Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wolftree: A Gathering

Dear readers,

This past Monday Brooke and Noah hosted a pre-party for those who had been involved in creating Volume Two. It was a wonderful event and I wanted to share my impressions and the images I captured at this lovely little gathering! :)

The flags in town drooped- the wind was uncharacteristically absent- and sun stood alone in the blue sky. It was the hottest day of the North Dakotan summer thus far, and most of the state's residents were either in a pool or seeking refuge in air conditioned houses. 

Except us. We were a somewhat motley group- our ages varied widely, as did our history, but our faces all shared the same excited expressions. We sat around a wooden table in a studio space. The building had once been an old college, and was too old to have air conditioning. There was one fan weakly trying to stave off the heat, and we all had cold beverages in our hands. Sweat gathered on our brows, but we made light of the heat, for every second of potential suffering had been transformed into an opportunity to share our hopes and become inspired by those around us.

We were part of the growing Wolftree community. There were about 15 of us, and we had all contributed to the making of Volume 2 (which is released on the 24th of August!). We were the writers, makers, and dreamers who had been found or had found Brook and Noah and had shared our talents and our stories to create their beautiful magazine. Brought together by our shared passion for the beauty within everyday events, we were brought closer by the laughter and ideas that we shared over guacamole and artichoke dip. We discussed our pasts, and focused upon Wolftree's future. We croweded close together to catch a sneak peak at the Volume 2 mockup. We oooh'ed and we ahhh-ed; we laughed and (at times) we silently admired. I won't claim that we all left the best of friends, but we did leave feeling like we had met others who accepted us- who validated our efforts, who inspired us, and who shared our appreciation of  the oft overlooked beauty of the Midwest. 

Wolftree's kickstarter campaign has TWO hours left! They are $100 short of their goal! Please consider becoming part of their project and part of the Wolftree community! 

Thank you,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wolftree Magazine: Celebrating the Midwest

Dear Readers,
    Those of you who follow me on twitter, instagram, or Facebook are probably already aware of the fact that I am being published in Wolftree Volume 2 (I am so excited :D)! You are also probably aware that Wolftree has started a Kickstarter campaign to help their magazine grow. I have been asking people to check Wolftree out, to consider their project, and to help by donating or by spreading the word to others. What I haven't told you is why I personally am rooting for Wolftree Magazine. So today I would like to take a moment to explain and expand upon the three main reasons why I love Wolftree: 1) They are publishing a photo spread that is very dear to my heart, 2) Wolftree's mission lifts up artists and celebrates the unique character of the Midwest, and 3) Brooke and Noah Kupcho- the founders of Wolftree. 
    For those of you who don't know me very well, I am a twenty-two year old artist from a small-ish town in North Dakota. It is a college town, and there is a growing community of artists, writers, musicians, and dreamers. Our place in this town in still being negotiated, and opportunities to share our work are growing. However, I know that I personally have struggled to find a niche for my art within my home state.
    Then Wolftree was started. Finally there was a journal in the Midwest that celebrated the quiet beauty of everyday life and had an aesthetic that fit my style. I had stumbled across Wolftree on accident- I followed Brooke on instagram and she was selling beautiful wooden coasters to help raise money to launch Volume 1 of Wolftree. I bought the coasters as a house-warming gift, and Brooke and I began to email each other about Wolftree. I was (and still am) captivated by their mission, which is to "... support and encourage those who are taking risks, fully embracing the journey of life, and continually seeking for the beauty that is woven in and throughout the simple everyday ventures." ( But it was more than just their mission, it was how they pursued it that truly stood out. 

    Keeping with their desire to celebrate that which seems ( sometimes deceptively) simple and yet still beautiful, Wolftree Magazine embraces and aesthetically pleasing minimalist design. Much like Cereal and Kinfolk Magazine, Wolftree is more of an art book than a magazine, and is bare of any advertisements. The entire focus of the magazine is allowing the articles, recipes, and art to shine. Wolftree seeks to highlight the small moments and the people which give the Midwest its unique flavor. As Brook put it so wonderfully in a recent Wolftree journal entry, "we want the magazine to be something that celebrates others."

    This brings me to the Kupcho's. Brook and Noah are two of the founders of Wolftree, and could be called the heart of this young magazine. This married duo's shared love for all the different facets of the Midwest culture, and their adventurous spirits have molded Wolftree into the beautiful creature that it is today. As I mentioned earlier, Brook and I started emailing each other before Volume one launched. What I didn't mention was that when I arrived at the launch party, Brook saw me and immediately rushed forward to greet me with a huge smile and a hug. She had never met me in person before, yet she welcomed me with an open and sincere heart.
    Then, a few days after the event, I sent in an idea for a photo spread for Volume 2. I hoped for maybe a positive response and to exchange a few emails discussing the idea. Instead, Brooke enthusiastically replied and asked to meet with me in person to discuss not only my idea, but also Wolftree, art, religion, history, and the small moments that make daily adventures sparkle. Furthermore, Brook was open to ideas and suggestions, and when I offered to help edit the article for Wolftree she immediately accepted. Though Wolftree is the Kupcho's baby, they are not over-protective or jealous in their care. Instead, they choose to open their project up to the input of others. They are an entirely submission based journal, and the joy that they find in sharing the talents of others seems to shine through every aspect of their life. 
    These are some of the reasons why I love Wolftree, and I hope that you understand why I have been encouraging you to help the magazine via their Kickstarter campaign. The Kupcho's are a special couple, with a unique gift and vision, and they need our help to establish Wolftree into a self-sufficient magazine. They are currently halfway to their fundraising goal, and I know that with our help they can reach their that goal by the cutoff date. By supporting this project you will not only be funding a special magazine, but the widespread community of dreamers, artists, writers, and musicians in the Midwest. As Brooke wrote in a recent Wolftree journal entry, "Let's listen. Let's support. Let's celebrate others."
Let's start today.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Reflections on the idea of "Home" and a quick update :)

Dear readers,

I have never been able to give my heart to one place, on destination. Growing up, the word "home" was malleable in meaning- it could mean the state in which I lived (ND), the place where my mom grew up (WI), a specific house (whichever one we were living in at the time), or whatever house we were staying at while traveling. Like ivy, my family roamed across the northern half of the United States- we spread our tendrils out into the wide world while at the same time sinking our roots into my hometown for stability. Our bonds with our friends and with each other were our source of strength, and I could never quite give my heart to a particular town. It seemed like everywhere we traveled to had a different reason to be loved, a different flavor to enjoy.
I was not, however, a tumbleweed. My family was incredibly fortunate- despite being in the Air Force we stayed in the same location for much of my childhood. Our travels were to visit family and to explore the National Parks and wonders of the USA. I am well aware that many of my fellow Air Force friends were not so fortunate- I had many friends who were transferred to a new location year after year, who were truely like tumbleweeds drifting from one base to the next with each set of orders. No, I learned early that despite my love for travel I liked having a place to store my stuff, a place to curl up and read a book, to sleep in peace, to think in. Yet that location was not where my entire heart belonged. Perhaps you will call it the no popular term of "wanderlust," perhaps it is a testament to the wide world to which I was exposed to as a child, but the house and town that I grew up in do not hold my entire heart.
As I have gotten older I have begun to accept the idea that my heart may belong to a much broader place- the North. Places covered in lush forests and dotted by quite (and not so quiet) lakes. Places who accept the fact that snow will cover the ground for a greater portion of the year than the grass. Places full of hardy folk who know the importance of friendship and family, who know that the warmth of a gathering among friends can block out the biting winter chillls. How else can I explain the way my heart soars at the sight of hardy conifers, the majesty of bald eagles, the unforgiving expanses of the plains? The fact that I feel a kind of homesickness when I come across pictures of the northwest and northeast coasts of the US, when I stumble across images from England and Ireland? Is it possible to love the lands above a certain latitude? 

The above post is something I have been thinking about for the past few weeks. Below is the summary of my adventures via instagram photos from the past month or two. :) I have been camping, kayaking, learning new things, and learning more about myself as I go. :) I hope that everyone has had as lovely of a summer as I have been having! #adventureIsOutThere 

Saw the Postal Service for the first time!!! It was AMAZING!

Bob and I kayaking in Minneapolis! :)

Minnehaha Falls

Itasca in July

Itasca State Park! (If you are in Minnesota you should take the time and stop here!)

I got Bob up at five in the morning and we went and watched the sunrise paint the lake and the sky with soft purples and pinks. :)

North Dakota weather #thatNDSky

First time kayaking! :)

Reduce, Reuse, Re-cycle

The camping group :)



Itasca State Park- Seriously people, just visit it! :)

 Well, this post has been a bit of a smorgasbord of updates and ponderings! For those of you who are wondering, I am still working on my ISBN project, if you would like to take part please email me at :) For those of you who are wandering, exploring, and having adventures, I hope that you are having a blast!

Thank you for giving me your time and attention!

Until next time,
AK <3