Founded in June of 2013 by local writer and literary activist Megan Guidarelli, The Ink Seed Project (inkseedpress.com) recently released its pilot print issue in January. Unlike many other literary journals, The Ink Seed Project describes itself as a “creative CSA,” welcoming writers and artists within the Somerville community and beyond to submit their works-in-progress for cross-collaboration, “growing ideas and people.” Guidarelli believes it is this inclusivity and creative spirit that makes Ink Seed a great fit for Somerville’s renowned creative community.
After college, Guidarelli moved to Somerville, eventually launching The Ink Seed Project as a means of getting out of a creative slump and jump-starting her own creative practices. With yearly subscriptions getting you four quarterly issues, Ink Seed strives for inclusion and collaboration within the community. The idea is to encourage any and everybody to put themselves out there and submit creative works – what Guidarelli calls “small courages.”
“I didn’t just want self-proclaimed artists. I wanted to include everybody [and] help reframe what we consider to be creative material, and I think that goes beyond the traditional genres of printed work,” Guidarelli says. “I think we step into a danger zone when we think that to be creative one has to be an artist, which couldn’t be further from the truth. People are insanely creative.”
With The Ink Seed Project Guidarelli is quick to emphasize the importance of openness within the publication. Works published in Ink Seed do not necessarily need to be perfect, just new. The creative process takes precedent over the finished product, and the project acts as an open door for anybody to find creative empowerment. That’s not to say that the content of Ink Seed is lacking in quality, however.
The pilot issue contains comics, poetry, flash fiction and artwork, much of it pertaining to the Somerville area. Submissions for issue one were gathered via word of mouth and active outreach to the community. Guidarelli’s commitment to the Somerville community is more than idealistic talk. By day she works at Union Square Donuts, and has enthusiastically put down roots in the area. She has partnered The Ink Seed Project with other local businesses, like Democratech at MIT, the makers of Sprout pencils, which contain a plantable herb seed in the nub for post-writing gardening. Many of the first issue’s contributors have connections at Fringe Union, a multidisciplinary work space located in the heart of Union Square specializing in print and design. To say that The Ink Seed Project is a collaborative group effort would be an understatement.
“This started as a community art experiment,” says Guidarelli, who funded Ink Seed out of her own pocket. “I’m excited at how it turned out, and how it will turn out. My hope for The Ink Seed project is for it to become a living sketchbook for Somerville, and the greater Boston area. Just like the community here, I would like Ink seed to reflect the diversity.”
Submissions for the second issue of The Ink Seed project are already open, and close on April 1 of this year. Creative works may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and issue one may be purchased through links provided on the website or at various locations around Somerville, listed on the project’s website.