Sunday, May 31, 2009

Helen Keller- Supria Karmakar's On Paper Wings

Several weeks ago, I received Supria's gorgeous Altered Art book on Helen Keller- filled with her beautiful artistry which you can see here and those of Roxanne, and Rita. Now, it was my time to interpret and orchestrate my pages. As our InnerWorks Collaborative project progresses, each book is a totally new experience. As the first artist in our own book and then the first "guest" artist to work in another artist's book, we receive a "blank canvas" to create in. As the book has been worked in by several artists, it's both a gift and a challenge.

The gift is that you really get a feel for the different and unique artistic styles and expressive interpretations that help set the tone for the book. It's a challenge because so many wonderful and creative ideas have been revealed by our other collaborators. The process then forces you to go that much deeper into yourself and the theme for the direction you will begin to explore.

Helen became proficient in Braille, a new language based on the order and feel of raised dots. Here's a rendering of our English symbols of "XOX" for a "kiss, hug and a kiss" in Braille.

Working on Supria's book, On Paper Wings, has been such a joy. It was so amazing to learn about Helen Keller, a child who at just 19 months old, went from a "normal" toddler to someone trapped inside a human cocoon. It was void of light and sound. into an abyss Helen fell - condemned to what seemed like an end to any semblance of a life.

Helen had hope, optimism, perseverance and a teacher named Anne Sullivan who would support, guide and help her achieve what seemed like the impossible. What emerged was a beautiful butterfly

amidst a life of rainbows - color within darkness , and sound within silence. Helen was a shining star for the world - with a grace, radiance, brilliance and an unrelenting awe for all of life's gifts!

Like Helen Keller, we should all try to find the rainbows in what often seems like an endless storm, a new path when we think the road in front of us is closed, and make time for both those we love and ourselves when we think that there's not a moment to spare in our lives. Life is short - yet within Helen's, despite being both blind and deaf, she graduated from college, was fluent in many languages, read more books than most of have read in a lifetime, and was an inspiration and role model to so many. Before most people ever heard of the word Suffragette, Helen was one. We should all try to reach out to someone who could use compassion even when we think we may not have anything to offer. We all have so much to share and give.

Everyone has a special inner spirit which can enable them to soar on paper wings, if they only believe.


  1. Spectacular pages Jill. Such depth to the work...both literally and figuratively. Quite astonishing. And like you, I have thought about both the inspiration and the "constraints" that come as each book arrives more and more full. That also puts a smile on my face because I know that I will soon have my book back, bursting at the seams!

  2. I have goose bumps all over, eyes popping and my heart is singing....You have created pages that create such emotion, full of colour, beauty, love.....I am in awe and feel such gratitude for the gift you have given my book. I can't wait to see will soon be here...
    I am also in agreement, as each book arrives, the challenge of creating something that embodies the spirit and energy of the book seems is a lovely pushing of our creative boundaries.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I am filled with joy as I see what you have created for Supria... your art is filled with so much passion, as are your beautiful words.
    Jill, you give us all such a gift with your art and thoughts. I especially love the first photo, with the lavenders and textures. Roxanne