My love affair with color and books has been a long journey. I suspect that my love of color comes from being born a redhead! When I was a child, redheads were not allowed to wear red or pink or — heaven forbid — ORANGE. We were thought to look splendid in green, blue, or brown, and that’s what I got. Two of my favorite items of clothing as a child were the red plaid kilt that I was allowed to buy with my baby-sitting money when I was eleven. And later, when I was in high school, there was the pink organdy dress that horrified my mother, but I adored it.
As soon as I was able to buy my own clothes there was red, purple, orange, but no blue. Until very recently, I avoided blue because it harked back to my early ‘imprisonment’ in navy blue, brown, and green clothing. Now I am working on a book of BLUES to see if I can acquire a new love of blue in my life in honor of the mesmerizingly beautiful colors of the sea and sky!
Bookmaking and collage have always been loves of mine. The books started with 2nd grade Valentines, and collages were my first handmade bookmarks. I’ve had a library card since first grade, but my real passion for books started in the late 1960’s when my diaries turned into journals and became more like Jack Keroac’s On The Road.
In the early 1970’s, I worked in the Resource Center of The Children’s Museum (TCM) in Boston. I was part of the team that developed the bookmaking and papermaking kits for classrooms. My time at TCM made it hard for me to ever have a job that didn’t allow me to play as a way of processing ideas. We made rubber stamp erasers, paper out of everything, and books in all shapes and sizes. And I have been making books ever since.
After TCM, I became an early staff member of Cooperative Artists Institute where I continued to explore the artistic process through our work with children and teachers in ceramics, bookmaking, mask-making, costume and prop design, music, drumming, and acting. I designed our book arts workshops and have continued making books myself for these many years.
Sometime in the late 1990’s I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and out of that process I started painting my morning pages and journals to keep myself interested. Before long, I resisted using any white pages and began to work only on pages that had been pre-painted and were often collaged, as well. These journals were never intended for other people’s eyes, but my friends kept urging me to “show” my books. So at one of the local Open Studios, I finally did exhibit my journals, and doors have been opening ever since!
Besides creating my own handmade books and gift books for friends and family over the years, I continue to make books with the teens in my after school arts program and with younger children through in-school and after-school arts residencies. Now as I reach retirement age, I am returning to my work with adults to share the thrill of creating books and journals that are truly a joy to make and use.
I have spent most of my adult life working in the arts with children and teens. In recent years my work has focused mostly on painting, printmaking, and bookmaking. I marvel at the creativity and visual joy of books created by young people. They inspire me to continually search for new ways to help them express themselves creatively through imagery, structure, color, and language.
Teen accordion books from The Peace Drum Project
Book Arts Projects at South Street Youth Center
One-of-a-kind Super Hero Book
Teen Pop-Up Construction Children's Journals
Exhibit and detail from Friends Book Project at SSYC.