Coming into My Own

All Images by  Katie Kopan Photography

When I look back at my old journals, there are so many sentences that start with "Someday." I call them my Someday Letters. For every dream I have intended to pursue, I've written a compilation of letters as to what my life will need to look like in order to do so. My idealistic mindset kept me from even taking the first step towards what I wanted; instead, I spent that time tallying all the resources I didn't have in order to make it happen. I still don't have those things that I was certain I would need to establish myself as an artist, but I've found my passion in contributing to an ancient art form with my own contemporary approach. 

Modern Heirloom Studio came from a place of doubtful circumstances, unexpected permission, and honest reflection of who I am without my Someday Letters. When I left a great career path in higher education last year, I felt more whole than ever and simultaneously felt the vulnerability and risk of nurturing the artist in me, whom I had dismissed all my life. I didn't know where to start, so I gathered my first palette from kindergarten (that I some how had packed in my suitcase to move across the world in 1999) and played with inks and paper like I used to as a kid. I remembered my grandfather, a published calligrapher and poet from the 30's, letting me watch him work and beaming with curiosity about his craft. I had to dig into my own soul to find what I valued most as an artist. That takes time. 

It took almost a year for me to truly cultivate my work in marbling silks and linens. During that time, I had days (maybe weeks) of feeling like I was getting nowhere and asking myself if I even had anything to contribute to this world as a young artist. Developing as a marbling artist came with a lot of trial, error, and much doubt. In a time where mass producing a print is as trendy as it is easily available, I found myself immersed in a dying art form, where ink floats on water creating a design that can never be duplicated. A one-of-a-kind piece. In this season, I had to answer my own question above instead of looking to my circle of incredibly wonderful and supportive humans. I had to be certain for myself.

I'm committed to this work because I believe in it. I create completely original pieces using traditional methods dating back to 12th century Asia that cannot be reproduced. They are my irreplaceable relics embodying antiquity and modern day marbling. My hope is to be a young artist that shares the meaning of this timeless process and contributes to the continuation of this beautiful art form. 

If you've been along this journey with me, I want to thank you for asking me the hard questions, making me answer them, encouraging me when I needed it most, and giving me the permission and space I needed to come into my own. In a few days, I'll be adding another year to my life calendar, which means I'll have more wild and complicated dreams to pursue. This time, I'll do without my Someday Letters.


Thanks for all the love! And huge thanks to Katie Kopan for spending the morning with me capturing these images. They mean so much to me!




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