On Moving, and Becoming a Part-Time Mainer.
It's been complicated to figure out how to share this, because my business has always been defined in part by "Made in Maine." But, for the moment, I'm not in Maine! And it's changing the way I work a little bit. My partner Mike has decided (after many years of hard work and preparation) to go back to school to be a vet. (Right now he hopes to become a large animal vet, and hopes to find work serving dairy farms in Maine or New England). It seems hard to believe but in fact there is NO school for veterinary medicine in the state of Maine! (This is unfortunate, because the state has a shortage of large animal vets, but that's another story for another day.) So, we need to move out of state for vet school. He applied to at least a half-dozen programs around the country (and one in Edinburgh, Scotland!) and was accepted to a few great schools but UPenn offered him an *amazing* scholarship, so the decision was easy. We're moving the family to Philadelphia so Mike can study veterinary medicine at UPenn. It's a class of only 100 students (out of thousands of applicants) so it's pretty special to be a part of this program. He'll be studying like crazy for the next few years to earn his degree (think med school, but instead of studying just human anatomy, he has to learn all kinds of different animals!) and in the end he'll never earn as much as he made at his old job. But it's something he's passionate about, and he's working super hard to make it a reality (and he's always supported my crazy dreams), so... here we go!
We'll be living in West Philadelphia during the school semesters, and coming back to Maine to live with my parents in their big old farmhouse in the summertime and during winter breaks, and the girls and I will probably spend some time more back in Maine during the semesters too. So we are still in Maine, part-time. And my studio is also staying in Maine, full-time! We don't have space for a studio in Philly, and I love my spot in Cornish, Maine. I also love my studio-mate Sabrina, who has an amazing business of her own, and who will be helping me with printing and filling orders at the studio, while I'm away. We won't stop doing any of the things we've always made. I'll still be doing all the design work, and I'll still be printing and working in the studio for part of the year. But Sabrina will be taking on more of the silkscreen work while I'm gone. And now I'm starting to add in a little bit of new work to my shop, partnering with other makers (mostly in Maine, but some in USA and even one amazing company in Poland!) and exploring new techniques that work with our itinerant life (and raising two tiny children). Keep an eye on my shop for some new designs coming out soon!
So, I'm trying some new things, but still keeping the focus on special, beautiful designs, high-quality, ethical production, green materials and environmental responsibility, and creating fun and special products that are beautiful to give or to keep, and useful & durable enough to last beyond the first impression.
I'll still consider myself a Maine maker, but now have one foot in Maine and one foot in West Philly. It's a beautiful city and I'm excited to be here. It's a lot of fun and there's design inspiration everywhere. I've realized in the past that making big leaps into unknown territory is a little scary, but always leads to some fresh new ways of thinking, making, doing, or being. Here's to big new adventures, learning to grab hold of whatever opportunities come our way, without forgetting where we started from.