On a typical day, you’ll probably find printmaker Macon York traipsing around her four-acre property in Laurel Park. After tending to the laying hens, she might sit in her garden and contemplate typography for a new greeting card. Or, she may sketch a few woodland creatures. It’s a dreamy-eyed existence, certainly. But York’s life wasn’t always like this.
In 2010, she found herself working a fast-paced, high-stress job as an art director at Martha Stewart Living in New York City. “It was a lot of communication, meetings, and late hours making sure everything got done,” she remembers.
The job left York craving tactile experiences away from the computer. So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in March, she enrolled in a four-hour letterpress workshop at The Arm Letterpress Studio in Brooklyn. “I was drawn to everything about the process,” she says.
Inspired by her newfound craft, York left behind corporate America in 2012 and decided to embark on a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Those 2,190 miles changed her — and her art — in ways she could have never imagined.
“I was especially mindful of the beautiful natural lighting all around me — sunlight through the leaves, the way the morning light hit the mountains across the valley, watching as many sunsets as I could,” York remembers. “I feel like this experience really resonated with my quiet artistic voice within.”
Hiking the A.T. also taught York to slow down. Rather than race to Mount Katahdin — the northern terminus — she savored each and every mile.
“I stopped to swim whenever I could and ended my days early to watch sunsets from epic vantage points,” says York. “Some people hiked the A.T. really fast and were back home by August. I was still out on my big adventure well into late September.”
This methodical approach translates into York’s work today. Rather than rush the creative process, she takes time to “stop and smell the roses” — sometimes quite literally, considering that many of her Valentine’s Day cards showcase springtime blossoms.
“Most of my cards feature flora and fauna that I might find in my garden or out hiking,” says York. “I also love fun typography. I use my own wonky, folksy hand-lettering for all my cards and prints.”
York likes to keep her designs playful, too. In her portfolio, you’ll find crowds of quirky critters and a plethora of puns. On one card, a cheeky beaver wishes you a “dam good” birthday. On another, a brawny buck announces, “Happy Anniversary, Deer.”
Unlike York’s previous career, which was driven by deadlines and dollars, this new vocation is all about evoking joy.
“I love that my cards [offer] two joyful experiences,” the artist explains. “First, the joy you feel when you select the card and send it to someone you love. Second, the joy your recipient feels when they open your card.”
Macon York, Laurel Park, maconyorkpress.com and on Instagram.