The end of my newspaper column, and the start of something new

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Dear Readers,

For more than seven years I’ve been writing my art & craft column on seemingly borrowed time. Against a backdrop of doom, gloom and uncertainty for the journalism profession, I focused on the positive and conducted hundreds of interviews with West Michigan artists and crafters and typed up stories for you to read every Sunday. I did this happily for years knowing that the time would surely come when a giant hook would pull me off stage and that when it did, I wouldn’t want to leave. Sadly, that time is now. The gig is up. My newspaper column has ended. (You can read my last newspaper column here.)

And while I fully plan to continue writing stories for you and publishing them via CraftSanity.com, the space I began preparing in 2006 in anticipation of this day, it’s important that I express my gratitude to all you folks who supported me in one of the best gigs ever. The pay was low, but the people I interviewed and the readers who returned every Sunday gave me a sense of purpose that made me feel rich. I documented everyday people making extraordinary things and I loved every minute of it.

I’d like to thank my column readers for letting me be part of your handmade world for the last seven-plus years. Your stories are like gold to me and I thank you for trusting me with them. I enjoyed our handmade adventure so much and I’m grateful that I got to meet so many of you. You’ve enriched my life in ways I can’t completely put into words, so I decided to make a quilt in your honor. (Check it out here.)

Many thanks to my awesome husband, Jeff, and the former Grand Rapids Press editors who hired me and helped me get my column started. You folks saved me from many embarrassing typos and I really appreciate it. Thank you all so much!

I feel a bit like a fish out of water today, but I’m diving back into a bigger pool of my own design. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to be way more fun than writing stories that get buried behind the real estate ads. :  )

Here’s what is on tap:

IMG_6287* I’m working on a plan to continue writing about West Michigan artists and crafters. I’m interested in securing grant funding or some local sponsorships to keep writing columns. Email me at jennifer@craftsanity.com if you’re interested in partnering with me on this front.

* The CraftSanity Podcast, my saving grace, will continue on a weekly basis. You can subscribe (iTunes / RSS), sign up to be a Patreon sponsor, suggest a story idea, or contact me about establishing a long-term business sponsorship.

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* I’m also looking to relaunch CraftSanity Magazine. Contact me if you have any project or story ideas. There are also advertising opportunities available for this publication, too. In the meantime, past issues are available for sale in print and PDF formats.

IMG_5587* I will be carving blocks and printing more on my etching press. I will announce new products as I add them to my online shop.

* You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and stay up on the latest CraftSanity videos. I’ll be recording new weaving tutorials soon featuring my CraftSanity Looms. If you you have any craft tutorial requests, shoot me an email and I’ll add them to my production list.

IMG_2184* And now that my newspaper gave me the boot, I’m taking it as my cue to kick of my independent study of letterpress printing. This is not a joke. I’ve been interested in letterpress printing ever since I learned about it in journalism school. Then, I got more interested when I took up printmaking. Now, I’m in the market for a functioning letterpress and type, so let me know if you have any leads on a press and some cool fonts.

* I’m also going to be sending out a email newsletter so we can communicate on a regular basis. You can sign up for that here if you haven’t already. And if you know any column readers who do not have web access, email me their contact information because I’d like to find a way to stay in contact with them, too. Email me or write me at P.O. Box 888182, Grand Rapids, MI 49588 and I’ll let you know what kind of creative solution I work out.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my career and exited about the opportunities ahead. Let’s do this. : )

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