Hello, ciao, and hola. My name is Antoniette and to finish off my summer, I joined Alissa Bell Press as their Summer Intern. My interest in letterpress and its process began a little over a year ago when I visited Alissa’s studio to pick up invitations for my sister’s wedding! Every second in her studio was a new learning experience as I watched various projects evolve from just a concept to the press to assembly and all the way to packaging and shipping. Not only did creativity and talent surround me, but I also had amazing company. In the hot Californian summer, her studio was definitely a solace.
Having lived in California my entire life, the heat of the summer is something I’m very familiar with. But the heat not only affects me as I crank the AC and down iced teas to combat it. California is taking a big toll as the state struggles with the severe drought. Because of it, signs and billboards scatter lawns, streets and highways as a reminder to conserve water. Cities and schools are allowing their blooming green grass to wither in hopes to not only save water, but to advocate for others to do the same. Many have exchanged lush lawns for a desert landscape that is more suitable for California and water preservation.
Some argue that not watering or switching to a water saving landscape can negatively effect their home’s aesthetic, but I beg to differ. These small changes not only make a huge impact but if dry grass isn’t appealing, succulents and cacti make a beautiful alternative. These types of plants show strength as they do more than just persevere the heat and drought; they thrive. In a time where California and Californians need to conserve and persevere, these plants do.
My intent with the project was not only to bring awareness to the drought, but also to show the beauty in the solutions. Conserving water doesn’t limit beauty, instead it allows us to think outside our norm and expand our definition of it. Cacti develop into beautiful shades of yellows, greens, and pinks. Flowers bloom and fruits sprout. There is life in its resilience.
Just as beauty resides in a solution to the drought, I also found it in an underlining message we can learn from it: everyone can thrive and find beauty in life despite being in their darkest times. Our lives are filled with change: we grow, adjust, and thrive. After all, 'the flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all' (- Mulan 1998).
Perseverance isn’t exclusive to the rough times in life (or California). For example, as I worked on my intern project, I found myself needing to persevere through developing my designs and realizing them. Every step of the process proved some difficulty in the meticulous process of creating a quality product to be proud of; have it be maneuvering professional editing software to tweak my designs, using all my might to splice the paper with accuracy, or in aligning my plates with the softest of adjustments. Even finding the perfect color ended up being a very cautious task. No matter, it accumulates to a beautiful design with an inspiring message that I’m proud of. I’m so grateful to Alissa for granting me this experience.
For more information on California’s drought, visit CADROUGHT.COM.
These notepads are now available in the Intern Corner under the shop tab. I hope they remind you to stay strong, find solutions in adversity, and thrive.