Relief Printing

Two years ago, I arrived in Colorado empty-handed and open-hearted with the hope that one day I would be able to give and receive, pieces of myself and parts of the whole. I set out to create a vibrant life, which meant I had to settle my own jangled nerves and seek connections that at once put me at ease and set my heart on fire. Denver was the first place that made me feel warm on the inside.

Building community, and the relationships its relies upon, takes time. It also requires healing the jagged edges that have made me sharp, and so I must soften in order to vibe; a shared compassion. My trip to the Dominican Republic was a defibrillator – one paddle above and left of the heart, one paddle below and to the right – that sent an electrical current at exactly the right moment to renew a pulse that was ready to beat more loudly with less ache and more coherently with less effort.

I took this heart with me to DC, where it jumped for joy at the details it recognized and remembered: a forgotten fancy DC wardrobe, a metro card with the monies on it, Supreme Court protests, the phenomenon that is Philz Coffee, Kramers bookstore bar, Eastern Market and A Street SE, dancing to Madonna’s Like a Prayer in front of the White House on the way to Old Ebbitt Grill – silly flashing in the face of formality. I was surprised at how at home I felt here, of the life that came rushing back with the people I used to see, the places we used to go, and the things we used to do.

This reunion, like my time with friends in the Dominican Republic, deepened connections that had been separated by time and space, whether it was old souls, work colleagues, or acquaintances who had admired each other from a distance. We all, at one point, shared experiences (as well as ourselves) at various depths; to arrive at where we left off last was also an assessment of how to move forward, in what capacity.

For me, DC allowed me to relive a history of all the things that light me up. It also gave me grave clarity around the things that no longer do, of what I’ve outgrown. This stark relief was exactly that – a relief. It is similar to relief printmaking, a process by which the printing surface is cut away so only the image is revealed and raised. And so only parts of DC will be inked and reproduced, transferred as the woodcut, linoleum cut, letter press, and rubber or metal stamping – the art – that will be made back in Denver.

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