Produced in Jacksonville, Florida
Creation Date – January 2018
Artist – Johanna Lawson
Technique – mixed media monoprinting
As I reflected on the last year and began contemplating the upcoming year, I was overwhelmed with conflicted feelings. On one hand, 2017 was wrought with hatred, sadness, and violence. So many mornings, I listened and learned about atrocities happening across my country and around the world. I cannot even count how many times I cried myself to sleep, only to wake up and cry all the way to my work as a school teacher. There, I was met with question after question from my students about how these horrible acts were able to happen again and again. I tried my best to explain and assist in their understanding of the world, but often I felt that I left them with more questions than answers. How do you explain this hatred? How do you comfort? I struggled with these questions every day.
On the other hand, 2017 was the best year of my life. I gave birth to and welcomed the most beautiful and amazing being into my family. Juno has filled my life with so many new experiences, loving embraces, and incredible moments and memories. She has taught me about myself, my spouse, my family. My baby girl inspires me and gives me hope.
As I was visiting with family over the holidays, I came across this quote by von Goethe.
“In all things, it is better to hope than to despair.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
At that moment, I decided to choose hope.
Every challenge, negative thought, or piece of bad news I have encountered this year, I try to focus on and dwell in the hope of that situation. I am working hard to find beauty and light in the darkness. As Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Yes, I am a huge Harry Potter nerd… I mean fan)
When designing this card, I decided to start with a little Wikipedia research about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was a German writer in the 18th and 19th centuries. By the age of 25, he was a literary celebrity. While he wrote a variety of essays, books, and poetry, one of his main focuses and passions was botany. Therefore, I decided this batch would have an organic and botanical focus.
To represent my feelings of despair and darkness, I started with black paper and began applying layers of hope. First, bubble wrap left over from the holidays. Apply the paint directly to the gelli plate, then use the bubble wrap (bubble side down) to lift some of the paint. I put on multiple squares in an effort not to waste any paint.
I also used the paint left over on the bubble wrap to create more layers.
Now, that I had a base, I added another layer of hope using the small circular gelli plate. My favorite way to use these small plates is as a stamp. Mount the gelli onto an acrylic block and apply paint. For this batch, I used one of my favorite monoprinting tools – the rosette. To make just cut a strip of paper the desired width and length. Score a quarter inch all the way down the strip, then fold back and forth (like making a fan). Bring the two ends together and glue. Flatten out the rosette and glue a bottle cap on for stability and a handle.
After applying paint, place the rosette on the circular gelli and twist. This removes paint and leaves a “burst” on the gelli. Now stamp using the gelli and the rosette.
The gold leaves were created using a stencil and gold paint. The last step was the white leaves along the edge. For this I used Golden Light Molding Paste. Place the stencil down first, then apply molding paste over the top in a thin layer. Gently pull the stencil up, leaving the molding paste behind. Dry overnight.
The finished product and batch are meant to inspire us all to continue to try to focus on the positive and beautiful things that surround us in this often dark and dreary world. My hope is that these cards will be a small light that you can send to someone who may be feeling overwhelmed by the shadows.
Beginning Saturday, February 3, 2018, small • batch • cards will be sold at the Riverside Arts Market. I will be setting up a booth once or twice a month through the summer.
Here is a list of dates small • batch • cards will be at RAM:
May 5th & 19th
July 7th & 28th