In May of 2011, I graduated from college with a degree in Computing and the Arts. I picked out this major during my Sophomore year after realizing that I really did not enjoy essays, no matter the subject. It seemed to me that all my fellow humanities students, no matter how diverse their topical interests, spent all their time doing precisely the same thing with their bodies: they sat, they read, they clacked out essays on their keyboards. So I decided to study Art and Computer Science.
This new course of study meant that I got to build puppets and steamer trunks and software. (Way more fun.) As graduation approached, I started dreaming about roaming around the country as a freelance programmer and (surprise surprise) bucking convention. I became obsessed with tiny houses and minimalism. Since graduation, I have taken very little work as a programmer and spent almost all my time in one small city. And yet, this is still one of my favorite books I've ever written. The particulars may have changed, but the values expressed here still resonate.
I wrote Art & Resistance in December of 2012 as a Christmas gift for my family and close friends. The original edition of the book was printed on an office copy machine and stitched together with string. After stitching each book together, I wrote a long letter of gratitude to each recipient on the blank paper cover. Finally, all the books were wrapped in hand painted wrapping paper. What started as a creative solution to a cash-strapped holily season has now become an annual tradition.
Art & Resistance quotes heavily from the work of Seth Godin, Hugh Macleod, and Steve Jobs. Seth Godin was a particularly strong influence of mine at the time and I actually emailed him asking if I could send him a copy of the book. He said yes, and I sent one of to him in New York - a highlight of the year, to be sure.
What Will You Be? began life as a poem that I wrote during my senior year of college as I was working on my thesis. My thesis ended up going in a different direction (you can read my thesis book here), but I kept the poem around with the hope that I'd develop it in the future.
I was reading Dallas Clayton's An Awesome Bookwhen I wrote the original poem and What Will You Be? is heavily influence by his work. If you haven't read An Awesome Book, go read it now. It's just beautiful. Dallas' writing has a levity and charm that brings a brilliant lightness to his work.
Fall 2013 snuck up on me and What Will You Be? ended up being a bit of a last minute effort. This was only the second Christmas book I wrote and I didn't decide to make it until quite late. In the end, I'm not sure how successful it was. I've been tempted lately to go back and edit it, but in the end I think the Christmas Book series is largely about marking time and I want to transparently share this work as it appeared that December. It's greatest strength as a piece, I think, is the fact that it firmly established the Christmas Book series, which is something I look forward to every year.
Peter the Platypus is the third book in my annual Christmas Book series. I usually write my Christmas Book in response to major themes that arose during the year, and Peter was no exception. This year I moved back home to Owosso, converted to a deeper understanding of Christianity, and attempted to put obedience to God at the center of my life. This year's book rotates around those themes, following Peter as he attempts to find his place and purpose in the world.
As usual, I printed the books on standard office printer paper, bound them by hand, and addressed each one with a note of gratitude. This year I opted for individually lettered envelopes instead of wrapping paper.
You can read Peter the Platypus in full for free by downloading the PDF here. If you would like to purchase a hand bound copy of the book, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pie Car | Apr 2013-14
"You've been invited to share in the shameless shenanigans of Heather and Erin!"
So began our invitation to the first Pie Car, which was performed in the living room of my apartment during the Spring of 2013. The project began as a fundraiser for my then 15 year old sister to attend Circus Smirkus summer camp.
The show included juggling, singing, the throwing of pies and the serving of corn dogs. It was dinner theater at its finest and we raised over $600 in just three performances.
We performed "The Pie Car II" during the Spring of 2014. We upgraded to a donated space in a former lamp shop in Downtown Owosso and a third cast member: Zane Jordan. The three of us rigged up a cardboard frame for our stage and built our own rigging to pull the curtain up and down between scenes. Luckily for us, the lamp shop had left lots of hooks screwed into the wooden ceiling.
Neither of the two Pie Cars would have been possible without our amazing families. They performed cameos, sold tickets at the door, plated corn dogs, and ran sound and lights.
The photos here are promotional shots and a few behind the scenes glimpses of production. I've also included Erin's audition to Smirkus's travelling youth circus and a video I made to promote the first Pie Car in 2013. Though these video weren't part of either production, I think they give you a sense of Erin's style and the general clowniness that ensued during Pie Car and Pie Car II.
The Pie Car Promotion Video
Erin's Circus Smirkus Audition
Marquette Trail 50 | Aug 2014
On August 14th, 2014 my Mom and Papa ran 32 miles (50K) through the woods. It took just under 9 hours and Erin and I crewed them all day, carrying their emergency supplies from pit stop to pit stop. It was a beautiful weekend in Marquette and an absolute gift to be up there with them.
I was moved by this event. I was moved by my parents' athleticism, moved by the natural beauty of Marquette, and especially moved by the group of 200 or so trail runner that finished that race. They are a well connected community of kind, generous people that laugh easily. They strap water bottles toe very part of their body imaginary and they all drive Subaru's. They are epic and amazing and crazy, just like my parents.
Crewing the Madness
#O2A2 | Aug 2014
In August of 2014, I walked 80 miles from Owosso, MI to Ann Arbor, MI. I left from the driveway of my childhood home and arrived at the entry gate to Mark’s Carts, the summer time home of of a half dozen food carts in downtown Ann Arbor. Ben met me for lunch and we celebrated with Mexican coke and a large plate of dumplings. This trip was the realization of a long standing ambition of mine to take a very long and absurd walk across America. Here’s hoping that the next trip will be even longer and more absurd.
A weekly podcast about art supplies and the people that use them, co-hosted with Kathy Campbell. Thirty eight episodes and still going strong.
In the summer of 2015, I completed six interviews with friends, family, pastors, and theologians about the state of the Christian church in America. These long form conversations were designed in response to the work of Krista Tippett on her program On Being. Krista publishes her unedited interviews with guests alongside her highly produced programs for public radio broadcast. These interviews have always been my favorite part of her work. I've attempted to achieve a similarly open and inquiring tone with these conversations.