What we're looking at now.

This is one of the best weeks in New England. Happy 4th, friends. #ramblings


Fortnight ~ June 28, 2013

Latest and Greatest
We put out some awesome new work this month - 5 new prints (or new versions of old favorites) and 4 new tees to add to our collection.  In honor of the 500-year anniversary, a new "1513" version of Sawgrass and Sky.  A collaboration print with Garden and Gun - Let the Band Play.  A new one for Tennessee called Volunteer. A new color offering for The Line (red) and also for General Manners (red and light blue).

And the t-shirts - JXNStuttgart, Belzoni, and 80 Ale.

And, it's back...
General Manners (in Aqua/Gray) was sold out briefly as was Texas 1836, but they're back in the shop if you were looking for one.

Kind Words
A fun mention from the folks over at Chips & Guac.

A Little Something Extra 
We're doing an event down in Chattanooga come August, maybe we'll see some of you there.

Explosions of color in Raleigh.

Some Kentucky spirit all the way up in Stamford, Connecticut.

Very Pinteresting
Some great hand lettering on this guy.

Terrific Tweet

Friday Quote

Year Two.

Two years ago to the day (Nope, this has been sitting in my drafts waiting on me to not forget I wrote it), Old Try went from my brain to Old Try, Inc., a registered corporation in the state of North Carolina.

What a crazy awesome two years we've had. While I mainly like to look forward (except for the fact that our whole business if based on looking back into our own genesis stories...), this post is all about reflection. For remembering how much can happen in a year. For how much the Good Lord has blessed us. It didn't come without it's fair share of late nights, weekend work sessions, familial stress or sacrificing time with friends to try to make this as great as it can be.

In year two, we've launched a bunch of posters. We launched a boat load of shirts. We made a bowtie with Starboard Clothing Company. A shirt with High Cotton. Some prints for the West with Buffalo Jackson. A print with Garden and Gun. One with Historic Beaufort. And got into stores in Tex., Ala., Miss., Vir., N. Car., and Tenn. And started selling on Taigan. At West End put us in their catalog. We danced a couple of times with Huckberry out in San Francisco and Urban Daddy out of NYC.

We saw our city come to her knees on Patriots Day. We responded by making a print that raised over $4800 for victims. We made a print for the Charleston Waterkeeper's Waterball. Cause Cyrus & Co. are doing good for the harbor, and we want to help. We made a print that raised money for schools in the Delta in Mississippi. We were able to send some funds down to Oklahoma to help with the tornado relief. We've donated to silent auctions and fundraisers and tried to use business to do good.

Folks have been kind to us. We were in the Southern Living Idea House thanks to Tracery Interiors. Had a story written on us on BostonInno. In Mississippi Magazine. Featured in Print Magazine. And a couple of tours of our little apartment in Arlington from DesignSponge and Apartment Therapy. Valet Mag thanks to Max at AllPlaidOut. Notcot. Folk Magazine thanks to Back Down South. We teamed up with LVO and had one heck of a night in Mississippi.

And we've started to do some design/consulting work. Right now for just a couple of clients. But later, hoping for some more.

But perhaps the biggest thing is that Old Try allowed Marianna to leave her job and run this full time. Thanks to y'all, for liking what we're doing enough to let it become a livelihood for 50% of our family. Hopefully within another year, it'll be that way for the whole House of Whitson.

Word is that most businesses that fail do so within the first two years. Well, we've made it past that point. Here's to lucky number three.

And thank you all. From the bottom of our hearts.


The Rock.

“George often wondered how many people in the city realize how much the life of the great city meant to him and countless others like him; how, long ago in little towns down South, there in the barren passages of night, they listened to the wheel, the whistle, and the bell; how, there in the dark South, there on the Piedmont, in the hills, there by the slow, dark rivers, there in coastal plains, something was always burning in their heart at night – the image of the shining city and the North.”

We passed Manhattan this morning on a beautiful flight back from NC. Every time I pass it, I'm reminded of Wolfe's The Web and the Rock, and the truth there within. Especially since he was a North Carolinian.




By Charles Simic

Everything about you,
my life, is both
make-believe and real.
We are like a couple
working the night shift
in a bomb factory.

Come quietly, one says
to the other
as he takes her by the hand
and leads her
to a rooftop
overlooking the city.

At this hour, if one listens
long and hard,
one can hear a fire engine
in the distance,
but not the cries for help,

just the silence
growing deeper
at the sight of a small child
leaping out of a window
with its nightclothes on fire.


To the Carolinas!

Jetting down for a quick zip through NC this weekend. Looking forward to seeing some friends and family and celebrate a 90 year young grandmother.

And heck, maybe I can convince my bride to make a Smithfield's stop in Warsaw. No regrets.

Say hi if you see us. We'll say hi back.


At Home in Manassas.

"A little mantle scape designed for an upcoming Mother/Daughter tea party I'm hosting next Saturday for my daughter's 4th grade class at our home."

Manners, always important at afternoon tea!


What we're looking at now.

Went off and added a little color. If you live in Boston, just call it the Red Line. http://theoldtry.com/products/line #ramblings


History In Color.

In case you can't tell, I'm a big history buff. Not in the 'I can recite history at the drop of a hat' kind of way but in the 'Can you believe how amazing this fact is? Dusted off and nearly forgotten but just as alive as the day she was born!' kind of way.

So, imagine how excited I was to find History in Color. A site that would be no less fascinating if I didn't learn that the guy who makes these, Dana Keller, goes to my church. A glimpse into a colorized world I often think of as black and white, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Can wait to see what all else he tackles in the years to come. After all, Dana's got a hundred years to catch up on.


A Journey.

A Journey

By Edward Field

When he got up that morning everything was different:
He enjoyed the bright spring day
But he did not realize it exactly, he just enjoyed it.
And walking down the street to the railroad station
Past magnolia trees with dying flowers like old socks
It was a long time since he had breathed so simply.
Tears filled his eyes and it felt good
But he held them back
Because men didn't walk around crying in that town.
Waiting on the platform at the station
The fear came over him of something terrible about to happen:
The train was late and he recited the alphabet to keep hold.
And in its time it came screeching in
And as it went on making its usual stops,
People coming and going, telephone poles passing,
He hid his head behind a newspaper
No longer able to hold back the sobs, and willed his eyes
To follow the rational weavings of the seat fabric.
He didn't do anything violent as he had imagined.
He cried for a long time, but when he finally quieted down
A place in him that had been closed like a fist was open,
And at the end of the ride he stood up and got off that train:
And through the streets and in all the places he lived in later on
He walked, himself at last, a man among men,
With such radiance that everyone looked up and wondered.


At Home in Greenville.

A gift for a dad, "ready to be hung in his office with his other Carolina things. He went there and is very proud of this new addition to his collection!"



Back in January, I met up with some Nashville fellas for a beer while we were in town. Marianna was wiped from our epic Southern Roadtrip (in which we averaged 250 miles a day over ten days, even though we only drove every second day, thus 500 a leg) so I had to go it alone. But that's one of the things I like doing: meeting up with folks who find our stuff and appreciate it.

Mr. Hartline is one of those guys. He wrote a post about it over here. A post that makes me beam inside cause we're both in the same boat. Trying to navigate this life as sons of the South, and trying to make sense of what all that means. Where to feel shame. Where to feel pride. If we can do both at once of if they are at odds. Meaty stuff. But stuff that we were able to verbalize as we drained a couple of pints.

Well, Wes sent over some pictures of the process of framing up some of our prints not long ago. Frames built from scratch. Soaked and dried in history and weather. Like us: tested by time and trials, hopefully being built into something that will stand true for years to come.

His words:

The process for these was pretty simple. 
The Old Try prints are great storytelling pieces, so the concept of barnwood frames was a no-brainer. It helps to have good friends with old family farms where they don't throw anything away. The boards we have are a mix of Oak and Hickory (anywhere from 1" thick to 2" thick) , so the wood is strong and had little damage from the years of hanging somewhere in Middle Tennessee. We were lucky to end up with boards about 3.5" wide, 38" tall, about 1.5" thick. These were perfect for sawing in half, then cutting into four pieces that made up the frame.  
We decided to avoid mitre-cuts after we made a miscalculation and probably ruined one board. Instead, we went with a mortise-and-tenon frame, using carpenters glue where we needed some extra help due to mildly warped boards. The pocket screws on the back make for a stronger fit, while allowing the owner to replace the prints if they want.  
We took 1/4 plywood and inserted it behind each print to give some structure and then we inserted small scrap wood "keys"  into the corners behind the 1/4 so that it held the print tightly against the inside-front of the frame and the 1/4". A few d-rings and some 40-pound wire later, they're ready to go up. 
The craftsman here is Ben Wood, a Nashville-based artist and teacher. He's a miracle worker. 

I personally love that bark still on the side of the Grand Old Party.


New print up in the shop today. Called Volunteer and based on the very first flag of Tennessee. A flag that didn't last real long but that we're bringing back.

See it here. 

Oh, and that background was an old shed door our neighbor threw out. So glad we could give it some more life.