Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Reached My Fundraising Goal - THANK YOU!

"Zombi", the print for "Z" entry in the first book that
will be published by my small press, Cats A-Z. Seems
that at least for me, black cats are good luck!
So much for Friday the 13th being bad luck; I just achieved my Indiegogo campaign fundraising goal - in only 28 hours! Woo hoo!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared information about this campaign!


While I've cleared the first hurtle, I still need to raise additional funds to enact my business plan. I've applied for an interest-free, crowd-sourced small business loan and am currently waiting for approval to launch that campaign. Any funds I raise through Indiegogo that exceed $2000 go to reduce the amount I have to borrow to make this small press a reality. And that increases my press's chances for long-term success!

The Indiegogo campaign runs through April 24th. Help me keep spreading the word. Also, check in on my art blog Words On Woodcuts where I'll be posting eight original woodcut art cards as thank-you gifts for all the funders.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Help Me Launch A Press, It's Friggatriskaidekatastic!

Etymology: An English variant of Old Norse Frigg, (the Norse goddess for whom Friday was named) + Ancient Greek τρεῖς (treîsthree) + Ancient Greek καί (kaí,and) + Ancient Greek δέκα (dékaten) + -phobia.
The fear of Friday 13th. 

Friday the 13th ain't scary. Starting a small
press to publish art books, now that's scary. 
Lots of people still get the heebie jeebies about silly, old superstitions like Friday the 13th. But in the secular humanist community, where skepticism is a core value, it's more of a fun holiday.

For years, atheist activist Margaret Downey has hosted anti-superstition parties - hilariously themed as Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Centers on Friday the 13th, and offered a party kit to encourage other freethought groups to host similar parties. 

A couple of secular humanist friends of mine got married on Friday the 13th just because that's awesome. 

So here's the deal. I'm launching a small press to publish beautifully produced books featuring my fine art woodcuts. And while that is already incredibly awesome, I'm making it a tiny bit more awesome by launching the fundraising campaign on Friday the 13th. The campaign will last 42 days (ending April 24th) because, as we all know, that's the true answer to life, the universe, and everything. 

So why am I bringing this up on my Humanist Mom blog? What the heck does starting a small, artsy press have to do with secular humanism? 
Just a cover concept. Need a graphic designer to do it right. 

The first book to be published will be Cats A-Z, a cat-themed alphabet book for adults, illustrated with black and white woodcuts. Yeah, I know that sounds gimmicky and cutesy. But it's not. 

This book is completely reflective of secular humanist values, from expressing concern over the Iriomote Cat that has been driven to critical endangerment by human encroachment on its habitat, to giving a light-handed reminder of the successes of vaccinations. The book would please stalwart skeptics because while it celebrates the stories of cats who have inspired humanity, such as "Unsinkable Sam" of WWII fame, it also manages to tactfully question the literal truth of such myths. 

This book dispatches no grand statement. Rather, it is a series of vignettes where the artwork and prose raise questions and ideas that provide a jumping off point for quiet introspection. To me, someone who believes not in gods, karma or cosmic justice, an afterlife or eternal soul, a great deal of personal meaning can be found during such ruminations, which are usually inspired by nature or art. 

In addition to the book reflecting secular humanist values and hopefully providing a meaningful experience for readers, I like to think I've earned some street cred in the freethought community. I've devoted a significant portion of my entire adult life to freethought activism and communities. My involvement started in college with Students For Freethought at Ohio State University. I've been a camp counselor with Camp Quest and was one of the founding Board Members of the Secular Student Alliance. After college I serves as VP of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio, and since moving to Philly over a decade ago, I've served as everything from webmaster to VP, President, and now Secretary of the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia. I've even been a humanist celebrant certified by the Humanist Society, and I officiated funerals, baby namings, and weddings (including that one that took place on Friday the 13th.) I have many friends among the leadership in this movement. I've watched it grow and flourish so much over the past 15 years. 

Eesh, as I read over the last paragraph, it sounds like I'm trying to cash in on my years and countless hours of volunteer work. Seeing the freethought movement grow and flourish and having been a part of that should be it's own reward. And it is! Nonetheless, I am totally trying to cash in on my years and countless hours of volunteer work. 

All you Humanists and Atheists and Skeptics out there are "my people" so I'm asking for your assistance. This is my appeal to all of you in this community with whom I identify - check out my Indiegogo campaign and my website, and if you like what I'm trying to do and have a few bucks to spare, it would be tremendously appreciated. 

If you don't have any money to spare, just help me spread the word.

And if you don't even want to do that, it's cool. Unlike Mona Lisa from Parks and Recreation, I won't break your stuff if you say no.