anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Archive for the ‘Portfolio’ Category

Using Food to Change the Thanksgiving Narrative

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For many of us, our associations with Thanksgiving are mostly about food. Cranberries, pumpkin pies, stuffing and all those other things that turns the food media world into a seasonal frenzy of recipes and roundups. It’s a holiday where we’re encouraged to gather with our friends and family and be thankful, showing gratitude for what’s on the table and the people we share it with.

These are admirable ideals, however when we talk about Thanksgiving, share iconic recipes, gather around the table, we avoid the harsh reality of a holiday with a dark past, one of slavery, plague and massacres. At its core, Thanksgiving is a story of genocide, and instead of facing that reality, it’s a holiday that we have chosen to mythologize, erasing real stories and people along the way. Instead of the truth, the false narrative around Thanksgiving allows us to focus on the easy stuff, in the form of “10 Best Pie Crusts” and “25 Creative Stuffing Ideas You Never Thought Of.

“Food media at large still won’t touch the imperialist implications of Thanksgiving with a ten foot pole bc it’s more profitable to pub stuffing listicles,” wrote Racist Sandwich a few weeks ago on Twitter.

I thought about that comment a lot, pondering the importance and weight of food media in addressing cultural history as well as today’s realities. Food is an excellent lens for looking at important topics like gender, race and culture, and in that sense, the food hype over Thanksgiving seems like a massively missed opportunity to highlight the true story and its modern day implications. Avoiding the conversation about the true roots of Thanksgiving means perpetuating the injustice.

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Written by Anna Brones

November 22, 2017 at 13:25

Preorder ‘Live Lagom’ U.S. Edition

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Earlier this year I wrote a book called Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way, published by Ebury Press in the U.K. I am happy to announce that it’s hitting the U.S. market this December thanks to the wonderful team at Ten Speed Press.  It’s officially out on December 26, 2017 which means that you could consider it a belated Christmas present, or also, a kick off to the new year.

What is lagom? It’s a Swedish word that roughly translates to “the right amount.” In other words, not too much, not too little, just that perfect middle ground. It can relate to food, fashion, health, work, social life and beyond. I wrote a little more about the book when it came out in July, which you can read here.

The book is beautifully photographed by Matilda Hildingsson and Nathalie Myrberg and I like to think of it not just as a lifestyle guide about Scandinavian living, but a look at how slowing down and finding balance can help all of us.

Ask your favorite bookstore to order it for you, or preorder it online at your favorite indie retailer (mine is Powell’s.)

Written by Anna Brones

November 10, 2017 at 07:00

2018 Desk Calendar with Papercut Illustrations

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I have always loved calendars. In fact this year, I’ve had three different calendars hanging in my office. Not because I need multiple reminders of what day it is, but because they all feature different artwork that I wanted to surround myself with as I work. Good daily inspiration.

When I was younger, I used to make calendars for Christmas presents, drawing a grid for the days of the week and separate illustration for each month. My parents would take me to Kinko’s to get color copies made so that I could give them away to all my family members.

This year I decided to revive the tradition (but with the help of a professional printer). But I wanted to do something just a little different.

Over the course of the years, I have found that with calendars that I like, I’ve often cut off the month/days once the year is over so that I can use the artwork, either to frame it or send to a friend. Why not have a calendar that’s made to be used in this way?

That’s what my 2018 desk calendar is. After the month is over, you’re intended to cut along the line on the back and turn it into a postcard. I’m hoping it inspires some handwritten notes, because who doesn’t like getting mail?

The calendars are 5×7″ and feature one of my original papercut illustrations every month. They are printed on recycled paper in Seattle, Washington. Each calendar is handwrapped, making it easy to give as a gift.

You can order a calendar here.

Written by Anna Brones

November 1, 2017 at 12:21

Witch Fika

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“…to be a witch is to be a woman with power in a world where women are often otherwise powerless.”

– Annie Theriault, The Real Reason Women Love Witches

I read a few articles this week about witches (like this one), and it inspired this Witch Fika papercut. Gather up your coven and get together for a coffee break. You’ll be a more productive and efficient witch.

Written by Anna Brones

October 31, 2017 at 10:45

Posted in Portfolio, Women

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Comestible on Shortlist for Stack Awards 2017 ‘Best Use of Illustration’

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Ever since I read about a writer’s goal for 100 rejections a year, I have been trying harder to do more submissions, whether they are for writing, for residencies, for awards, etc. The idea of course is that if you aim for 100 rejections in a year, somewhere along the way, you’re going to get a response that says “yes” instead of “no.”

I decided to submit my indie food zine Comestible to the Stack Awards 2017, a selection of awards for independent magazines. These days, the indie mag scene is strong, and every time I go into the bookstore I am amazed (perhaps slightly overwhelmed as well) at the high caliber of content and editorial vision that is out there.

I submitted Comestible to the Best Use of Illustration category, since I think that’s a large part of what makes the publication different. The food media space is inundated with gorgeous food photography, and when I started Comestible I wanted something different. Every issue has featured my own papercut illustrations as well as drawn illustrations by some of my favorite illustrators, Jessie Kanelos Weiner for the issues in 2016 and Molly Reeder for the issues in 2017.

How shocked was I when I learned that Comestible had made it onto the shortlist of magazines for the award? Quite shocked! I am honored to have it be a part of a group of such incredible publications with creative and unique artwork. Check out the full list here.

Yet another reminder that it’s always worth it to put your work out there.

Image: Stack Magazines

Written by Anna Brones

October 25, 2017 at 12:03

Fall/Winter Reading: Comestible Issue 6

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If you’re looking for something to curl up with as the days get colder and darker, consider checking out the latest issue of Comestible.

Comestible is my bi-annual food zine, dedicated to showcasing where food comes from, and using food as a lens for looking at other issues like economics, gender, etc. It’s filled with art, essays and recipes.

In Issue 6, we cover everything from the effects of the immigration crackdown on farmworkers to kimjang, the Korean tradition of making kimchi.

For a little taste, here is a short excerpt from a piece called “Stick by Stick” by Kirsten K. Shockey of Ferment Works, all about the enormous job of preserving heirloom apples.

“What kind of apples do you recommend for hard cider?” Christopher ventured. Christopher and I live, work, and raised our family on a small holding in the mountains of southern Oregon. When we bought our hilly homestead, our goal was to be self-sufficient and leave the land better than we found it. This has led us to many remarkable farmers who have generously shared wisdom not found in books. That day, we sat there gazing at Nick like initiates around a sage, waiting for the meaning of life. Or at least the meaning of apples.

Nick, in his late seventies, was hard of hearing and seemed content to be enjoying his coffee.

Christopher looked at me. “What kind of apples would you suggest for hard cider?” he said again, this time much louder.

Our land, cut from mountains blanketed in fir and pine forests, is suited to trees, not row crops. We were planting a cider orchard to join the ninety-year-old pioneer-planted apples. We wanted to honor the older apples by finding unique heirloom varieties.

“There are a lot of great apples for cider,” Nick said and we both stared, pen in hand, waiting to scribble down varieties we’d never heard of. He told us a good cider apple contributes to one or more of four components: color, flavor, body, or bouquet. He didn’t drop any variety names though.

“Do you have the Redstreak?” Christopher asked hopefully. During the eighteenth century, this apple was believed to be the finest cider apple in England. At the time, cider made from the Redstreak commanded the highest prices. Its popularity had diminished by the end of the century and its believed viruses may have killed remaining trees. Now the apple is rare, even thought to be extinct, as breeders are unsure if the claimed Redstreaks are authentic Redstreaks.

“Yes, I believe I do,” Nick said. “Would you like to see the orchard?”

Order a copy of the issue here.

Written by Anna Brones

October 16, 2017 at 18:33

New Book: “Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way”

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Today marks the release of my new book Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way. I love book birthdays because they are the ideal time to give a little backstory on the book and what it meant for me to write it.

Lagom is a Swedish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but means something along the lines of “just right.” As the title of the book would have you believe, it’s a look at how the concept of lagom translates into various elements of Swedish society, and identifies some of the lessons that we might be able to incorporate into our own lives.

But you don’t need me to tell you what’s in the book; you can buy it to get that story! You’re here for the inner look.

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Written by Anna Brones

July 27, 2017 at 06:15

Adventure Journals

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What inspires you to get out and adventure?

That was the driving question behind this collection of three Adventure Journals, a special, limited edition collaboration with my friends over at Wylder Goods. Inspired by the pursuit of adventure – whether it’s a bike ride, a cup of coffee brewed outside, or a night under the stars – these journals are there to accompany you and provide a home for your thoughts, musings and ponderings.

They each feature one of my papercuts, and are printed by Scout Books in Portland, Oregon.

What makes these special:

  • 100% recycled Kraft cover!
  • 100% recycle white interior paper!
  • 100% awesome!

You can snag them in my shop or over on Wylder Goods.

Written by Anna Brones

June 30, 2017 at 14:31

‘I Look Like a Fisherman’ Greeting Cards

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In honor and support of the women who fish our seas, I teamed up with Salmon Sisters to make a limited edition of benefit greeting cards. They were inspired by the I Look Like a Farmer cards I did last fall.

The result is five different cards featuring papercuts of mine. The series is titled ‘I Look Like a Fisherman’ and 50% of proceeds will be donated to sponsoring a promising young female fishermen to attend the 2017 Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Summit takes place December 6-8, 2017, and is an incredible resource for fishermen getting started in the industry. Each set of five cards comes with five envelopes. The 5×7″ greeting cards are printed on 100 lb. cover Desert Storm Neenah Environment paper, FSC certified and 30% post consumer. The cards are printed in Seattle, Washington by women-owned printing company Girlie Press.

I love working on projects like these that highlight (and also support) the hard work of our food producers. You can buy a set of cards on the Salmon Sisters website or on my site

 

Written by Anna Brones

March 23, 2017 at 11:07

Empowering Women Coffee Farmers

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“To rebuild the spirit of a woman is to rebuild the spirit of a country.” That’s part of the mission statement of Rebuild Women’s Hope, an organization based in Bukavu, on the edge of Lake Kivu in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was started by a local Congolese woman and the organization works to empower local women coffee farmers. It’s one of many initiatives around the world focused on empowering women coffee farmers.

I wrote an article all about the topic that was published this week on Sprudge. Here’s a short snippet:

As part of that agricultural web, coffee is an industry dependent on the work of women around the globe, making gender equity an essential part of the sustainable coffee supply chain. “Most of the obstacles faced by women coffee farmers are the same as those found across the agriculture sector,” says Nick Watson, a coffee-sector adviser with the International Trade Centre, who has an initiative focused on women in coffee. “Social norms often discriminate against women in rural areas leading to disproportionate land and asset ownership; household and income decision making; time and labour distribution; access to information and training; and participation and leadership in rural organisations or as registered suppliers to agribusinesses.”

Despite these obstacles, it’s often thanks to women that the coffee production happens in the first place. “Women are on the front lines when it comes to our beloved cup of coffee. They serve as the primary labor force on roles that most affect quality, from picking the ripe coffee cherries off the tree to sorting beans throughout processing. Despite their significant role, most earnings go to men who own the property and manage commercial deals,” says Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.

You can read the full article here.

Image: Glenna Gordon courtesy ITC

Written by Anna Brones

March 17, 2017 at 09:41