Lindsay Curren Handmade Prints
Tell us about your business.For years I've done broadsides via computer design and found my hands longed to be involved too, and that I craved a more hand hewn look. At first I thought I would do letterpress, and still intend to with my small Pilot Press. But the higher level of risk associated with cutting the entire plate by hand — happy accidents and not such happy ones — felt like it was drawing me to an earlier time, one where the slowness of the process was its own lure. I plunged in and tied my aims to my other interests in sustainability, lower carbon footprint living, and a local focus. My depictions will always touch on the more natural, simpler aspects of life while adding wit and commentary through the lettering. The future will bring more solo art shows surrounding a unified concept, but also playful seasonal paper gifts — cards, posters, 3-D paper constructs such as mini dollhouses, animals, etc.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.My studio is in charming downtown Staunton, Virginia above a ragged antique shop, just 3 blocks from home. A wide central entry hall features a broad skylight and since my studio has no outside window — but a window onto the hall — I treasure the stream of light. Inside my studio there's a workspace and seating area with two crushed velvet couches, one a gooseneck. It's great for having friends visit when I'm working. My studio table is bar height as I'm tall and don't want to bend too much. I work standing to get leverage on the linoleum and use two focusing lights attached to the table. Tools, pencils, cds, and odds and ends litter the work table. An old wooden screen and wardrobe came with the studio. Under the window to the grand hall my sewing machine lives as I also make Christmas stockings, stuffed animals, and cat nip toys from vintage fabric. Books are stacked on the floor, there's various paper ephemera on the walls. and a wire shelf stores my art supplies.
What inspires you?I come from a family of artists and musicians. My earliest memories are of the people in my life valuing beauty and craftsmanship. I was fortunate enough to have had not only truly amazing grandparents, but also living great-grandparents who were equally rich in spirit and talents. My great-grandfather was an engraver at the national mint who also practiced a kind of etching transfer and coloration on glass for his private collection. I loved to watch him work, walk with him, and hear his stories. Today, I have 13 of his pieces — there are about 300 across the family — and their exquisite light and pastoral charm are a constant source of inner inspiration for me in the deepest sense, pervading my life purpose and rooting me to memory and familial love. But in a specific sense related to my own artistic sensibility, I am moved by lettering styles across the centuries, art that's intended to communicate meaningful ideas, and the will that's called out in hand made work.
What makes your business stand out?The intellectual bent behind much of my work turns ordinary pictures into concepts, rooting them in something bigger that audiences sense without it being too pedantic or hitting them over the head — making people think and discovering that they want to. So it's not about merely consuming another available product, but engaging with it. Additionally, the hand cut aspect of my work lends a bit of imperfection, that authenticity we crave in a too-techy world. When people actually see my carved blocks, that only underscores the stakes in creating the pieces and furthers the customer's sense of awe about the work. When doing live printings, or displaying my work locally, I often will display the block with it which helps sales and usually creates immediate fans.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Odds are that your new effort will likely be one of many over a lifetime. That means that even as you're hoping for a success, you're also experimenting, discovering passions, and finding ways to hone both your project and your ability to communicate about the project — to sell it. So adopt what the Buddhists call "beginner's mind." Be open. Let yourself learn. Integrate what you learn and build on it. Practice. Stay in touch with what you are drawn to, what moves you meaningfully, and honor it, giving dignity to whatever you create. And then follow some marketing blogs, keep good books, and don't be afraid to ask for what your work is worth — if this is a living, you need to have a keen sense of business or partner with someone who does.
What does American Made mean to you?As a person who's deeply motivated by the troubling impacts of natural resource extraction and the burning of fossil fuels, along with a half-century of offshoring much of our labor to far-flung locales where goods arrive from 10,000 miles away carrying an enormous carbon footprint, American Made suggests to me a much-needed revival of what we're capable of producing ourselves and the wealth inherent in doing so on many levels at once. American Made means connecting with and using the sustainable resources near to our locales, and by relating meaningfully to what we use, knowing how to care for it again so that it can continue to fuel our businesses, experiences, and healthy, peaceful lives. This is the rich territory of our own communities and neighbors, and the passion to mine our long-vaunted American ingenuity. It is breathing into life, engaging with our totality, and marveling at what we can do and how it can sustain us! American made is homemade, down-to-earth charm.
Mark Your Calendar
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE MEETUPNov. 7, 2014
Join Martha at the American Made Summit kickoff cocktail party.Buy Tickets Now
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 8, 2014
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City.Buy Tickets Now
RENEGADE CRAFT FAIRNov. 15 - 16, 2014
Shop for holiday gifts at the Martha Stewart American Made Pavilion.Learn More