September 11, 2013

No Small Measure: A collaboration between poet Amish Trivedi and artist/printer Jamie Karolich

No Small Measure is a collaborative portfolio of letterpress printed broadsides, which was organized by artist Margot Ecke, curator Beth Sale and poet Ezekiel Black. Fifteen poets have been paired with fifteen artists and each group was asked to create a letterpress printed broadside. The project was made possible with funding from the University of North Georgia Art Galleries with a generous grant from the Forsyth County Arts Alliance. Over the next several weeks, each collaborative team will be interviewed and asked about their experience working on the project.

Our first interview features poet Amish Trivedi and artist and printer Jamie Karolich.

A Conversation with poet Amish Trivedi:

Have you ever worked on a broadside with an artist before?
No, I've never had the opportunity to a) do a broadside or b) work with anyone on a visual presentation of my work beyond my few chapbooks. When Ezekiel wrote, I said yes right away for this exact reason!

What are your thoughts on the collaborative nature of this project? Was it intimidating to pass along your poem to an artist you had never worked with?
I had a lot of fun, though obviously my part was done before I even knew of the project. I was, I must admit, a little nervous at the prospect of working with someone else, but I realized that what Jamie was doing I could never do so it made it much easier in terms of "collaboration." My part of collaborating was just sitting aside and looking as pretty as I could! I feel like "intimidating" is a strong word, but again, I was nervous about sending poems along, mostly because I've been having a rough year in terms of writing/publication so if she hadn't liked anything I sent her and wanted something new, it might well have been terrible! So that was nerve-wracking, but it worked out just fine, so no problems at all.

I hear that you will be collaborating in the future. Can you give us a hint of what might come next?
Yes, there has been discussion on doing something in the future. Mostly, I enjoyed the process and I think it would be wonderful to work together again down the road.

A Conversation with artist/printer Jamie Karolich:

How did you approach the design for this poem?
My approach was varied. The poem was a bit dark, and I wanted to pull the viewer in visually, while keeping the poem front and center. I was initially drawn to the idea of a cross stitch theme for several reasons A) In the era of Mary Todd Lincoln cross stitch was a very popular pass time B) Cross stitch for most conjures a feeling of nostalgia usually pertaining to a grandmother or family member C) Cross stitch is recognizable and relatable and last but not least I am an avid knitter and cross stitcher, I always try to work some part of that interest into my printed pieces.

So I began incorporating the cross stitch look and feel into the piece, but wanted to keep it simple. Like a sampler you might see in your grandmothers house. Using the cross stitch as an approachable visual aid, I felt this would draw the viewer in to read the poem which would ultimately create an interesting juxtaposition between the poetry and the printed piece.

What are the challenges for the artist when responding to a poet's work?
Mostly I wanted to do the poem justice. But just like a visual piece the viewer/reader can interpret the poem differently than the creator may have intended. It was important to get an understanding of what the poet was writing about in order to create a visually interesting compliment to the written piece.

For more information about Amish, please visit his website: http://www.amishtrivedi.com

For more information about Jamie, please visit her website: http://www.jamieannekarolich.com/

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