8 Years

Matte Cutting Reunion by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2013
Matte Cutting Reunion by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2013

It had been 8 years.

I gripped the straight cutter and pulled the sharp blade hard toward me along the metal edge and through the creamy thickness of the 4-ply matte board.

8 years.

I penciled the math for the cut-out like pouring a glass of water. 12″ is 11 16/16″ less 7 12/16″ equals 4 4/16″ divided by 2 is 2 1/8″. That’s it then. A 2 and 1/8″ border. I used a mechanical pencil to mark the cut lines on the back of the matte board.

8 years

I pressed my thumb in the ready place on the bevel cutter, slid the blade into the corner angle, and pushed firmly down and away from me along the straight edge coming to a stop precisely at the next perpendicular pencil line.

8 years since I cut a matte. 8 years since I matted a print. 8 years since I had a print in a show. 8 years since I cut my artistic pursuits out of me like the center of a matte.

I cut a perfect matte on the first try. No nicks in the corners, satin-smooth bevels, simple white, and only one or two cuss words. I handled the tools easily even after such a long absence.  The resonance in my body with each motion felt good.

I let art back in 4 years ago, step by step, first by creating a blog, then by taking photos for my blog, then by taking photos all the time with my increasingly smarter phone, then making books out of all those photos, then a job shooting interior design photos, then having a photo published in a magazine, while increasingly using my graphic facilitation and visual note-taking skills at work.

December 2012 I began again to submit images for shows. This year, my work was accepted into three:

Having my work exhibited completes the cycle. The cut out center of the matte is filled now by the picture of a working artist who uses her visual skills in service of work and works at her art at home. Welcome home.

What has your journey been like?


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