This summer, Lorie Hoffman and Charlie Capp will be floating by river from the mountains of Montana, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, a journey of 1,101 miles. The expedition will take them across the landscape of the contemporary American West, by way of its most pivotal resource: water. Along the way, they’ll be exploring how communities have been shaped by their relationship to the rivers, and create a portrait of the people linked from snow to sea.
Our route will span four states, and just a little bit of Canada. We won’t be floating the entire length of the Columbia, which has it’s headwaters in the mountains of British Columbia, but we’ll be following a series of tributaries leading upstream to our starting point: my family’s ranch in the Bitterroot Valley. From there, we will follow the Bitterroot River until it merges with the Clark Fork, which flows into the Pend Oreille, which connects to the Columbia, which ultimately joins the world’s oceans at the Pacific. Our route may seem like an open road, but there will be many obstacles and challenges along the way. Dams segment the majority of the routes length, and the rocky rapids of summer present technical challenges of their own.
Along the river we will be making an artist’s Journal/Sketchbook full of drawings, writings, photographs, and probably a water sample or two. We’re going to take our time, if we come to a interesting place along the river we might stay a day or two to sketch. The project is about seeing what’s along the way, documenting what we can, and sharing the journey with you. We’re excited to get to the sea, but the process of getting there is what’s important. When we return we’ll find a publisher for The Journal or we’ll publish it ourselves. Either way, it’s going to be one incredible Journal, and an intimate look into two artist’s sketchbook style.
Origins of the Journey
The genesis of this project is rooted in Charlie's childhood, in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. The river forms the western border of my family’s ranch, and as such was a constant backdrop to my life there. It’s the river I learned to fish on, and it supported the forested river bottom I explored as a kid. These explorations cultivated my interest in the natural world, a curiosity that is still with me today in my scientific and artistic pursuits. As the years passed, I grew curious about where the water ultimately went. I knew it went at least as far as Missoula, and ultimately ended up in the Pacific Ocean, but what was it like in between? What sort of places relied on the water that flowed down from the mountains and past our ranch? Our family depended on the water of the valley to raise cattle and hay, but what about other families, and other communities? I wanted to one day travel the length of the river to meet the people and see the places that all share the water, and that day is now coming up.
How to Help
Become a backer by pledging to the project. We’ll send you rewards based on your pledge level, and you’ll gain access to our backers-only blog here on Kickstarter that will allow you to follow along with us during the trip and will keep you updated on the Journal. Any funds we recive in addition to our goal of $8,500 will be used to help publish the travel Journal/Sketchbook. Check the images below to get a feel for some of the rewards. You can also check out this blog post about the Zine, and see Charlie's "Flow" images here.
You can also help us to Spread the Word!! This is so important I don’t even know where to start! If you like this project and want to see us reach the goal (and then get your rewards) help us get the word out by talking to you friends, posting, tweeting, sharing, and if you’re feeling feisty; running through the streets naked with a sandwich board hanging from your neck! Really, anything that you can do to help get this project in front of people who would be interested helps us enormously.
Thank you.....(we love you)
Whether you’ve pledged $1 or $1,000 you have our deepest sincerest thanks. It’s always now, at the beginning of any project, that an artist has the most doubts. In a world that bombards us with positive status updates & Tweets, bombast & self-assured projections, it’s easy to forget that everyone feels unsure and worried when they’re doing something big. Each pledge here is more than the simple dollar signs and the ability to move forward... it’s an arrow chock-full of “we’re with you!” shot straight into our hearts.
Thank you for that. We’re with you too, and we’re going to make this one great adventure together.
"Golden Riffle" from Charlie Capp's "Flow" Series. The rest of the series can be seen on his site.
I won't screenprint these until the project is successful, but here's a mock up of the Thank You Postcard. Final size will be 4.4 x 6.25
Sample Zine Page 1: