On our way to meet Eva Jorgensen we seriously felt like we were in a dream. The drive was incredibly beautiful and a direct reflection of the lifestyle that Eva and Kirk had created for themselves and their sweet family … “Minimal Bohemian.”
When we arrived we could hear Ingrid behind a closed door through the kitchen calling out “Eva… Eva… who is visiting?” We thought we would melt when Eva opened the door to check on Ingrid taking a nap in a tent. What a dream. Everything about it, this adorable little girl napping in one room, while Eva & Kirk worked hard to fulfill orders and answer customer phone calls around the corner in the garage of a lovely home tucked away in Heber, UT.
Eva has a beautiful collection of photographs she takes of her life in the mountains and uses #mymountainlife and it is just that. The road to their home forces you to unwind and to enjoy the journey and to forget the destination.
When you walk inside it’s impossible not to notice that everything has been curated. Eva has an incredible eye for design and bringing out the beauty in everyday objects.
We immediately sensed that the partnership that Eva and Kirk had cultivated ran a lot deeper than love. There is an ultimate amount of respect that they have for one another and a commitment to not only each other but also to their family, business, and quality of life. It was evident that their priorities include doing what they love and loving each other. An inspiring thing to see two so committed to their dreams that they have actually made it their reality.
We were so inspired and wanted to just shoot a photo essay to tell their story… but, we didn’t know how to begin… so we started by asking questions and took up so much of Eva’s time getting to know her that we didn’t even shoot. All images here are from @sycamorestreetpress a beautiful feed to follow.
What brought you to Utah?
At the end of my sophomore year in high school, I moved here with my family. My dad had a brutal 90 mile commute into Los Angeles and had been looking to get out of California for awhile. He and my mom bought some land up in the mountains with the goal of building their dream house. I’ve moved away a couple of times since then, but felt drawn back. Now I don’t plan on leaving again — at least not permanently. I love it here.
How did you and Kirk meet?
His sister Kari, and I were good friends — both into art and music. I went over to her house one day, and she showed me a photo on her fridge of her brother. She said he was coming to visit her and that she thought we should get married. I laughed. The next week I met him, though, and I knew the very first night that that was it.
What made you choose the University of Utah for your Masters Program?
To be honest, Kirk was going there for his undergrad and still had a couple of years left. I knew I wanted to go to grad school, that I didn’t want to wait around until he was done, but that I also didn’t want to uproot him. Luckily, I met the printmaking professor at the U — Justin Diggle — and thought he was great. So that was that. It’s the only place I applied.
Would you say your passion for travel influences your work?
Definitely. Whenever I travel, I gather inspiration for my work. Even when I’m not traveling, I’m reading travel magazines, blogs, watching films that are made in interesting locations… I’m sure it all influences what I do — sometimes more directly than other times. For instance, the Versailles collection of stamps was directly influenced by our trip there a couple of years ago.
Tell us about Sycamore Street Press and how it all started.
When I finished grad school in 2007, the modern letterpress renaissance was really taking off. I noticed that and started to wonder about starting my own letterpress stationery company, since I had been doing so much letterpress in school (and loving it). I brought it up with my dad, who is an entrepreneur, and he encouraged me and gave me the confidence to go for it.
At first, I thought it would be a little side business, but within 6months,ithad become a more than full time occupation. I would draw, draw, draw, and then print for days on end — sometimes for as long as 12 hours a day cranking the press back and forth. (My right arm and shoulder got really strong.) I loved it. 6 months after that, Kirk and I made the decision that he would join me full time. It had always been a dream of ours to work together, and we realized that Sycamore Street Press was our way to make that happen.
You are clearly an artist regardless of what medium you choose. Do you have a favorite medium?
Thank you! Clearly, letterpress was my favorite medium for many years. Lately, though, I’ve been beginning to branch out again and see myself in a more multidisciplinary way. I tend to think of ideas first and figure out what medium works best to make it happen. I’ve been doing a lot of watercolor painting (which we then reproduce with high quality offset printing) recently, and I’ve also been taking a lot of photos — mainly with my iPhone. But I don’t think I can pick a favorite.
What led you to letterpress?
My mom is an artist, and I grew up admiring her creations and painting alongside her. After trying out several other more “practical” majors in college, I applied to the art program because I couldn’t NOT do art. I ended up getting a BFA and MFA in printmaking. I loved the way printmaking walks the line between fine art and graphic arts, and I loved the communal aspect of the printshop. From the time I started doing printmaking, I was fascinated by letterpress… but I wasn’t able to study it until grad school.
It looks like you paint and then scan the paintings and use that as the foundation for your cards and gift-wrap? Can you explain your process a bit?
Yes! I’ve been doing lots of paintings with watercolor and dyes. I just get into a zone where I do huge amounts of small, quick paintings. I want the brushstrokes to look quick and effortless. But I end up having to do a ton in order to get the one that looks just right. After I pick my favorites and get them scanned in, I work with my assistant designer — Allison Cornu — to manipulate them into patterns for gift wrap, layouts for greeting cards, etc…
We love your #Evaseverydaylettering collection of handwritten quotes. How did that series begin?
I had a series on my blog back in 2010 – 2011 where I would post a hand lettered quote each week. In November 2013, I decided to bring it back, but this time to Instagram. In addition, I wanted to up the ante and post something every weekday instead of once a week. It’s been a great creative exercise, and I’ve loved getting all the wonderful feedback from people on which ones are their favorites, how the quotes affect them, etc… I want to start offering some of them as free downloadable prints soon as a thank you to the super-supportive Sycamore Street Press community.
Your style is so evident in everything you do. You have a signature to your work. Has that been difficult to develop?
Wow, thank you! That’s something I’m constantly working on. I love a lot of different styles/eras/colors/etc… so it can be easy to get pulled in a bunch of different directions. Starting in college, I really tried to hone in on what felt really authentic to me. But it’s something I still struggle with and have sometimes stumbled with, for sure. This year I’ve made an extra effort to really focus again. I am constantly asking myself if the photo I’m posting, card I’m designing, or image I’m pinning really fits with my signature aesthetic.
Who or what influences you?
My family, the natural landscape, art, fashion, interior design, film, books, travel, music, etc… I look outside the world of paper for my inspiration, so my designs will have a better chance of standing out. A few things inspiring me this week: Elk, the landscape of southern Utah, and Serena Mitnik-Miller.
Tell us a little bit about Ingrid and Lars. Are they complete opposites or quite similar in personality?
Ingrid is really spunky, dramatic, and imaginative. Lars is quick to laugh, cuddly, and tough. They’re both very sweet and very stubborn at the same time. They love each other to pieces but they also have a bit of sibling rivalry at times (especially when it comes to who’s sitting on their mama’s lap!) It’ll be interesting to see how they interact even more once Lars really starts talking and carrying on conversations… I can’t wait! I love seeing them together.
What is the biggest challenge in parenting and running your own business? How do you juggle it all?
It feels like there’s never enough time. I’ve had to learn to say no to a lot — even to things that I love — in order to have room for the things I love most and/or are the most important. My family comes first, so everyday — and multiple times throughout the day — I think hard about what’s the most important thing for me to be doing for them. Sometimes it means tuning out distractions and just getting to work. Other times it means putting aside my work and spending the day with the kids. Once in a while, it means taking a bit of time to myself to recharge. I’ll be honest — I often I feel like I’m in survival mode. But I just try to take each day as it comes and do the best that I can. That’s all I can do.
Words of advice?
I recently read Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, and he talks about being discerning rather than being attached. He says not to get too attached to the way things used to be, the way things are supposed to be, or the way you’ve always envisioned the future. Instead, look with discerning eyes at the way the world is evolving and the way you can make a place for yourself in it. Be flexible and nimble and open to change. Everything is always changing all the time, and you may as well make the most of it.
All photographs from Eva Jorgensen’s Instagram feed @sycamorestreetpress