With You I'm Home: The Olympic Peninsula Camping Trip That Inspired Our Best Selling Print
We have family in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and we traveled there in August of this year. It’s a two hour drive (or ferry ride) north of Seattle, and it is incredibly beautiful. Being there reminded me of the other time I was there, when my brother and sister-in-law got married in 2014. My husband Eric and I attended the wedding and then extended our trip to go camping up north in the Olympic National Forest. That trip inspired the design we have sold more of than any other card or print, With You I’m Home. In honor of Play Outside Day I thought it would be fun to share some photos from our adventure (including the very one that inspired the print)!
Not In The City Anymore
Eric and I were living in Brooklyn, NY at the time so being outdoors was something we craved. We both had a little experience camping and backpacking (I grew up in Utah and he went to college in New Mexico, both big outdoor recreation states!) but we were by no means experts. It just felt so good to drive away from the big city (the wedding was in Seattle) and get deeper and deeper into the world of trees and ferns.
The next day we did a day hike up to Flapjack Lakes (before I looked this up I remembered it as “Soggy Pancake Mountain”). It rained the day we went up there and it was chilly but beautiful.
We Weren’t The First, Or The Last
What I remember most about this trip is the contrast between the drama of the visual scenery and the dense quiet that enveloped us as soon as we hiked into the forest. Enormous blowdown and windswept trees crisscrossed the woods and the river. The only sounds were coming from the water and the birds, but looking at the roots and broken trunks of those trees you couldn’t help but hear the echoes of the storms that created such colossal disarray. Looking at the photos now it reminds me of my living room after my two toddlers go to bed, ha!
Taking Refuge In Each Other
I am not the first person to remark on how humbling it is to be surrounded by the evidence of so much time passing, so many cycles of life come and gone. Eric and I had only been married for a year, and we had just come from the wedding of his brother. We were in the thick of my mom’s illness and his dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s, and I was feeling particularly grateful to have a partner to be traveling through the chaos with.
I was happy to find this photo, the very one that gave me the idea for the drawing for our With You I’m Home print!
I experimented with the composition, and decided a more retro A-frame style tent was more aesthetically pleasing than our lumpy modern one.
These are the blocks I carved once I settled on the design (one for each color). At the time I made this, I was printing everything on this tabletop etching press, inking each color up by hand with a brayer.
Here are the three finished prints, we had them framed in our kitchen in our Brooklyn apartment for a long time.
Over time how we’ve printed With You I’m Home has changed. After I graduated from my etching press to a self-inking (but still hand-powered) tabletop letterpress, I printed everything that way myself for a long time. In 2017, pregnant with my first son, I hired my first printer, and we got a big floor-model press. That worked well for a while since we could print a bigger quantity of cards at a faster pace.
But as Heartell has grown, printing 3-color cards has become increasingly difficult because of how much space these cards take up in our production schedule.
The art print version of With You I’m Home has always been digitally printed, since I didn’t have the capacity to print larger sizes at scale. Over time I’ve gotten much better at translating my designs digitally. The woodblock textures and colors have been tricky to replicate but I’ve had a lot of practice now, and since the blocks wear down over time and digital printing is much more consistent, the cards actually start to look better printed that way. So last year we decided we could produce higher quality, more consistent cards with this design digitally, so we made the switch.
Who makes you feel like you’re at home, no matter where life takes you?
It has been incredible to see the response to this design. People often purchase it as a gift, and I love knowing my experience in Olympic National Park helped me express something that other people feel too. If this print has meant something to you in your life and you’d like to share your story with me, I would so love to hear it.