Americana- I believe in USA

This weekend Artifact Uprising began a three day challenge using the hashtag #AUAmericana. The point of this challenge was to inspire the users of Instagram to consider and share what it is that inspires them about the American culture. The winner of this challenge will be given the opportunity to take over AU's feed this upcoming weekend. Needless to say, when I heard about this challenge I was both excited and intrigued. I struggled to brainstorm ideas about what America meant to me- was it the snow capped peaks of the Cascades or the golden sunsets on the plains? Was it the people or was it the land? 

America is a mystery. It is both an ideal and a reality, and those two are sometimes completely opposite. Far from a melting pot where everyone harmoniously melts together, America is a land of opposites. There are people from the far right and the far left politically, there is a mixture of religions and worldview points, and there is a vast range of wealth- from the staggeringly wealthy to the heartrendingly poor. With all of these differences it is no surprise that Americans often disagree with one another, we disagree on healthcare, childcare, education, taxes... the list goes on and on. So what is it, exactly, that binds this country together?

To be honest, I am not sure. America is a multicolored coat, full of different geographic patches and held together by the stories of its citizens. I adore my native country, especially when I see areas where differences are accepted and become a celebrated part of the community. As a country we can be stubborn and proud, traits which are often at the root of our successes and our blunders. As a people… as a people we defy stereotypes and confirm them. We are both mainstream materialism and the counter-culture cry for simplicity. We are a people constantly struggling for balance. We are something, and

yet we are also its complete opposite.

It seems to be the people that bind us as a country- each person held by chains of love, family, and/or friendship to those around us. Link after link we add, and each added link brings with it the links of others, until we have a glowing web that holds communities together. Today, with the USA vs. Belgium game starting in less than an hour, I am reminded of those chains as they become more apparent with friends and strangers coming together and bond over futbol. Differences are put aside as masses of people pack into homes, bars, sports fields, or parks to root for a common cause.

I believe in USA. In its idealism, but more importantly in its people.

America is a mystery, one that is too vast to fit a singular definition, and that is part of its charm. The images below are an attempt to capture some of that mystery. The blanket was crafted for me by a relative, and the models are of my dear friend Anne and me. All images were shot with my Nikon D60 and edited using VSCO films. 

I believe in USA.


Artifact Uprising

Hello everyone!!!

Today I want to rave about a company I have been mentioning off and on for months: Artifact Uprising.  For those who are unaware, Artifact Uprising is a Colorado based company who focuses on creating high quality products while still staying environmentally conscious. You can read about their mission here. I stumbled across Artifact Uprising through Instagram (have I mentioned how much I love that silly but amazing app?), and was instantly hooked. I initially purchased a wood block and prints set- the images were all donated by artists and the profits went to help with the forest fire efforts in Colorado- and I was thrilled by the products quality. 

Then, months later, I decided to do a 2013 in review book using (mostly) Iphone shot images. I downloaded their app and began scrolling through my phone selecting images for a 5X5 Softcover Book. I did have a slight snag after I took a break and closed the app, as my work seemed to have been erased. However, after quite a bit of panic, I reopened the app and found all of my work had miraculously returned. It should be noted that that was the only time I have had that issue, so it was most likely a one time glitch and not a common issue with their app. 

After that small snag, I was able to quickly review my work and order my booklet. A week or two later a package from AU appeared on my doorstep and guys, it was like Christmas. My images looked fabulous, and the knowledge that the product was sustainably sourced and recycled made my inner tree hugger just swoon with giddiness. 

Seriously guys, I can not stop raving about this company to anyone and everyone. I carried around the book I made in my purse for a week and pulled it out to share with ALL the people. I still grab the book off my shelves and show it to family and friends when they ask about what fun adventures I had last year. AND they have expanded their products! Not only can you order Hard and Softcover books, wood block image sets, wood photo/book boxes, square prints, and calendars, but you can order their newest product, the signature print, as well as POSTCARDS! 

That's right. 


Now, some of you may not be aware of this, but I love mail. I love sending letters and receiving them. I love the whole concept of taking the time to actually write your thoughts down on paper and sending them out to dear friends and distant family. I'll let you in on a secret- I save most of the letters I receive and copies of many that I send out in hopes that someday they will be found by a distant relative or a complete stranger and through them future generations will be able to understand the past. So, it follows logically that I am absolutely thrilled at the ability to make personalized postcards! 

Currently I am working on another photo book and a  postcard pack, and I can't wait to complete these projects and share them with others! I am also hoping to create a book documenting the life of one of my Grandma's this summer, though I might just do the preliminary scanning and story collecting and create the actual book next summer. Either way, I know that I will be using Artifact Uprising to create my book. You just can't beat their high-quality products and their commitment to lessening their environmental footprint. But you don't have to take my word for it, head over to their website and try their products for yourself!!

Happy creating,


P.S. This post is not sponsored by Artifact Uprising in any way. I am receiving no type of compensation for creating this post. :) 

P.P.S. As if all the above stuff wasn't enough awesomeness, AU also has an amazing blog where they showcase the talents of their customers. It's slogan is: "// inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell On." I might be making all sorts of fangirl faces over here, but seriously, their blog is so inspiring and filled with unique individuals. Just go read it. :)