Monica Ihrke is a printmaker currently based in Duluth, MN. She uses relief-printed linoleum to depict beloved and vulnerable natural and industrial spaces.
10.20.21 An Artist Residency!
With my ultramarathon complete, I’m looking forward to my next adventure...an artist residency! Next month, I’ve been invited to participate in an artist residency (specifically for printmakers!!) at The Grand in New Ulm, MN! I’ll use this time to focus on my “As Seen on My Run” project during waking hours (opposed to nights after the boys are asleep). I’m excited and feel really honored to be asked to participate.
10.7.21 When carving feels like an endurance event...
Carving this print has felt like a marathon. Literally, I’ve spent more time carving this block than I have spent running a single marathon. I haven’t kept track of the specific time, but it’s possible I’ve spent more time carving this block than running an ultra in the snow.
When I begin each carving session, I look at the block and am overwhelmed by how much there is to do and how little progress I will make in one session. But many small sessions make big progress. I know this, but my mind forgets.
In carving, running, and life, we must take one step at a time. Grasping the energy required to complete these tasks makes my mind not even want to start the hard work. And so, our feet must take the steps, our hands must do the work, and hopefully our hearts will begin to sing as we make progress, small movements forward.
On a side note, I’m running a 50k in a week. I’m hoping I’ll have finished carving this block before then. The actual image was captured on my final “long run” at mile 21. I’m looking forward to sharing more prints as they come and introduce my latest project that combines those moments I saw on my run.
9.2.21 a new project : grace and grit About a month ago, a running friend contacted me about creating a piece for her. She had just finished her last round of radiation for breast cancer and wanted a token to remember the journey, but I’m guessing more than remembering the journey, a remembrance of the grace and gritthat filled her body as she not only lived through a pandemic while continuing to parent two young kids, but took on breast cancer in the midst of it. I’m so proud of her as she navigated her treatment plan to completion with her smile intact and is now in a place where she’s doing the hard work of healing.
My running friend asked me to make something at the height of wildflower season in the North Country. When I thought of grace and grit in the world around me, my mind kept coming back to wildflowers in the prairie. These flowers appear every summer after experiencing brutally cold winters with feet of snow on top of them. Every year in spring using the water from snow and the light of a sun that didn’t warm them for 6 months, they decide to grow again. Regardless of how harsh the winter was, prairie wildflowers gracefully bloom in the summer, filling fields, swaying in the breeze, and luring pollinators. These creatures endure harsh winters and harsh times, and yet bloom still.
When I thought of my friend’s journey through breast cancer, I thought of wild flowers in all of their grace and grit.
I’m well into this print, there are only a few more layers left. I feel pretty lucky to be creating this print. Thank you, C.A.B., and sending out Love and Light as you continue to heal!
P.S. the print is complete and you can find it HERE.
7.31.21 the freshwater review My work was published in the College of St. Scholastic's freshwater review! (My work was also featured on the cover!) It's lovely, and I can't wait to dive into the rest of the journal!
6.24.21 A quick shout out from my grad program! I made the announcements in Minnesota State University, Mankato's Experiential Education website. Check it out here.
6.7.21 Big Fun News! On Saturday, June 5th (my mom's birthday), I was featured in my local newspaper! Thank you Melinda Lavine and Steve Kuchera for such a sweet, thoughtful piece about my artwork! Check it out here. (Photo credit Steve Kuchera / email@example.com)
5.21.21 Building Bridges and Community Project Updates: A final in-person postcard packets pick-up (how's that for alliteration) has been delivered to Earth's Elements Hillcrest in Hillcrest, CA! You can still find postcards at these physical sites, or fill out a form online and I can send one out to you!
5.1.21 Building Bridges and Community Project Updates: This lovely project is coming to a close! There are only ~27 postcards left! You can still find postcards at these physical sites, or fill out a form online and I can send one out to you!