Not Everything is Terrible

Print by kwohtations

I met a woman once, named Janine, and she worked at a “real job” and seemed like the other professionals I met on a daily basis.  And then I learned that she made incredible, inspiring, funny, absurd and sweet letter press and hand-printed cards on the side.  I learned because I received a card from the team she was on, and the card celebrated my legal wedding to my wife.  It had two gals on the front and said “Yay, You’re Married!” I flipped the card over and realized I knew the artist!

I immediately dug into her website and found she had cards for all sorts of important life events that are not covered at Hallmark.  Like begining your gender transition journey, coming out, and even apologizing for getting drunk. And she managed to provide cards that represented our multi-ethnic, multi-shaded society.  She has expanded into fun new territory, such as a card for recognizing that often we’re just trying to pretend we are more than we are until we can be that more. I’m enjoying following her journey and inspired by how she uses the material of real, sometimes terrible, life to make and share art.

Janine has long inspired me and made me think it might be possible for me to one day do something similar with my own creative process.  That day has not yet come, but she still makes me think big things.

I just returned to her website, read her blog, toured her Insta and perused her Etsy shop after a while away and I made a big purchase and stocked up on cards.  Some of them say things I didn’t even know I needed to say, so I’m grateful for her help!

I also snagged a bandana of the print above–to wear around and remind me that the world is not entirely garbage (which I needed a reminder of today).  I especially liked that “getting real mail” got a plug as one of the things that makes the world a not entirely terrible place!

Check out her site, she’s amazing at helping you say what needs to be said. You won’t regret it.


P.S. After a few very difficult years for me and my family, I find her cards for grieving-and the messy, confusing, weird, misunderstood process it is-are so on point and worthy of sharing. The grief flow-chart is sheer perfection:

by kwohtations

P.P.S.  The card above seems to be out of stock at the moment (I think I bought the last one!).  So hopefully it will be back up soon!

4 Replies to “Not Everything is Terrible”

  1. Although I love mail art and snail mail, I still find it difficult to wright sympathy cards. I know that even a bland card means a lot because everyone finds it difficult to respond to an important loss. Thanks for the links.

    1. Hi Jen. I agree–any expression of sympathy is an expression of care and support, even if we don’t know what else to add. Too often we avoid saying anything because we fear saying the wrong thing. And sometimes there are no words. But reaching out and connecting is almost universally the right thing to do, so we must keep trying!

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