Back in March I had asked my husband Tristan to come in to the studio and take a few pictures to use for the Kickstarter I had been working on for the past few months to complete illustrated field guides for all fifty states. I had set aside virtually all of my other work to undertake the project, had a massive spreadsheet of states and populations and dates needed by, lofty goals and a likely overly ambitious timeline. Part of the reason I had thrown myself so heavily into the project to begin with was as a distraction from the fertility issues I had been dealing with over the past year, so what I definitely wasn't expecting that afternoon was to get a call from my endocrinologist to let me know that I was pregnant. This photo was taken just a few minutes after that call, as I was coming to grips with life quite literally happening while I was busy making other plans.
I've had a difficult time in the last few months balancing the joy and excitement (and non-stop nausea!) of pregnancy with the very crushing disappointment in falling through on a personal goal. I had been moving at such a quick clip on the field guides, completing two or three a week, and I finally had the confidence to talk to people about the project actually happening, so to change courses felt at the very least deflating, and to a certain extent humiliating (I should mention I'm also Not Great at separating myself from my work). I packed away the almost 150 illustrations I had worked so hard on as I pared down my work routine into what I could manage in an unproductive day as nausea and fatigue kicked in.
I've had some time to reflect on it all since, and I feel a little silly for being so caught up in my own plans that I was prepared to throw away all of the work I did because it didn't come to fruition the way I had expected. As I was revamping the website I realized that I still really loved the work I had created, still care deeply about the project, and still plan on finishing it - just not quite as quickly as I had planned. And on that note, I'd like to start actually getting the guides printed.
In order to do this and maintain the affordability of the prints, I've decided to keep creating the field guides for each state, and as each state's design is completed it will be added to the web shop for a limited edition pre-order. Each state's guide will have a total of fifteen pre-orders available for a reduced price (and free shipping!), and once all fifteen are purchased the design will go to print.
I'm really excited about this option, and being able to find a workaround to creating this project that has consumed so much of my time and thoughts, and ultimately has changed the way I interact with my own environment. I've had such a positive response to this work, and my hope is that the series encourages folks to seek out and cherish the delicate systems of local biodiversity that make the places we love feel like home.
(... and not to worry - the perennial possibilitarian in me has already started scheming on a Field Guides to the National Parks Kickstarter for after the little one is born.)