An enthusiastic beginning and a triumphant end.

In our work together, Jennifer Ferguson, dulciusdesign.com, takes what is black and white but full of hope and potential and brings it to life.

She is first and foremost, a listener.  She listens to you.  Your ideas.  Where they have gone right and where they have gone off the rails.  You feel relieved after you speak with her.  Immediately, you sense you are in good hands. 

I was introduced to her by my singer-songwriter friend, Kathy Greenholdt, herself a wonderful designer. She thought we might hit it off, and was she ever right. 

You have experienced her work on almost all of my creative endeavors: the poster for my FitzGerald's residency; all the materials for my songwriting classes and workshops at the Old Town School of Folk Music and beyond; and my Haiku Milieu book, audiobook and soundtrack.   Her keen eye, diligent work and thoughtful feedback have made everything she touches, more...well...touching.  Vivid. 

So when it was time to create the art for the April 24 Haiku Milieu: Collaboration Concert, I asked Jen to once again work her magic.

When we had settled on the design, asked her to share her thoughts on our collaboration and was genuinely thrilled to receive this back:

"As a creative professional, I sometimes feel like an automated design machine. People approach me, punch in their order, push a button, and I calculate their instructions and hand it over.

But from the beginning of our working relationship, Jenny's process was collaborative. She included me in her brainstorming and asked questions instead of giving orders. She left the windows wide open for inspiration to come and go and welcomed my thoughts along the way. It's rare that I'm allowed to share the wheel and do some of the driving along the journey, and I'm very proud of the Haiku Milieu designs that we created, and thankful for the energy and passion that Jenny brings to all of her work. 

Jenny's requests for me are refreshingly different from my other clients, and I can count on having a bit of fun with the work. She has what I interpret to be a very loose, carefree drawing style, and when I receive her sketches in black and white, I try to honor the flow and "whimsy" as she calls it by filling in the empty spaces with bright textures and colors. I've learned that I can relax and experiment, because Jenny is comfortable in the sometimes messy and unattractive (but always crucial) stages of back-and-forth that come between an enthusiastic beginning and a triumphant end. Neither of us is afraid of walking around the thing we're making and finding ways to make it better. 

If a collaboration is working well, I believe that a culture of trust is established; each person is unafraid to show up with their unique skillsets and contribute. Working with Jenny sometimes feels like following the rules of improvisational comedy: whatever one person suggests, the other will try to always say "yes, and..." by adding something. It's a safe, authentic, positive space for growth. I'm honored that Jenny trusts me to help realize and deliver her vision, and grateful for our partnership over the past few years." - Jennifer Ferguson, Dulcius Design

Friday, April 24 is the Haiku Milieu: Collaboration Concert.  25 artists will share music, spoken word, and visual art inspired by a photo and haiku from the Haiku Milieu universe.  We hope you'll join us.

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