What I Learned From My Mother Letterpress Broadside
• Letterpress printed by hand in our studio in Brooklyn, New York on a Vandercook No. 4-T press
• A peony drawing of mine is letterpress printed in matte gold ink over a soft pink pool of watercolor I painted along the top of each page
• Text is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and printed in dark gray ink
• Printed on Crane's Lettra 100% cotton stock in soft white
• Edges are hand-torn, and the piece measures 11" wide x 13" high
• Printed in an edition of 100, each copy is signed and numbered in pencil along the bottom edge
• Available unframed or matted & framed (mounted on dark gray thick stock, the mat is Arctic White, broadside is mounted so edges are visible, frame is light natural bamboo)
This poem by Julia Kasdorf is one of my all time favorites - a beautiful line at the center sums up something I think we all know but often forget: "I learned that whatever we say means nothing, / what anyone will remember is that we came." It was a privilege to print these elegant words and I've paired the text with a pool of hand painted pink watercolor at the top, overlaid with a letterpress printed peony drawing of mine in matte gold ink.
The full text of the poem is:
What I Learned from My Mother
learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.
I've reprinted "What I Learned from My Mother" with the kind of permission of The University of Pittsburgh Press.