Enough Is Enough

With the arrival of COVID-19 came an invitation to let go. This artist book germinated at the beginning of the lockdown in spring 2020, as I settled into isolation and reflected on my attachments. I finished production two years later, when faces began emerging from behind N95 masks.

How much is enough? In this catalog of belongings that I’ve given away or let go of, I examine the relationship between longings and belongings and the wrestle of generosity with attachment. It’s a record of practicing generosity, of making space for a sense of enough. After an object leaves my possession, the residue of attachment often remains. The greater the sentimental value, the longer the memory of the object persists, filling the space as if it had never left.

This endeavor to leave the world of never enough and abide in the space of enough is a daily, minute-by-minute practice. Occasionally I glimpse what it’s like to simple be.

Boots and quote by Pema Chodron
Text on the left side: “The journey to enlightenment involves shedding, not collecting. It’s a continual process of opening and surrender, like taking off layer after layer of clothes, until we’re completely naked with nothing to hide. But we can’t just pretend, making a big display of disrobing, then putting everything back on when no one’s looking. Our surrender has to be genuine.” Pema Chodron, No Time to Lose

Encouraging me in the practice of generosity are sages across time and faith traditions. “Enough Is Enough” features quotes from those sages. Their words appear on the white sheet opposite the image of an object.

Text on the right side: “It was February in Minnesota. In the homeless encampment beside the Mississippi River in St. Paul, layers of tarp blanketed the tents and coats over jackets made the humans puff out like wintering birds. My toes were cold after standing on ice for hours. A homeless friend pulled this pair of boots from a tent dedicated entirely to donated clothing. My boots, unlike these, had insulation. I never wore the boots my friend insisted I take. And he never called the phone number I gave to him.”

Paired with their words of wisdom throughout the book, my own reflections concretize the pursuit of ideals in a culture of insatiable craving. My words appear over the ghost image of each object.

The book consists of 16 folios and 18 single pages, all unbound and contained within a clamshell box. Each folio, printed on Thai mulberry paper, features an image of an object and, when the folio is opened, the negative space, signifying the giving away or letting go of the object. Behind each folio is a single sheet, printed on BFK Rives. On the front side is the ghost image of the object and my written reflection of that object. On the back side is a quote from a sage.

Intaglio plate of the boots image

To produce this book, I used an intaglio printmaking method for the image and monoprinting for the background. I letterpress printed the text from photopolymer plates at Minnesota Center for Book Arts on a Vandercook Universal 1. 

View a flip book version of “Enough Is Enough” >

When I began printing “Enough Is Enough,” I’d intended to produce an edition of 15. However, the printing techniques were challenging, and I ended up with only 6 copies. After 18 months of problems and challenges, my outbursts matched the title of the book, with the occasional variation of “Enough already!” I’m considering having a trade edition printed digitally, so more of the books can get out into the world. The price would be around $60. If you would be interested in a copy, please let me know. That will help me determine how many to print.

Enough Is Enough

2022
Intaglio, mono print, letterpress printed in an edition of 6
16 folios on Thai mulberry paper
18 single sheets on Rives BFK
Folios and sheets contained within a clamshell box
$1200

“Enough Is Enough” is a semifinalist for the 2022 MCBA Prize.

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