine” features the words and images and thoughts within which we found REFUGE last year. The literal and figurative reflections, the comforting quotes and laugh-out-loud memes that kept us breathing all those long months, and helped us regain our sea legs when it seemed like the worst was behind us. Includes a full color, 36-page booklet, fun inserts, a curated Spotify playlist, and more!

OTHER INGREDIENTS: acrylic paints, appropriation art, collaged elements, color copies, color scans, colored markers, Dymo labels, ephemera, essays, Golden gel medium, hand-drawn fonts, ink jet copies, laser prints, mixed-media collage, original photographs, pigment inks, poetry, rubber stamp art, and watercolor paint. With thanks to Lola, Jou Bush, the Red Cross, Lindsey Antin, Greater Good Magazine, Malene Thyssen, Emily Dickinson and the Emily Dickinson Museum, George Tooker, Pexels, Friends & Company Restaurant, Madison, CT, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Dorney Park, Rainer Maria Rilke, Elena Mikhalkava…

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Creativity

Zines: The Power of DIY Print (short documentary)