We immersed ourselves in the textures, sounds and colors of precious, million year old clay, sticking to our skin and clothes. It was a physical and basic experience, one we remembered from childhood playing in mud. Then the words started coming in from the public: ACCEPTANCE, PATIENCE, HUMILITY, JUSTICE. The words were as soothing and physical as the muddy earth that we stomped beneath our feet to make the matrix for the adobe blocks. We felt the words, read them out loud. They became both personal and universal at the same time. We imbedded them in the foundational material.
— Nancy Winship Milliken
In the face of an uncertain future, Earth Press Project embodies hope in tangible form and brings weight to our collective desire for change.
— Eleanor Reagan, Studio Manager
“Today it is important to listen to what people have to say and to what the earth is trying to tell us. This project gives us the time and space to do both.”
— Brooke Van Buiten, Intern
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OUR TOP SUBMISSIONS:

PEACE

LOVE

KINDNESS

EQUALITY

ACCEPTANCE

FREEDOM

“From notebooks to sandals to fingernails to pens, the earth has attached itself to each part of this project… [including] each of us.  For the word ‘human’ derives from the latin ‘humus’ meaning ‘earth.’ And as earth workers, molding clay, sand, water, and hay into blocks, our whole bodies became earth—skin as dried clay, feet as caked roots, and eyes as coated ‘i’ letters.”
— Diane Klement, Intern

Studio notebook by Eleanor Reagan

“This project revealed to me that we all share a common
ground – the power to encapsulate feelings and ideas in words and to then send them off to grow in new soils.”
— Meryl Braconnier, Intern
(word submission) RESILIENCE. “I wish nature resilience as it battles against imperfect human habits and suffers at the hand of our convenience. I wish humans resilience in this time of uncertainty with global climate change. I wish people resilience when they fail… I wish everyone on the earth and the earth itself to have strength and be able to recover with a wholesomeness and pride from this era of uncertainty—myself included.” - Emily

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“Printing is mark-making with pressure, the use of a matrix to impress information on a substrate. Most importantly, it is the ability to duplicate that mark multiple times. It doesn’t matter what materials are used, as long as the message is clear. Through duplication, that message can spread throughout a population in very little time, and many, many people can be brought to bear witness to that message.”
— Ted Ollier, Reflex Letterpress

Acknowledgments

We honor with gratitude the land itself and all the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations and into the future.

There was a constant and generous flow and input of people who gathered around this project, and we thank you. Ted Ollier, of Reflex Letterpress, advised on the font selection and everything related to print. Liz Johndrow, of Terra Collaborative, was our earthen sage. Alison Adams guided us on social considerations. Chard deNiord (former Poet Laureate of Vermont) helped us understand the power of words. Co-collaborator Eliot Lothrop of Building Heritage, researched and built the Witness house as a container for the blocks of words spilling out of the ground. Dirt Tech generously donated clay and sand.

The studio was graced with the artists, environmentalists, policy builders, writers, designers, and social scientists of the future. Each intern brought with them their own interest and skill to be integrated into the project. We all learned from each other. We laughed, sang, sweated and played word games, all while stomping, crushing, molding, pressing the earth into adobe word blocks. This project would not have been possible without the earnest and diligent work of Diane Klement, Michael Weiss, Brooke Van Buiten, Meryl Braconnier, Emily Kiernan, and studio managers Eleanor Reagan and Carley Zarzeka. My heart is filled with hope for the future with you all at the helm. Thank you for your generous dedication to this project and to the world.

And lastly, thanks to you, the input of word submissions from the public has been like that one song a band plays at the end of a set. This might be a song that everyone in the audience knows the words to, like an old folk tune. The audience then sings along with the band and the melody is rich in the depth of the audience knowing the words they have listened to over and over. Getting words daily from the public was like hearing a vast group singing the words to a song we all know, BENEVOLENCE, RECIPROCITY, MERCY, LOVE, PEACE. We hope the song is chanted from the hilltops, rising up from the earth and into the hearts of many.

Nancy Winship Milliken