Saturday, January 24, 2009

Designs in Nature Continues

Before I send my book off and present final pictures and a completed product, I would like to share with you some of my earlier steps before it will have journeyed to it's final phase of completeness.

Here are a few pictures of my book's journey.

This collaborative altered book project has been one of the most enjoyable artistic experiences I've ever had. Challenging because I've never done this kind of project before, but so exciting and inspiring that I can't help but think about it all the time. I'm so grateful to be working with everyone- Supria, Seth, Rita, Veronica and Roxanne. Since my first posting of this collaboration, I've experienced so many coincidences and synchronicity of our projects. To begin with, I was awestruck to receive a comment from Reva Solomon, a reader of our blog, indicating that she knows the author of my book choice for about 13 years through The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators - I'm hoping that the author, Nancy Smiler Levinson, will be happy with the final results of our collaboration, knowing that this kind of project is done as an act of love of the book we've chosen and our connections to it.

The next coincidence came when I read about Supria's theme of Helen Keller for her project. I've always been fascinated by Helen Keller and to this day, marvel that she learned to see and hear without the workings of her biological eyes and ears, but rather through her intelligence, mind and senses. When I was creating the inside of my book cover (still in the works) I had glued an additional page from another book into this book for a butterfly shape I once cut out. As I started to read the words on the page, I was shocked to see that the writing was about Helen Keller.

The paragraph that was showing through (although may actually end up hidden) details the meaning of the word Sensuist - defined as a person who revels in life's sensory experiences. It goes on to say that Helen Keller was one of the greatest sensuists of all time. Based on this definition, I would characterize myself and would think most artists would fall into this category.

While working on this project, I've been overwhelmed by all of the energy I feel, highlighted by the connection toward all of my collaborator's themes which have been so inspiring to me. With this, I send a special thank you to everyone for sharing so much of themselves through their altered books, and again, a very special thank you to Supria who selected me as the 6th and final artist to complete our Inner Works team- and for that, I will forever be grateful.

Seth Apter of The Altered Page

Theme: Distressed Elements

The topic of distressed elements was originally foreign to me. The only distressed items I've previously been drawn to are antiques, old books and all parts of old houses. However, since the time that Seth selected his theme, I've slowly been drawn to distressed and rusted metals. So much so that I may now fit the category of an official rustonian! There is a certain beauty about these items that I have a new found appreciation for. It's a new world that's opened up to me- a whole new sphere of art to love.

Veronica Funk of Simple Pleasures

Theme: Friendship

On the surface, it may seem as if everyone knows about friendship. But actually, I think it's one of the most misunderstood kinds of relationships that abound. Thinking about the title enabled me to reflect again on the complexities of friendship. A year or two ago, someone sent me a poem, author unknown, that begins with this phrase: "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person...." I find that this sentiment often helps me to better understand the character and nature of many of my friendships and has helped me to understand the direction that they've taken. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other and ourselves.

Supria Karmakar of An Artist's 'Encaustic Musings'

Theme: Helen Keller

Helen Keller's aquisition of knowledge and ability to learn and accomplish all that she did in her lifetime remains a mystery to me. Not too long ago, I was walking in midtown Manhattan, New York City and saw a double billboard of both Helen Keller and the Dalai Lama.

I at once snapped pictures of it and wanted to incorporate Helen's piece into my bronx city scene painting- but unfortunately, it just didn't fit. The sign says, "Helen Keller Could Only see the Possibilities, Foresight ... Pass It On". What a beautiful thought for all of us to follow.

Roxanne Evans-Stout of River Garden Studio

Roxanne Evans-Stout

Theme: Earth Tones

How can we not be connected to Earth Tones, the foundation for our place on earth, our "air" below us, our ground and our connection to the world we live in. This past summer I traveled to Sedona and am forever now connected to these brilliant tones of our existence. They've become a part of me- so much so that I was inspired to create a painting of my relationship to these beautiful, peaceful yet exciting new found colors.

Rita Vindedzis of Rita Vindedzis

Theme: Gift From the Sea

The sea, another one of the great gifts of our earth is such an important part of my life. I've always been drawn to the sea and it's treasure trove of shells. I love both to collect them and be dazzled by their shapes, colors, textures- chameleon character- and how they are the protective homes to the sea creatures which they are entrusted to protect. The gift of the sea is not one thing, but encompasses so much. From the tides, fish, plankton, shells and all life within, it's always been such an amazing entity to me. I have this need to always be near a body of water- and thankfully, or maybe for this reason, I am gifted to be able to look out my window every day and see the Henry Hudson River in New York.

Jill Zaheer of Jazworks

Theme: Designs of Nature

I've chosen designs in nature as my theme to celebrate the natural beauty in all that nature has to offer and to capture the exquisite textures, relationships of space, lines, colors, dimension and overwhelming endless visual kaleidoscope of life's artistic blessings all around us.


  1. First let me say this blog post was the first thing I read today with my cup of lovely dark roasted free trade organic coffee -- Cafe Feminino ( a great womyn's cooperative)...Anyway.... I sit here filled with that sense of awe, blessing and honour....Your post with such love and authenticity gave me goosebumps...I am privileged to be doing this project with you as it reminds me of the great gifts we have in each other - in how we are all connected in many ways we can not see but can feel in our souls and hearts, if we allow it.
    I love everything you wrote and all the wonderful images is a joy and I am grateful.

  2. This was an absolute joy to read. I too am filled with a sense of awe, not only for this wonderful post, and how you are feeling each of our theme choices, but for being part of this inspiring group of people. I also believe that we are drawn to each other (for reasons sometimes unknown) and this group has connected for a purpose. As much as I'm enjoying being in the moment and working on my book and each subsequent book that I'll receive, I'm also anticipating the end of the project when my book returns complete and I'll be able to see what each of you have added. Love this journey!!

  3. I have just got home from work, and this is also the first post I have read today. Your words and images are so rich with love and insight into life itself but also into all of our themes. I am so thankful to be part of this project and to get to know you and everyone. Thank you! Roxanne

  4. This is what collaboration is all about Jill. I was captivated by this post and by how you were able to relate to all of our themes on such a personal level. And what a stunning collection of photographs. I do hope the author of the book you are using gets in touch!

  5. This was a beautiful presentation by friends bringing their project to fruition..... Lovely thoughts and photographs shared...