Often times, simple is the most beautiful. Something made with time and skilled hands brings the most satisfaction to both the maker and the collector. There is richness in a handmade life that cannot be recreated by a machine or purchased through a drive through window. It takes dirt on boots and ink on fingers to know that the mess that is created is one that is personal and just the thing.Letterpress printing is tangible. Each run through the press leaves not just a color behind, but also an indentation, a mark that nudges an elbow reminder: someone made this. Not a machine, a person. There is care and intention in each page.
Megan Fowler of Brown Parcel Press produces vibrant, striking letterpress design in an old 1920s general store on her farm in rural Georgia. She is a mother, a farmer, and a maker. Her daily life is a balance of each of these things, yet they all are handmade, simple.
And, like anything worth its salt— it bears the beautiful marks of hard work.
Megan shares her daily life and process with us: a beautiful glimpse into the creative lifestyle and process of a working artist.
4:00: Emolyn, my daughter, wakes up and calls out for “Mama”. I bring her back to bed with me for some snuggling and a few extra winks.
5:45 – 6:00: Time for everyone’s “go juice”. Milk for Em and coffee for me.
6:00 – 7:15: Everyone gets ready for the day, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, letting house animals out for their potty break, i’m sure you know the drill. This is one of my favorite times of day. Sometimes we’ll put on a record to set the tone for the day or stream some NPR Tiny Desk videos on YouTube.
7:15: My husband leaves for work or grad school, and Em and I suit up for chores. Muck boots and flannel, what every girl dreams of!
7:15 – 8:15: Animal Time! We make sure nothing looks awry and feed and water the animals for the day. The chickens get let out of the barn, the goats come out from their fencing, mules and donkeys are hayed and our small population of farm kitties are fed and petted. Pigs get taken care of last, but they get extra attention and ear scratching.
8:30 – 11:30: Inside play with Emolyn. We paint with watercolors, play with blocks or all of “her babies” (stuffed animal friends), read books, and dance our hearts out in the living room. **In Spring and Summer this would also be our time to tend to the garden.
11:30 – 12:30: Lunch– usually soup and toast, or eggs with fruit and cheese. There are lots of eggs eaten in our house.
12:30: Em goes down for a nap.
12:45 – 3:00: Focus. This is when I’m at my freshest and have the fewest distractions, so it’s press time. I work on new designs, return emails, package shipments, etc. Because letterpress printing is so labor intensive I don’t print during this time unless I absolutely have to– I hate rushing through a print job, so I normally print on weekends when Brad, the hubby, can help out with Em. Also my mom and printing partner, Gaelle, is here almost every weekend so we can work much faster printing together.
3:00: My daughter wakes up slowly, so we share a snack, and I have a hot cup of tea.
3:30 – 4:30: Time to get some fresh air. We walk around the farm, check on animals, collect eggs, and pet kitties (again!). It’s also the time we collect bits of nature to bring back to the porch. Sometimes it ends up in a design, sometimes it ends up in our pockets, and sometimes it ends up on our window sills.
4:30-6:30: We either use the late afternoon to catch up on some errands in town, bake something, or just hang.
6:30-8:00: By this time Brad’s home, so we make dinner and eat together and then close up the chicken coop.
8:15: Story time and bed time for Emolyn. Her current favorites are, “Scat, Scat” and “The Monster at the End of this Book”… we talk about Grover a lot.
8:15-9:30: More time for Brown Parcel.
Bedtime happens, but it’s never a guarantee when it happens. Balancing work and family is a relatively new challenge for me. It is extremely important to me that when I’m with my daughter and my husband I do my best to focus on them and not have my attention split thinking about the press or what I have to do when x, y, or z happens. But, i’ll be the first to admit that this doesn’t always come naturally to me. I’ll stay up a little later than my eyes want me to if it means I get a quiet moment with my husband. He had a health scare earlier this year, and that is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult way to learn where your priorities are. Some days are a little tiring, but I feel like it’s exactly where i’m supposed to be right now. I try to remember to always keep my eyes, ears and taste buds open, because inspiration can come from anywhere.