Jen Craun

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This Big and Small World.

The phone rang on Saturday afternoon. I was busy at the table pitting cherries for a large batch of jam. With red and sticky fingers, I let the call go to voicemail. After washing away all the ruby, I listened with interest to the message left by an intern of Zygote Press. It seems there was a customer in the gallery, looking specifically for my work, a piece he intended to purchase. I returned the call, and heard the booming familiar voice of this customer in the background pacing the gallery; I knew who it was with certainty before the intern had handed over the phone.

And it was moments later [from my studio at home] that I sold him the very print from the series he was seeking, and had visited Zygote specifically to purchase. Down to only four–three now–and the framed diptych that hangs in our Master Bedroom.

The circumstances–still a bit unbelievable–are so apropos to the print itself. It was from the Postcards Unsent Series, that I created during my 5-week Artist Residency to Dresden, Germany.  The trip was transformative to my work, and the very person that I am. It was an experience that further made my small world larger, and the big world seem all the smaller and so accessible, connected. I spent these 5-weeks mostly on my own, apart from my husband, and pregnant with our first child. This is more than seven years ago now. And when I see any of the few remaining prints from this series, I am transported immediately back with fondness, like it was just yesterday.

They are layered up little gems, using letterpress and intaglio with chine colle’. Each of them celebrates an aspect of freedom, and travel, of documentation and the record of experience.

Yesterday, I received the sweetest e-mail. The print was bought for a colleague within a department of the Ohio Arts Council that is leaving for another job:

…Last week I had asked her of all of the artwork we had at the agency what was her favorite piece and she had mentioned your print from Dresden.  I was so happy that you had a print similar to the piece we have hanging in our office.  Everyone here really enjoyed working with her and we will miss her a lot.  Your print will be a perfect way to remember her time working with us at the OAC….

Of course I love that she selected my work of all the choices, but the words that struck my heart the most deeply were: Your print will be a perfect way to remember, as they certainly have been for me, and how it resonates so perfectly to the very reasons in which they were created. And it got me thinking again, about this big and small world, and how connected we all really are by our experiences.

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