I've been a cartographer for more than 30 years and have worked making maps for the City of Fayetteville for most of the last decade. I'm old enough that when I started in school we still drew maps with Rapidograph pens and cut patterns with an X-acto knife -- the craft of it always appealed to me -- but I changed with the times and in recent years have spent most of the day in front of a computer. Something gained, something lost.
I always liked pen and ink. I'm a hands-on kind of guy and am always drawing something, whether it's a doodle or my next furniture design. So when I finally started drawing pen and ink maps, I wondered why it had taken me so long.
Letterpress is a recent love. I'd already begun making hand-drawn maps and printing them on my inkjet printer when I saw the announcement of a letterpress workshop nearby -- a match made in heaven! The wonderful old presses were immediately inviting, and the quality of the product a perfect fit with my hand-drawn maps. I worked in an offset print shop in the 80's, so I wasn't a complete novice, but the vintage presses and tactile feel of the prints had me hooked as soon as I tried it. There's a great satisfaction to the simple process and human scale and speed of production, not to mention the gorgeous product.
Fayetteville, Arkansas has been my home for the last 35 years. I moved here in 1981 after living my first 30 years in California. Palo Alto, my home town -- or "Camelot" as Pati and I like to call it -- is kind of like the Garden of Eden: not a place you move back to once you've left. Not on my salary anyway.
Not that I've regretted it; Fayetteville is a great college town nestled in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, with beautiful scenery, miles of bike trails, great music and theater, awesome public library, and a flourishing cafe, restaurant, craft beer, and nightlife scene. Its combination of feisty liberals and down-to-earth Arkies keeps it interesting and real.
Other interests include baking (I make a mean sourdough-sprouted buckwheat-oat-wheat-spelt-barley-raisin bread), rustic furniture making, gardening, biking, and hanging out with my wonderful family, which includes wife Pati, five kids --step and otherwise-- and three fast-growing granddaughters. I AM HERE CARDS now lets me create fun and accurate hand-drawn maps -- which is what I always pictured myself doing anyway -- and combines it with working with these great old printing machines. Hope you enjoy my cards as much as I do.