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Tuckamore Design is a very small handcrafted card and print company based in Buffalo, New York. I'm a Canadian transplant, originally from Newfoundland. I've been a printmaker for 15 years, almost as long as I've been an architect. I never formally studied art, but I've taken classes from a handful of amazing artists at Dundarave Print Workshop in Vancouver, BC, and NSCAD in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I love paper, especially since I spend a lot of hours every day working on a computer for my other business, Design Synergies Architecture.

I also love to create handcrafted greeting cards for everyday and seasonal occasions. When the inspiration hits (and I have time), I make the occasional original print. Every piece is printed by hand or on an etching press.

In the early days, my prints and cards were featured at the Canadian Craft Museum, the Craft Association of British Columbia shop, and various exhibits in Vancouver and Halifax. My cards have been sold in shops in the Maritime Provinces, Buffalo, NY, and most recently in Martinsburg, West Virginia! Through my Etsy site, my cards have been sent all over the world.

My work is influenced by Celtic and Art Nouveau design, by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and by the Arts & Crafts movement. I found inspiration for several years in my front porch container garden in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo, and now I'm daydreaming of spring in my new backyard garden.

My favourite medium is linoleum block printing, especially blind embossed prints (deeply impressed and printed without ink). I'm about to embark on a watercolour adventure, and I'm wondering how that will find its way into my printmaking....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The art of time managment

I decided that I have to set up a regular schedule for myself so I can juggle all of the things I'm trying to do on a weekly basis.  I'm a list maker, and schedules are right up my alley.  Sticking to them is a whole other story.

When I made up my little spreadsheet, I found out that I "need" to spend almost as much time doing other stuff as I spend at my day job each week.  That's a little on the crazy side, I think.

Quitting my job isn't an option.  Neither is working part-time.  Winning the lottery would solve a lot of problems!

So, my solution is to add a heavy dose of reality to my time management skills and set reasonable time frames for my writing (I also write a green design column at Examiner.com), printmaking, volunteering (USGBC and other organizations), and architecture.  Oh, and still make time to get to the gym and take care of my garden.  Sure, no problem.
No wonder I'm asleep on the couch by 9pm.

It's not hard to figure out what's wrong with that scenario.  There are not enough hours in the week to accomplish all that I want to do.  Which brings me to the crux of the problem:  I set very high expectations for me.  I know I'm not the only one.  It must be a common problem amongst artists.  Or maybe it's just Leo's.  The trick is figuring out how to deal with it effectively, and that's something I'm still working on.

In order to make printmaking the essential part of my life that I want it to be, I have to make the time for it.  I'm toying with the idea of working my 40-hour day job in 4 days instead of 5, so that I have a full day to focus on art.  It sounds good on paper, but I'm not sure about the reality of it. 

Thing is, I already spend a decent amount of time at the office so compressing that into four days might actually be a good thing.  Knowing that I have one full day a week to print might make all the day-to-day drudgery easier to get through!

Printmakers - and artists who work in other wet media - will understand that you can't do this in an hour here and an hour there.  You really need - well, I really need - a concentrated effort over several hours, preferably at least half a day to really accomplish something.  There's paper to be cut or torn to size and soaked, new blocks to be sketched and carved, blocks to be inked, mistakes to be made, etc.  It's a time-consuming and often finicky process.

And you can't just leave in mid-stream:  once you roll out the ink, or the paper is soaked, you're committed.  There is a time limit in which things must get done or you'll be tossing things out.  That drives me crazy.  I hate wasting good paper and ink, or worse - rushing through the process and ruining a print.

I envy my friend Carol, who is a retired architect and a fabulous watercolourist.  She devotes time to her art, attends great workshops, and thoroughly enjoys it.  Retirement is probably along way off for me, but when I picture it (putting aside the current horror of my 401k) I see myself in a little printmaking studio with a tiny gallery out front, happily drinking tea and making prints.  Ahhh.

If only the lottery gods would smile on me, that would happen a lot sooner!

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