I'm normally not one for resolutions, but as 2023 begins, I can't help but reflect on the past year and think about the future. So, I thought it would be an appropriate time to introduce myself and Little Dog Print Shop and talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish in 2023.
I'm Anna and I am the artist, maker, vendor, marketing team, accountant and owner behind Little Dog Print Shop. I am an artist, sewist, triathlete, ice-cream connoisseur, casual swimmer, Aquarius, nurse, moonrise watcher, OG Friends fan and dog mom.
Little Dog (AKA Max) is my 15 year old mini-dachshund that is constantly by my side and not as helpful as you may think when it comes to running a business. His favorite pastimes are: sleeping on the couch, sleeping on the carpet, sleeping in the sun and eating second dinner.
Little Dog Print Shop has always been a part of me. From an obsession with tying friendship bracelets as a pre-teen to design school during college years to printmaking with adults with disabilities at my first real job to learning to sew my own clothes during off hours from my nursing career, the drive to be creative always pulls me back. I am a lifelong maker. I've made and sold art as a hobby throughout my life but never taken the leap to pursue it in a real way.
2022 was the hardest year of my life. I lost my mom (read: best friend, confidant, teacher, fortune teller, 5 star chef, peacemaker, leader, comedienne, guiding light, what am I forgetting? all of it). Grief is a funny thing. It surrounds us constantly---we've all lost grandparents, neighbors, friends, but I never really understood the resounding shock that smacks you in the face and follows you around for the rest of your life until this year. It changes you forever.
Six months after losing her, I realized how unhappy I was at my job. I realized I didn't want to spend the next 30 years slogging away to save a little money. I realized Mom supported every decision I made in the first 35 years of my life and if she were here she would keep doing it. Even if that means supporting quitting a good job to figure things out (though it would have been hard for her).
A year after her death, have I figured anything out? Not really. But I know I can't be sad and do thing I hate. Instead I'm trying to be sad and do things I love. So Little Dog Print Shop was reincarnated.
I first learned to block print when I was 15. I still remember the block printing rules my high school art teacher drilled into me: A good design should be about 50% positive space and 50% negative space and ALWAY KEEP YOUR FINGERS BEHIND THE BLADE. I'm embarrassed to say I don't always follow those two rules, but I will definitely always remember them. Amazingly, it is 20 years later and I'm still making prints. I love the imperfection of block printing. I love that it is so accessible: you only need a few tools and a small space. I love repetition. Can you tell?
So, here we are. 2023 is up and running whether we like it or not. Little Dog Print Shop is a heart driven endeavor to fill the world with beautiful, functional things and also to find a way to do what I love (making things!) everyday. I certainly don't know how to run a business, but I do have a few goals for 2023: 1) Sell at a market every month of the year 2) Make a learning series for how to print your own tea towels at home 3) Tea Towel Printing Kits for the masses!
It's going to be a rocky road, but I hope you will follow along with me and I hope I don't embarrass myself too much along the way.
I love you Mom. Thank you for your boundless love, support, encouragement and laughter. I'll miss you everyday.